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Methods Mol Biol. 2010;592:149-61. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-005-2_11.

MicroRNA promoter analysis.

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Department of Genetics, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


In this chapter, we present a brief overview of current knowledge about the promoters of plant microRNAs (miRNAs), and provide a step-by-step guide for predicting plant miRNA promoter elements using known transcription factor binding motifs. The approach to promoter element prediction is based on a carefully constructed collection of Positional Weight Matrices (PWMs) for known transcription factors (TFs) in Arabidopsis. A key concept of the method is to use scoring thresholds for potential binding sites that are appropriate to each individual transcription factor. While the procedure can be applied to search for Transcription Factor Binding Sites (TFBSs) in any pol-II promoter region, it is particularly practical for the case of plant miRNA promoters where upstream sequence regions and binding sites are not readily available in existing databases. The majority of the material described in this chapter is available for download at

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