Identification of the transcriptional promoters in the proximal regions of human microRNA genes
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To identify the transcriptional promoters in the proximal regions of human microRNA (miRNA) genes, we analyzed the 5′ flanking regions of intergenic miRNAs and intronic miRNAs. With the TSSG program prediction, we found that the ratio of intronic-s miRNA genes with a least one promoter was significantly lower than those of intergenic miRNA genes and intronic-a miRNA genes. More than half of the miRNA genes have only one promoter and less than 20% of the miRNA genes have more than three promoters in the 5-kb upstream regions. All potential promoters are randomly distributed within these regions. Approximately 60% of the miRNA promoters have a TATA-like box, being significantly higher than that of all human promoters. Luciferase reporter assays showed that 22 of the 30 promoters drove gene expression in HEK-293 cells, indicating a high accuracy of the promoter prediction. This study lays a foundation for future investigation into the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of human miRNA genes.
KeywordsmicroRNA Promoter Transcription regulation
We would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for her/his critical and constructive comments that led to the improvement of this paper. This work was supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 31070928, 30600198, 30870876 and 81000558) and The Guangzhou Scholar Program (grant nos. 10A011G and 10A012G). We are grateful to He Shanheng Charity Foundation for contributing to the development of this institute.
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