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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41770. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041770. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Antagonism pattern detection between microRNA and target expression in Ewing's sarcoma.

Author information

1
Institut Curie, Paris, France. loredana.martignetti@curie.fr

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as fundamental regulators that silence gene expression at the post-transcriptional and translational levels. The identification of their targets is a major challenge to elucidate the regulated biological processes. The overall effect of miRNA is reflected on target mRNA expression, suggesting the design of new investigative methods based on high-throughput experimental data such as miRNA and transcriptome profiles. We propose a novel statistical measure of non-linear dependence between miRNA and mRNA expression, in order to infer miRNA-target interactions. This approach, which we name antagonism pattern detection, is based on the statistical recognition of a triangular-shaped pattern in miRNA-target expression profiles. This pattern is observed in miRNA-target expression measurements since their simultaneously elevated expression is statistically under-represented in the case of miRNA silencing effect. The proposed method enables miRNA target prediction to strongly rely on cellular context and physiological conditions reflected by expression data. The procedure has been assessed on synthetic datasets and tested on a set of real positive controls. Then it has been applied to analyze expression data from Ewing's sarcoma patients. The antagonism relationship is evaluated as a good indicator of real miRNA-target biological interaction. The predicted targets are consistently enriched for miRNA binding site motifs in their 3'UTR. Moreover, we reveal sets of predicted targets for each miRNA sharing important biological function. The procedure allows us to infer crucial miRNA regulators and their potential targets in Ewing's sarcoma disease. It can be considered as a valid statistical approach to discover new insights in the miRNA regulatory mechanisms.

PMID:
22848594
PMCID:
PMC3404966
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0041770
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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