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BACKGROUND: Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a recently discovered class of non-protein coding RNAs, which have now increasingly been shown to be involved in a wide variety of biological processes as regulatory molecules. The functional role of many of the members of this class has been an enigma, except a few of them like Malat and HOTAIR. Little is known regarding the regulatory interactions between noncoding RNA classes. Recent reports have suggested that lncRNAs could potentially interact with other classes of non-coding RNAs including microRNAs (miRNAs) and modulate their regulatory role through interactions. We hypothesized that lncRNAs could participate as a layer of regulatory interactions with miRNAs. The availability of genome-scale datasets for Argonaute targets across human transcriptome has prompted us to reconstruct a genome-scale network of interactions between miRNAs and lncRNAs. RESULTS: We used well characterized experimental Photoactivatable-Ribonucleoside-Enhanced Crosslinking and Immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) datasets and the recent genome-wide annotations for lncRNAs in public domain to construct a comprehensive transcriptome-wide map of miRNA regulatory elements. Comparative analysis revealed that in addition to targeting protein-coding transcripts, miRNAs could also potentially target lncRNAs, thus participating in a novel layer of regulatory interactions between noncoding RNA classes. Furthermore, we have modeled one example of miRNA-lncRNA interaction using a zebrafish model. We have also found that the miRNA regulatory elements have a positional preference, clustering towards the mid regions and 3' ends of the long noncoding transcripts. We also further reconstruct a genome-wide map of miRNA interactions with lncRNAs as well as messenger RNAs. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis suggests widespread regulatory interactions between noncoding RNAs classes and suggests a novel functional role for lncRNAs. We also present the first transcriptome scale study on miRNA-lncRNA interactions and the first report of a genome-scale reconstruction of a noncoding RNA regulatory interactome involving lncRNAs.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0053823

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2013

Volume

8

Keywords

Animals, Base Sequence, Binding Sites, Gene Expression Profiling, Genome, Humans, MicroRNAs, Molecular Sequence Data, RNA, Long Noncoding, RNA, Messenger, Transcriptome, Zebrafish