MicroRNA Protocols

Volume 936 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 117-127


Evaluating the MicroRNA Targeting Sites by Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay

  • Yi JinAffiliated withCenter for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Zujian ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Rush University Medical Center
  • , Xiqiang LiuAffiliated withCenter for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Xiaofeng ZhouAffiliated withCenter for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago Email author 

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MicroRNAs are post-transcriptional regulators that control mRNA stability and the translation efficiency of their target genes. Mature microRNAs are approximately 22-nucleotide in length. They mediate post-transcriptional gene regulation by binding to the imperfect complementary sequences (a.k.a. microRNA regulatory elements, MRE) in the target mRNAs. It is estimated that more than one-third of the protein-coding genes in the human genome are regulated by microRNAs. The experimental methods to examine the interaction between the microRNA and its targeting site(s) in the mRNA are important for understanding microRNA functions. The luciferase reporter gene assay has recently been adapted to test the effect of microRNAs. In this chapter, we use a previously identified miR-138 targeting site in the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of the RhoC mRNA as an example to describe a quick method for testing the interaction of microRNA and mRNA.

Key words

MicroRNA MicroRNA targeting sequence MicroRNA regulatory element Luciferase reporter gene assay miR-138 RhoC