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Submitted by ChenLiang on Fri, 09/02/2016 - 21:59



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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are approximately 22-nt RNA segments that are involved in the regulation of protein expression primarily by binding to one or more target sites on an mRNA transcript and inhibiting translation. MicroRNAs are likely to factor into multiple developmental pathways, multiple mechanisms of gene regulation, and underlie an array of inherited disease processes and phenotypic determinants. Several computational programs exist to predict miRNA targets in mammals, fruit flies, worms, and plants. However, to date, there is no systematic collection and description of miRNA targets with experimental support. We describe a database, TarBase, which houses a manually curated collection of experimentally tested miRNA targets, in human/mouse, fruit fly, worm, and zebrafish, distinguishing between those that tested positive and those that tested negative. Each positive target site is described by the miRNA that binds it, the gene in which it occurs, the nature of the experiments that were conducted to test it, the sufficiency of the site to induce translational repression and/or cleavage, and the paper from which all these data were extracted. Additionally, the database is functionally linked to several other useful databases such as Gene Ontology (GO) and UCSC Genome Browser. TarBase reveals significantly more experimentally supported targets than even recent reviews claim, thereby providing a comprehensive data set from which to assess features of miRNA targeting that will be useful for the next generation of target prediction programs. TarBase can be accessed at[1]

TarBase5.0 is a database which houses a manually curated collection of experimentally supported microRNA (miRNA) targets in several animal species of central scientific interest, plants and viruses. MiRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that exhibit an inhibitory effect on gene expression, interfering with the stability and translational efficiency of the targeted mature messenger RNAs. Even though several computational programs exist to predict miRNA targets, there is a need for a comprehensive collection and description of miRNA targets with experimental support. Here we introduce a substantially extended version of this resource. The current version includes more than 1300 experimentally supported targets. Each target site is described by the miRNA that binds it, the gene in which it occurs, the nature of the experiments that were conducted to test it, the sufficiency of the site to induce translational repression and/or cleavage, and the paper from which all these data were extracted. Additionally, the database is functionally linked to several other relevant and useful databases such as Ensembl, Hugo, UCSC and SwissProt. The TarBase5.0 database can be queried or downloaded from[2]

As the relevant literature and the number of experiments increase at a super linear rate, databases that curate and collect experimentally verified microRNA (miRNA) targets have gradually emerged. These databases attempt to provide efficient access to this wealth of experimental data, which is scattered in thousands of manuscripts. Aim of TarBase 6.0 ( is to face this challenge by providing a significant increase of available miRNA targets derived from all contemporary experimental techniques (gene specific and high-throughput), while incorporating a powerful set of tools in a user-friendly interface. TarBase 6.0 hosts detailed information for each miRNA-gene interaction, ranging from miRNA- and gene-related facts to information specific to their interaction, the experimental validation methodologies and their outcomes. All database entries are enriched with function-related data, as well as general information derived from external databases such as UniProt, Ensembl and RefSeq. DIANA microT miRNA target prediction scores and the relevant prediction details are available for each interaction. TarBase 6.0 hosts the largest collection of manually curated experimentally validated miRNA-gene interactions (more than 65,000 targets), presenting a 16.5-175-fold increase over other available manually curated databases.[3]

microRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA species, which act as potent gene expression regulators. Accurate identification of miRNA targets is crucial to understanding their function. Currently, hundreds of thousands of miRNA:gene interactions have been experimentally identified. However, this wealth of information is fragmented and hidden in thousands of manuscripts and raw next-generation sequencing data sets. DIANA-TarBase was initially released in 2006 and it was the first database aiming to catalog published experimentally validated miRNA:gene interactions. DIANA-TarBase v7.0 ( aims to provide for the first time hundreds of thousands of high-quality manually curated experimentally validated miRNA:gene interactions, enhanced with detailed meta-data. DIANA-TarBase v7.0 enables users to easily identify positive or negative experimental results, the utilized experimental methodology, experimental conditions including cell/tissue type and treatment. The new interface provides also advanced information ranging from the binding site location, as identified experimentally as well as in silico, to the primer sequences used for cloning experiments. More than half a million miRNA:gene interactions have been curated from published experiments on 356 different cell types from 24 species, corresponding to 9- to 250-fold more entries than any other relevant database. DIANA-TarBase v7.0 is freely available.[4]

DIANA-TarBase v8 ( is a reference database devoted to the indexing of experimentally supported microRNA (miRNA) targets. Its eighth version is the first database indexing >1 million entries, corresponding to ~670 000 unique miRNA-target pairs. The interactions are supported by >33 experimental methodologies, applied to ~600 cell types/tissues under ~451 experimental conditions. It integrates information on cell-type specific miRNA-gene regulation, while hundreds of thousands of miRNA-binding locations are reported. TarBase is coming of age, with more than a decade of continuous support in the non-coding RNA field. A new module has been implemented that enables the browsing of interactions through different filtering combinations. It permits easy retrieval of positive and negative miRNA targets per species, methodology, cell type and tissue. An incorporated ranking system is utilized for the display of interactions based on the robustness of their supporting methodologies. Statistics, pie-charts and interactive bar-plots depicting the database content are available through a dedicated result page. An intuitive interface is introduced, providing a user-friendly application with flexible options to different queries.[5]


  1. TarBase: A comprehensive database of experimentally supported animal microRNA targets.,
    Sethupathy, Praveen, Corda Benoit, and Hatzigeorgiou Artemis G.
    , RNA, 2006 Feb, Volume 12, Issue 2, p.192-7, (2006)
  2. The database of experimentally supported targets: a functional update of TarBase.,
    Papadopoulos, Giorgos L., Reczko Martin, Simossis Victor A., Sethupathy Praveen, and Hatzigeorgiou Artemis G.
    , Nucleic Acids Res, 2009 Jan, Volume 37, Issue Database issue, p.D155-8, (2009)
  3. TarBase 6.0: capturing the exponential growth of miRNA targets with experimental support.,
    Vergoulis, Thanasis, Vlachos Ioannis S., Alexiou Panagiotis, Georgakilas George, Maragkakis Manolis, Reczko Martin, Gerangelos Stefanos, Koziris Nectarios, Dalamagas Theodore, and Hatzigeorgiou Artemis G.
    , Nucleic Acids Res, 2012 Jan, Volume 40, Issue Database issue, p.D222-9, (2012)
  4. DIANA-TarBase v7.0: indexing more than half a million experimentally supported miRNA:mRNA interactions.,
    Vlachos, Ioannis S., Paraskevopoulou Maria D., Karagkouni Dimitra, Georgakilas Georgios, Vergoulis Thanasis, Kanellos Ilias, Anastasopoulos Ioannis-Laertis, Maniou Sofia, Karathanou Konstantina, Kalfakakou Despina, et al.
    , Nucleic Acids Res, 2015 Jan, Volume 43, Issue Database issue, p.D153-9, (2015)
  5. DIANA-TarBase v8: a decade-long collection of experimentally supported miRNA-gene interactions.,
    Karagkouni, Dimitra, Paraskevopoulou Maria D., Chatzopoulos Serafeim, Vlachos Ioannis S., Tastsoglou Spyros, Kanellos Ilias, Papadimitriou Dimitris, Kavakiotis Ioannis, Maniou Sofia, Skoufos Giorgos, et al.
    , Nucleic Acids Res, 2017 Nov 16, (2017)