Identification of miRNAs and Their Targets in C. elegans
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that direct posttranscriptional regulation of specific target genes. Since their discovery in Caenorhabditis elegans, they have been associated with the control of virtually all biological processes and are known to play major roles in development and cellular homeostasis. Yet the biological roles of most miRNAs remain to be fully known. Furthermore, the precise rules by which miRNAs recognize their targets and mediate gene silencing are still unclear. Systematic identification of miRNAs and of the RNAs they regulate is essential to close these knowledge gaps. Studies in C. elegans have been instrumental not only in the discovery phase of miRNA biology but also in the elucidation of mechanisms regulating miRNA expression, target recognition and regulation. This chapter highlights some of the main challenges still present in the field, while introducing the major studies and methods used to find miRNAs and their targets in the worm.
KeywordsmicroRNAs miRNAs Posttranscriptional regulation Argonaute C. elegans Caenorhabditis elegans RNA-seq CLIP
We thank members of the Pasquinelli lab for critical review of this manuscript. This work was supported by funding from the NIH (GM071654), Keck, and Peter Gruber Foundations.