MicroRNAs (miRNAs) target mRNAs in human cells via complex mechanisms that are still incompletely understood. Using anti-Argonaute (anti-AGO) antibody co-immunoprecipitation, followed by microarray analyses and downstream bioinformatics, 'RIP-Chip' experiments enable direct analyses of miRNA targets. RIP-Chip studies (and parallel assessments of total input mRNA) were performed in cultured H4 cells after transfection with miRNAs corresponding to the miR-15/107 gene group (miR-103, miR-107, miR-16 and miR-195), and five control miRNAs. Three biological replicates were run for each condition with a total of 54 separate human Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST array replicates. Computational analyses queried for determinants of miRNA:mRNA binding. The analyses support four major findings: (i) RIP-Chip studies correlated with total input mRNA profiling provides more comprehensive information than using either RIP-Chip or total mRNA profiling alone after miRNA transfections; (ii) new data confirm that miR-107 paralogs target coding sequence (CDS) of mRNA; (iii) biochemical and computational studies indicate that the 3' portion of miRNAs plays a role in guiding miR-103/7 to the CDS of targets; and (iv) there are major sequence-specific targeting differences between miRNAs in terms of CDS versus 3'-untranslated region targeting, and stable AGO association versus mRNA knockdown. Future studies should take this important miRNA-to-miRNA variability into account.

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Published in Nucleic Acids Research, v. 39, no. 18, p. 8163-8172.

© The Author(s) 2011. Published by Oxford University Press.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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