Integration of MicroRNA, mRNA, and Protein Expression Data for the Identification of Cancer-Related MicroRNAs.
- Author : Jiyoun Seo, Daeyong Jin, Chan-Hun Choi, and Hyunju Lee
- Published Date : 2017
- Category : Bioinformatics and Text Mining
- Place of publication : PLoS One
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are responsible for the regulation of target genes involved in various biological processes, and may play oncogenic or tumor suppressive roles. Many studies have investigated the relationships between miRNAs and their target genes, using mRNA and miRNA expression data. However, mRNA expression levels do not necessarily represent the exact gene expression profiles, since protein translation may be regulated in several different ways. Despite this, large-scale protein expression data have been integrated rarely when predicting gene-miRNA relationships. This study explores two approaches for the investigation of gene-miRNA relationships by integrating mRNA expression and protein expression data. First, miRNAs were ranked according to their effects on cancer development. We calculated influence scores for each miRNA, based on the number of significant mRNA-miRNA and protein-miRNA correlations. Furthermore, we constructed modules containing mRNAs, proteins, and miRNAs, in which these three molecular types are highly correlated. The regulatory interactions between miRNA and genes in these modules have been validated based on the direct regulations, indirect regulations, and co-regulations through transcription factors. We applied our approaches to glioblastomas (GBMs), ranked miRNAs depending on their effects on GBM, and obtained 52 GBM-related modules. Compared with the miRNA rankings and modules constructed using only mRNA expression data, the rankings and modules constructed using mRNA and protein expression data were shown to have better performance. Additionally, we experimentally verified that miR-504, highly ranked and included in the identified modules, plays a suppressive role in GBM development. We demonstrated that the integration of both expression profiles allows a more precise analysis of gene-miRNA interactions and the identification of a higher number of cancer-related miRNAs and regulatory mechanisms.