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RNA. 2018 Aug;24(8):1005-1017. doi: 10.1261/rna.065565.118. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Expanding the horizons of microRNA bioinformatics.

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Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, London WC1E 6JF, United Kingdom.
European Bioinformatics Institute, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI), Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge CB10 1SD, United Kingdom.
King's British Heart Foundation Centre, King's College London, London SE5 9NU, United Kingdom.


MicroRNA regulation of key biological and developmental pathways is a rapidly expanding area of research, accompanied by vast amounts of experimental data. This data, however, is not widely available in bioinformatic resources, making it difficult for researchers to find and analyze microRNA-related experimental data and define further research projects. We are addressing this problem by providing two new bioinformatics data sets that contain experimentally verified functional information for mammalian microRNAs involved in cardiovascular-relevant, and other, processes. To date, our resource provides over 4400 Gene Ontology annotations associated with over 500 microRNAs from human, mouse, and rat and over 2400 experimentally validated microRNA:target interactions. We illustrate how this resource can be used to create microRNA-focused interaction networks with a biological context using the known biological role of microRNAs and the mRNAs they regulate, enabling discovery of associations between gene products, biological pathways and, ultimately, diseases. This data will be crucial in advancing the field of microRNA bioinformatics and will establish consistent data sets for reproducible functional analysis of microRNAs across all biological research areas.


Gene Ontology; bioinformatic resource; functional annotation; microRNA; network analysis; pathway analysis

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