Computational Tools for Genome-Wide miRNA Prediction and Study

Computational Tools for Genome-Wide miRNA Prediction and Study

The Open Biology Journal 02 Nov 2012 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874196701205010023


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded non-coding RNA susually of 22 nucleotidesin length that play an important post-transcriptional regulation role in many organisms. MicroRNAs bind a seed sequence to the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) region of the target messenger RNA (mRNA), inducing degradation or inhibition of translation and resulting in a reduction in the protein level. This regulatory mechanism is central to many biological processes and perturbation could lead to diseases such as cancer. Given the biological importance, of miRNAs, there is a great need to identify and study their targets and functions. However, miRNAs are very difficult to clone in the lab and this has hindered the identification of novel miRNAs. Next-generation sequencing coupled with new computational tools has recently evolved to help researchers efficiently identify large numbers of novel miRNAs. In this review, we describe recent miRNA prediction tools and discuss their priorities, advantages and disadvantages.

Keywords: miRNAs, Computational prediction tools, Gene regulation, Biological databases, Genomics.