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



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Average: 5 (1 vote)

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs of approximately 22 nt. Although hundreds of miRNAs have been identified through experimental complementary DNA cloning methods and computational efforts, previous approaches could detect only abundantly expressed miRNAs or close homologs of previously identified miRNAs. Here, we introduce a probabilistic co-learning model for miRNA gene finding, ProMiR, which simultaneously considers the structure and sequence of miRNA precursors (pre-miRNAs). On 5-fold cross-validation with 136 referenced human datasets, the efficiency of the classification shows 73% sensitivity and 96% specificity. When applied to genome screening for novel miRNAs on human chromosomes 16, 17, 18 and 19, ProMiR effectively searches distantly homologous patterns over diverse pre-miRNAs, detecting at least 23 novel miRNA gene candidates. Importantly, the miRNA gene candidates do not demonstrate clear sequence similarity to the known miRNA genes. By quantitative PCR followed by RNA interference against Drosha, we experimentally confirmed that 9 of the 23 representative candidate genes express transcripts that are processed by the miRNA biogenesis enzyme Drosha in HeLa cells, indicating that ProMiR may successfully predict miRNA genes with at least 40% accuracy. Our study suggests that the miRNA gene family may be more abundant than previously anticipated, and confer highly extensive regulatory networks on eukaryotic cells.[1]

ProMiR is a web-based service for the prediction of potential microRNAs (miRNAs) in a query sequence of 60-150 nt, using a probabilistic colearning model. Identification of miRNAs requires a computational method to predict clustered and nonclustered, conserved and nonconserved miRNAs in various species. Here we present an improved version of ProMiR for identifying new clusters near known or unknown miRNAs. This new version, ProMiR II, integrates additional evidence, such as free energy data, G/C ratio, conservation score and entropy of candidate sequences, for more controllable prediction of miRNAs in mouse and human genomes. It also provides a wider range of services, e.g. the prediction of miRNA genes in long nonrelated sequences such as viral genomes. Importantly, we have validated this method using several case studies. All data used in ProMiR II are structured in the MySQL database for efficient analysis. The ProMiR II web server is available at[2]