Divergent target recognition by coexpressed 5′-isomiRs of miR-142-3p and selective viral mimicry

Mark Manzano, Eleonora Forte, Archana N. Raja, Matthew J. Schipma, Eva Gottwein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Sequence heterogeneity at the ends of mature microRNAs (miRNAs) is well documented, but its effects on miRNA function are largely unexplored. Here we studied the impact of miRNA 5′-heterogeneity, which affects the seed region critical for target recognition. Using the example of miR-142-3p, an emerging regulator of the hematopoietic lineage in vertebrates, we show that naturally coexpressed 5′-variants (5′-isomiRs) can recognize largely distinct sets of binding sites. Despite this, both miR-142-3p isomiRs regulate exclusive and shared targets involved in actin dynamics. Thus, 5′-heterogeneity can substantially broaden and enhance regulation of one pathway. Other 5′-isomiRs, in contrast, recognize largely overlapping sets of binding sites. This is exemplified by two herpesviral 5′-isomiRs that selectively mimic one of the miR-142-3p 5′-isomiRs. We hypothesize that other cellular and viral 5′-isomiRs can similarly be grouped into those with divergent or convergent target repertoires, based on 5′-sequence features. Taken together, our results provide a detailed characterization of target recognition by miR-142-3p and its 5′-isomiR-specific viral mimic. We furthermore demonstrate that miRNA 5′-end variation leads to differential targeting and can thus broaden the target range of miRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1606-1620
Number of pages15
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • IsomiR
  • Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus
  • MiR-142-3p
  • MiR-K10a
  • MiRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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