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Intrinsic Noise of microRNA-Regulated Genes and the ceRNA Hypothesis

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
8
Issue
8
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072676
Keywords
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Rna
  • Rna Interference
  • Computational Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Gene Regulation
  • Systems Biology
  • Genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Physics
  • Biophysics
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Computer Science

Abstract

MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that regulate genes post-transciptionally by binding and degrading target eukaryotic mRNAs. We use a quantitative model to study gene regulation by inhibitory microRNAs and compare it to gene regulation by prokaryotic small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs). Our model uses a combination of analytic techniques as well as computational simulations to calculate the mean-expression and noise profiles of genes regulated by both microRNAs and sRNAs. We find that despite very different molecular machinery and modes of action (catalytic vs stoichiometric), the mean expression levels and noise profiles of microRNA-regulated genes are almost identical to genes regulated by prokaryotic sRNAs. This behavior is extremely robust and persists across a wide range of biologically relevant parameters. We extend our model to study crosstalk between multiple mRNAs that are regulated by a single microRNA and show that noise is a sensitive measure of microRNA-mediated interaction between mRNAs. We conclude by discussing possible experimental strategies for uncovering the microRNA-mRNA interactions and testing the competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) hypothesis.

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