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Open AccessArticle

Differential Inhibition of Target Gene Expression by Human microRNAs

Department of Zoology, College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210095, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2019, 8(8), 791;
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 27 July 2019 / Published: 30 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulatory Functions of microRNAs)
microRNAs (miRNAs) exert their functions by repressing the expression of their target genes, but most miRNA target genes are unknown, and the degree to which a miRNA differentially inhibits the expression of its targets is underappreciated. We selected human miR-1, miR-122, and miR-124 as representatives to investigate the reliability of miRNA target predictions and examine how miRNAs suppress their targets. We constructed miRNA target gene reporter libraries based on prediction programs TargetScan, miRanda, and PicTar, and performed large-scale reporter assays to directly evaluate whether and how strongly a predicted target gene is repressed by its miRNA. We then performed statistical analyses to examine parameters that contributed to the miRNA inhibition of target genes. We found that the three programs have approximately 72–85% success rates in predicting genuine targets and that the miRNA inhibition of different targets varies in extent. We also identified parameters that could predict the degrees of miRNA repression, and further showed that differential miR-124 repression might contribute to differential gene expression in vivo. Our studies systematically investigated hundreds of miRNA target genes, shed light on factors influencing miRNA functions, and suggested a new mechanism by which differential target repression by miRNAs regulates endogenous gene expression. View Full-Text
Keywords: miRNA; miRNA target gene; target gene prediction; differential gene suppression; differential gene expression miRNA; miRNA target gene; target gene prediction; differential gene suppression; differential gene expression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, P.; Chen, Y.; Juma, C.A.; Yang, C.; Huang, J.; Zhang, X.; Zeng, Y. Differential Inhibition of Target Gene Expression by Human microRNAs. Cells 2019, 8, 791.

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