Integrated analysis of directly captured microRNA targets reveals the impact of microRNAs on mammalian transcriptome

Glen A. Bjerke, Rui Yi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


MicroRNA (miRNA)-mediated regulation is widespread, relatively mild but functionally important. It remains challenging to unequivocally identify miRNA targeted RNAs at a genomic scale and determine how changes in miRNA levels affect the transcriptome. Here, we captured individual miRNAs and their targeted RNA sites in wild-type, miR-200 family knockout and induced epithelial cells. We detected 1797 miRNAs interacting with 13,830 transcripts at 616,127 sites by sequencing 1,230,019 unique miRNA:RNA chimeras. Although mRNA sites that are bound by miRNAs and contain matches to seed sequences confer the strongest regulation, ∼40%-60% of miRNA bound regions do not contain seed matches. Different miRNAs have different preferences to seed matches and 3′′ end base-pairing. For individual miRNAs, the effectiveness of mRNA regulation is highly correlated with the number of captured miRNA:mRNA chimeras. Notably, elevated miR-200 expression robustly represses existing targets with little impact on newly recognized targets. Global analysis of directly captured mRNA targets reveals pathways that are involved in cancer and cell adhesion and signaling pathways that are highly regulated by many different miRNAs in epithelial cells. Comparison between experimentally captured and TargetScan predicted targets indicates that our approach is more effective in identifying bona fide targets by reducing false positive and negative predictions. This study reveals the global binding landscape and impact of miRNAs on the mammalian transcriptome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-323
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Direct capture of miRNA targets
  • MiRNA binding
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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