Systems biology reveals microRNA-mediated gene regulation

Yuka Watanabe, Akio Kanai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are members of the small non-coding RNAs, which are principally known for their functions as post-transcriptional regulators of target genes. Regulation by miRNAs is triggered by the translational repression or degradation of their complementary target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). The growing number of reported miRNAs and the estimate that hundreds or thousands of genes are regulated by them suggest a magnificent gene regulatory network in which these molecules are embedded. Indeed, recent reports have suggested critical roles for miRNAs in various biological functions, such as cell differentiation, development, oncogenesis, and the immune responses, which are mediated by systems-wide changes in gene expression profiles. Therefore, it is essential to analyze this complex regulatory network at the transcriptome and proteome levels, which should be possible with approaches that include both high-throughput experiments and computational methodologies. Here, we introduce several systems-level approaches that have been applied to miRNA research, and discuss their potential to reveal miRNA-guided gene regulatory systems and their impacts on biological functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 29
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberJUNE
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Gene regulatory network
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Microrna
  • Proteome
  • Systems biology
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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