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Principles of microRNA-target recognition.

Brennecke J, Stark A, Russell RB, Cohen SM - PLoS Biol. (2005)

Bottom Line: In contrast, 3' compensatory sites have insufficient 5' pairing and require strong 3' pairing for function.We present examples and genome-wide statistical support to show that both classes of sites are used in biologically relevant genes.We provide evidence that an average miRNA has approximately 100 target sites, indicating that miRNAs regulate a large fraction of protein-coding genes and that miRNA 3' ends are key determinants of target specificity within miRNA families.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in plants and animals. Although their biological importance has become clear, how they recognize and regulate target genes remains less well understood. Here, we systematically evaluate the minimal requirements for functional miRNA-target duplexes in vivo and distinguish classes of target sites with different functional properties. Target sites can be grouped into two broad categories. 5' dominant sites have sufficient complementarity to the miRNA 5' end to function with little or no support from pairing to the miRNA 3' end. Indeed, sites with 3' pairing below the random noise level are functional given a strong 5' end. In contrast, 3' compensatory sites have insufficient 5' pairing and require strong 3' pairing for function. We present examples and genome-wide statistical support to show that both classes of sites are used in biologically relevant genes. We provide evidence that an average miRNA has approximately 100 target sites, indicating that miRNAs regulate a large fraction of protein-coding genes and that miRNA 3' ends are key determinants of target specificity within miRNA families.

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Distribution of 3′ Pairing Energies for 8mer Seed MatchesShown is the distribution (number of sites versus 3′ pairing) for 8mer seed matches identified genome-wide for 58 3′ non-redundant miRNAs (black) compared to a random control using 50 3′ shuffled miRNAs per real miRNA (grey). Note that the distribution for real miRNAs is broader at both the high and low end than the random control and has shoulders close to the peak. The red, blue, and green curves show the effect of subtracting background noise (random matches) from the real matches at three different levels, which reveals the real matches underlying these shoulders.
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pbio-0030085-g007: Distribution of 3′ Pairing Energies for 8mer Seed MatchesShown is the distribution (number of sites versus 3′ pairing) for 8mer seed matches identified genome-wide for 58 3′ non-redundant miRNAs (black) compared to a random control using 50 3′ shuffled miRNAs per real miRNA (grey). Note that the distribution for real miRNAs is broader at both the high and low end than the random control and has shoulders close to the peak. The red, blue, and green curves show the effect of subtracting background noise (random matches) from the real matches at three different levels, which reveals the real matches underlying these shoulders.

Mentions: Again, we note the caveat that some of sites that we identify as seed could in principle be supported by 3′ pairing to more distant upstream sequences, but also that such sites would be difficult to distinguish from background computationally and that it is unclear whether large loops are functional. If there were statistical evidence for 3′ pairing that is lower than would be expected at random for some sites, this would be one line of argument for a discrete functional class that does not use 3′ pairing and would therefore suggest selection against 3′ pairing. Although the overall distribution of 3′ pairing energies for real miRNA 3′ ends adjacent to 8mer seed matches is very similar to the random control with 3′ shuffled sequences (Figure 7; R2 = 0.98), we observed a small but significant overrepresentation of real sites on both sides of the random distribution, which leads to a slightly wider distribution of real sites at the expense of the peak values around 30% pairing. Bearing in mind that one-third of 8mer seed matches are false positives (see Figure 6A), we can account for the noise by subtracting one-third of the random distribution. We then see two peaks at around 20% and 35% maximum pairing energy, separated by a dip. Subtracting more (e.g., one-half or two-thirds) of the random distribution increases the separation of the two peaks, suggesting that the underlying distribution of 3′ pairing for real 8mer seed sites might indeed be bimodal. This effect is still present, though less pronounced, if 7mer seed matches are included. No such effect is seen for the combined 5- and 6mer seed matches. In addition, we see no difference between a random (noise) model that evaluates 3′ pairing of 3′ shuffled miRNAs to UTR sites identified by real miRNA seed matches and a random model that pairs the real (i.e., non-shuffled) miRNA 3′ end to randomly chosen UTR sequences, thus excluding bias due to shuffling. Overall, these results suggest that there might indeed be a bimodal distribution due to an enrichment of sites with both better and worse 3′ pairing than would be expected at random. We take this as evidence that seed sites are a biologically meaningful subgroup within the 5′ dominant site category.


