JOURNAL ARTICLE

Computational identification of condition-specific miRNA targets based on gene expression profiles and sequence information

Je-Gun Joung, Zhangjun Fei
BMC Bioinformatics 2009, 10 Suppl 1: S34
19208135

BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small and noncoding RNAs that play important roles in various biological processes. They regulate target mRNAs post-transcriptionally through complementary base pairing. Since the changes of miRNAs affect the expression of target genes, the expression levels of target genes in specific biological processes could be different from those of non-target genes. Here we demonstrate that gene expression profiles contain useful information in separating miRNA targets from non-targets.

RESULTS: The gene expression profiles related to various developmental processes and stresses, as well as the sequences of miRNAs and mRNAs in Arabidopsis, were used to determine whether a given gene is a miRNA target. It is based on the model combining the support vector machine (SVM) classifier and the scoring method based on complementary base pairing between miRNAs and mRNAs. The proposed model yielded low false positive rate and retrieved condition-specific candidate targets through a genome-wide screening.

CONCLUSION: Our approach provides a novel framework into screening target genes by considering the gene regulation of miRNAs. It can be broadly applied to identify condition-specific targets computationally by embedding information of gene expression profiles.

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