MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate protein-coding gene abundance levels by interacting with the 3´ end of various messenger RNAs. Each target site matches the first few nucleotides of the targeting miRNA, the so called “seed” region, and this interaction leads to the degradation of the target or prevents its translation into amino acids. This dogma has led researchers to largely look for perfect base-pair matching of the “seed” region among candidate targets.
New research published today (August 8th) in Nature‘s open access journal Scientific Report suggests that non-canonical binding may be much more prevalent than previously expected, revealing a much broader array of targets for miRNAs that includes both regions that code for proteins and others that do not. Read more on ScienceDaily.
A link to an interactive tool to explore the data in the paper is located here.