Principles of microRNA-target recognition.

Brennecke J, Stark A, Russell RB, Cohen SM - PLoS Biol. (2005)

Distribution of 3′ Pairing Energies for 8mer Seed MatchesShown is the distribution (number of sites versus 3′ pairing) for 8mer seed matches identified genome-wide for 58 3′ non-redundant miRNAs (black) compared to a random control using 50 3′ shuffled miRNAs per real miRNA (grey). Note that the distribution for real miRNAs is broader at both the high and low end than the random control and has shoulders close to the peak. The red, blue, and green curves show the effect of subtracting background noise (random matches) from the real matches at three different levels, which reveals the real matches underlying these shoulders.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1043860&req=5

pbio-0030085-g007: Distribution of 3′ Pairing Energies for 8mer Seed MatchesShown is the distribution (number of sites versus 3′ pairing) for 8mer seed matches identified genome-wide for 58 3′ non-redundant miRNAs (black) compared to a random control using 50 3′ shuffled miRNAs per real miRNA (grey). Note that the distribution for real miRNAs is broader at both the high and low end than the random control and has shoulders close to the peak. The red, blue, and green curves show the effect of subtracting background noise (random matches) from the real matches at three different levels, which reveals the real matches underlying these shoulders.
Mentions: Again, we note the caveat that some of sites that we identify as seed could in principle be supported by 3′ pairing to more distant upstream sequences, but also that such sites would be difficult to distinguish from background computationally and that it is unclear whether large loops are functional. If there were statistical evidence for 3′ pairing that is lower than would be expected at random for some sites, this would be one line of argument for a discrete functional class that does not use 3′ pairing and would therefore suggest selection against 3′ pairing. Although the overall distribution of 3′ pairing energies for real miRNA 3′ ends adjacent to 8mer seed matches is very similar to the random control with 3′ shuffled sequences (Figure 7; R2 = 0.98), we observed a small but significant overrepresentation of real sites on both sides of the random distribution, which leads to a slightly wider distribution of real sites at the expense of the peak values around 30% pairing. Bearing in mind that one-third of 8mer seed matches are false positives (see Figure 6A), we can account for the noise by subtracting one-third of the random distribution. We then see two peaks at around 20% and 35% maximum pairing energy, separated by a dip. Subtracting more (e.g., one-half or two-thirds) of the random distribution increases the separation of the two peaks, suggesting that the underlying distribution of 3′ pairing for real 8mer seed sites might indeed be bimodal. This effect is still present, though less pronounced, if 7mer seed matches are included. No such effect is seen for the combined 5- and 6mer seed matches. In addition, we see no difference between a random (noise) model that evaluates 3′ pairing of 3′ shuffled miRNAs to UTR sites identified by real miRNA seed matches and a random model that pairs the real (i.e., non-shuffled) miRNA 3′ end to randomly chosen UTR sequences, thus excluding bias due to shuffling. Overall, these results suggest that there might indeed be a bimodal distribution due to an enrichment of sites with both better and worse 3′ pairing than would be expected at random. We take this as evidence that seed sites are a biologically meaningful subgroup within the 5′ dominant site category.

Bottom Line: In contrast, 3' compensatory sites have insufficient 5' pairing and require strong 3' pairing for function.We present examples and genome-wide statistical support to show that both classes of sites are used in biologically relevant genes.We provide evidence that an average miRNA has approximately 100 target sites, indicating that miRNAs regulate a large fraction of protein-coding genes and that miRNA 3' ends are key determinants of target specificity within miRNA families.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in plants and animals. Although their biological importance has become clear, how they recognize and regulate target genes remains less well understood. Here, we systematically evaluate the minimal requirements for functional miRNA-target duplexes in vivo and distinguish classes of target sites with different functional properties. Target sites can be grouped into two broad categories. 5' dominant sites have sufficient complementarity to the miRNA 5' end to function with little or no support from pairing to the miRNA 3' end. Indeed, sites with 3' pairing below the random noise level are functional given a strong 5' end. In contrast, 3' compensatory sites have insufficient 5' pairing and require strong 3' pairing for function. We present examples and genome-wide statistical support to show that both classes of sites are used in biologically relevant genes. We provide evidence that an average miRNA has approximately 100 target sites, indicating that miRNAs regulate a large fraction of protein-coding genes and that miRNA 3' ends are key determinants of target specificity within miRNA families.

Show MeSH