Computational Regulatory Genomics

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Global identification of functional microRNA-mRNA interactions in Drosophila

Hans-Hermann Wessels Svetlana Lebedeva Antje Hirsekorn,  Ricardo Wurmus,  Altuna Akalin,  Neelanjan Mukherjee Uwe Ohler 
Nature Communications 2019 DOI  


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key mediators of post-transcriptional gene expression silencing. So far, no comprehensive experimental annotation of functional miRNA target sites exists in Drosophila. Here, we generated a transcriptome-wide in vivo map of miRNA-mRNA interactions in Drosophila melanogaster, making use of single nucleotide resolution in Argonaute1 (AGO1) crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) data. Absolute quantification of cellular miRNA levels presents the miRNA pool in Drosophila cell lines to be more diverse than previously reported. Benchmarking two CLIP approaches, we identify a similar predictive potential to unambiguously assign thousands of miRNA-mRNA pairs from AGO1 interaction data at unprecedented depth, achieving higher signal-to-noise ratios than with computational methods alone. Quantitative RNA-seq and sub-codon resolution ribosomal footprinting data upon AGO1 depletion enabled the determination of miRNA-mediated effects on target expression and translation. We thus provide the first comprehensive resource of miRNA target sites and their quantitative functional impact in Drosophila.
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