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BMC Genomics. 2014;15 Suppl 9:S11. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-S9-S11. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Revealing editing and SNPs of microRNAs in colon tissues by analyzing high-throughput sequencing profiles of small RNAs.



Editing and mutations in microRNAs (miRNAs) can change the stability of pre-miRNAs and/or complementarities between miRNAs and their targets. Small RNA (sRNA) high-throughput sequencing (HTS) profiles contain miRNAs that are originated from mutated DNAs or are edited during their biogenesis procedures. It is largely unknown whether miRNAs are edited in colon tissues since existing studies mainly focused their attention on the editing of miRNAs in brain tissues.


Through comprehensive analysis of four high-throughput sequencing profiles of normal and cancerous colon tissues, we identified 548 editing and/or SNPs in miRNAs that are significant in at least one of the sequencing profiles used. Our results show that the most abundant editing events of miRNAs in colon tissues are 3'-A and 3'-U. In addition to four known A-to-I editing sites previously reported in brain tissues, four novel A-to-I editing sites are also identified in colon tissues.


This suggests that A-to-I editing of miRNAs potentially is a commonly existing mechanism in different tissues to diversify the possible functional roles of miRNAs, but only a small portion of different miRNAs are edited by the A-to-I mechanism at a significant level. Our results suggest that there are other types of editing in miRNAs through unknown mechanisms. Furthermore, several SNPs in miRNAs are also identified.

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