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Drug Discov Today. 2007 Jun;12(11-12):452-8. Epub 2007 Apr 26.

Prediction of microRNA targets.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.


Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to be important regulators of genes in many organisms and have already been implicated in a growing number of diseases. MiRNAs are short (21-23 nucleotides) RNAs that bind to the 3' untranslated regions of target genes. This binding event causes translational repression of the target gene and, evidence now suggests, also stimulates rapid degradation of the target transcript. miRNAs represent a new species of regulator, controlling the levels of potentially large numbers of proteins, many of which might be important drug targets. The expression of miRNAs shows that they are highly differentially expressed, with specific miRNAs active in certain tissues at certain times. In many cancers, miRNA expression is significantly altered, and this has been shown to be a useful diagnostic tool. Several computational approaches have been developed for the prediction of miRNA targets.

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