Evaluating the MicroRNA Targeting Sites by Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay

  • Yi Jin
  • Zujian Chen
  • Xiqiang Liu
  • Xiaofeng ZhouEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 936)


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 



This work was supported in part by NIH PHS grants (CA135992, CA139596, DE014847) and supplementary funding from UIC CCTS (UL1RR029879). Y.J. is supported by PHS T32DE018381 from NIDCR. We thank Ms. Katherine Long for her editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi Jin
    • 1
  • Zujian Chen
    • 2
  • Xiqiang Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaofeng Zhou
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Molecular Biology of Oral DiseasesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, College of DentistryUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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