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      Genome-Wide Survey of MicroRNA - Transcription Factor Feed-Forward Regulatory Circuits in Human


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          In this work, we describe a computational framework for the genome-wide identification and characterization of mixed transcriptional/post-transcriptional regulatory circuits in humans. We concentrated in particular on feed-forward loops (FFL), in which a master transcription factor regulates a microRNA, and together with it, a set of joint target protein coding genes. The circuits were assembled with a two step procedure. We first constructed separately the transcriptional and post-transcriptional components of the human regulatory network by looking for conserved over-represented motifs in human and mouse promoters, and 3'-UTRs. Then, we combined the two subnetworks looking for mixed feed-forward regulatory interactions, finding a total of 638 putative (merged) FFLs. In order to investigate their biological relevance, we filtered these circuits using three selection criteria: (I) GeneOntology enrichment among the joint targets of the FFL, (II) independent computational evidence for the regulatory interactions of the FFL, extracted from external databases, and (III) relevance of the FFL in cancer. Most of the selected FFLs seem to be involved in various aspects of organism development and differentiation. We finally discuss a few of the most interesting cases in detail.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Conserved seed pairing, often flanked by adenosines, indicates that thousands of human genes are microRNA targets.

          We predict regulatory targets of vertebrate microRNAs (miRNAs) by identifying mRNAs with conserved complementarity to the seed (nucleotides 2-7) of the miRNA. An overrepresentation of conserved adenosines flanking the seed complementary sites in mRNAs indicates that primary sequence determinants can supplement base pairing to specify miRNA target recognition. In a four-genome analysis of 3' UTRs, approximately 13,000 regulatory relationships were detected above the estimate of false-positive predictions, thereby implicating as miRNA targets more than 5300 human genes, which represented 30% of our gene set. Targeting was also detected in open reading frames. In sum, well over one third of human genes appear to be conserved miRNA targets.
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            Oncomirs - microRNAs with a role in cancer.

            MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of small non-protein-coding RNAs that function as negative gene regulators. They regulate diverse biological processes, and bioinformatic data indicates that each miRNA can control hundreds of gene targets, underscoring the potential influence of miRNAs on almost every genetic pathway. Recent evidence has shown that miRNA mutations or mis-expression correlate with various human cancers and indicates that miRNAs can function as tumour suppressors and oncogenes. miRNAs have been shown to repress the expression of important cancer-related genes and might prove useful in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
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              MicroRNAs: small RNAs with a big role in gene regulation.

               Sai-Lin He,  G Hannon (2004)

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                Molecular biology, Genetics


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