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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Feb;39(3):825-36. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq832. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

MiRNA-miRNA synergistic network: construction via co-regulating functional modules and disease miRNA topological features.

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College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150081, China.


Synergistic regulations among multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) are important to understand the mechanisms of complex post-transcriptional regulations in humans. Complex diseases are affected by several miRNAs rather than a single miRNA. So, it is a challenge to identify miRNA synergism and thereby further determine miRNA functions at a system-wide level and investigate disease miRNA features in the miRNA-miRNA synergistic network from a new view. Here, we constructed a miRNA-miRNA functional synergistic network (MFSN) via co-regulating functional modules that have three features: common targets of corresponding miRNA pairs, enriched in the same gene ontology category and close proximity in the protein interaction network. Predicted miRNA synergism is validated by significantly high co-expression of functional modules and significantly negative regulation to functional modules. We found that the MFSN exhibits a scale free, small world and modular architecture. Furthermore, the topological features of disease miRNAs in the MFSN are distinct from non-disease miRNAs. They have more synergism, indicating their higher complexity of functions and are the global central cores of the MFSN. In addition, miRNAs associated with the same disease are close to each other. The structure of the MFSN and the features of disease miRNAs are validated to be robust using different miRNA target data sets.

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