miRConnect:Identifying effector genes of miRNAs and miRNA families in cancer cells

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  • Youjia Hua, Northwestern University, United States
  • Shiwei Duan, Department of Medicine, Ningbo University
  • ,
  • Andrea E Murmann, Northwestern University, United States
  • Niels Larsen
  • Jørgen Kjems
  • Anders H Lund, Denmark
  • Marcus E Peter, Feinberg School of Medicine, Division Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University, United States
micro(mi)RNAs are small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate expression of most mRNAs. They are powerful regulators of various differentiation stages, and the expression of genes that either negatively or positively correlate with expressed miRNAs is expected to hold information on the biological state of the cell and, hence, of the function of the expressed miRNAs. We have compared the large amount of available gene array data on the steady state system of the NCI60 cell lines to two different data sets containing information on the expression of 583 individual miRNAs. In addition, we have generated custom data sets containing expression information of 54 miRNA families sharing the same seed match. We have developed a novel strategy for correlating miRNAs with individual genes based on a summed Pearson Correlation Coefficient (sPCC) that mimics an in silico titration experiment. By focusing on the genes that correlate with the expression of miRNAs without necessarily being direct targets of miRNAs, we have clustered miRNAs into different functional groups. This has resulted in the identification of three novel miRNAs that are linked to the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in addition to the known EMT regulators of the miR-200 miRNA family. In addition, an analysis of gene signatures associated with EMT, c-MYC activity, and ribosomal protein gene expression allowed us to assign different activities to each of the functional clusters of miRNAs. All correlation data are available via a web interface that allows investigators to identify genes whose expression correlates with the expression of single miRNAs or entire miRNA families. miRConnect.org will aid in identifying pathways regulated by miRNAs without requiring specific knowledge of miRNA targets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Volume6
Issue10
Pages (from-to)e26521
Number of pages16
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2011

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