MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short RNA molecules that modulate post-transcriptional gene expression by partial or incomplete base-pairing to the complementary sequences on their target genes. Sequence-based miRNA target gene recognition enables the utilization of computational methods, which are highly informative in identifying a subset of putative miRNA targets from the genome. Subsequently, single miRNA-target gene binding is evaluated experimentally by in vitro assays to validate and quantify the transcriptional or post-transcriptional effects of miRNA-target gene interaction. Although ex vivo approaches are instructive in providing a basis for further analyses, in vivo genetic studies are critical to determine the occurrence and biological relevance of miRNA targets under physiological conditions. In the present review, we summarize the important features of each of the experimental approaches, their technical and biological limitations, and future challenges in light of the complexity of miRNA target gene recognition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology