MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous ~23 nt RNAs which regulate message RNA (mRNA) targets mainly through perfect pairing with their seed region (positions 2–7). Several instances of UTR sequence with an additional nucleotide that might form a bulge within the pairing region, can also be recognized by miRNA as their target (bugle-target). But the prevalence of such imperfect base pairings in human and their roles in the evolution are incompletely understood. We found that human miRNAs with the CG dinucleotides (CG dimer) in their seed region have a significant low mutation rate than their putative binding sites in mRNA targets. Interspecific comparation shows that these miRNAs had very few conservative targets with the perfect seed-pairing, while potentially having a subclass of bulge-targets. Compared with the canonical target (perfect seed-pairing), these bulge-targets had a lower negative correlation with the miRNA expression, and either were down-regulated in the miRNA overexpression experiment or up-regulated in the miRNA knock-down experiment. Our results show that the bulge-targets are widespread in the miRNAs with CG dinucleotide within their seed regions, which could in part explain the rare conserved targets of these miRNAs based on seed rule. Incorporating these bulge-targets, together with conservation information, could more accurately predict the entire targets of these miRNAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)