Two-tiered approach identifies a network of cancer and liver disease-related genes regulated by miR-122

Daniel R. Boutz, Patrick J. Collins, Uthra Suresh, Mingzhu Lu, Cristina M. Ramírez, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, Yufei Huang, Raquel De Sousa Abreu, Shu Yun Le, Bruce A. Shapiro, Angela M. Liu, John M. Luk, Shelley Force Aldred, Nathan D. Trinklein, Edward M. Marcotte, Luiz O.F. Penalva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs function as important regulators of gene expression and are commonly linked to development, differentiation, and diseases such as cancer. To better understand their roles in various biological processes, identification of genes targeted by microRNAs is necessary. Although prediction tools have significantly helped with this task, experimental approaches are ultimately required for extensive target search and validation. We employed two independent yet complementary high throughput approaches to map a large set of mRNAs regulated by miR-122, a liver-specific microRNA implicated in regulation of fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism, hepatitis C infection, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The combination of luciferase reporterbased screening and shotgun proteomics resulted in the identification of 260 proteins significantly down-regulated in response to miR-122 in at least one method, 113 of which contain predicted miR-122 target sites. These proteins are enriched for functions associated with the cell cycle, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. Among these miR-122-sensitive proteins, we identified a large group with strong connections to liver metabolism, diseases, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Additional analyses, including examination of consensus binding motifs for both miR-122 and target sequences, provide further insight into miR-122 function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18066-18078
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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