Modeling the combined effect of RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs in post-transcriptional regulation

Hafezqorani S., Lafzi A., De Bruin R. G., Van Zonneveld A. J., Van Der Veer E. P., Son Y., ...More

NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, vol.44, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/nar/gkw048
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Recent studies show that RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) function in coordination with each other to control post-transcriptional regulation (PTR). Despite this, the majority of research to date has focused on the regulatory effect of individual RBPs or miRNAs. Here, we mapped both RBP and miRNA binding sites on human 3'UTRs and utilized this collection to better understand PTR. We show that the transcripts that lack competition for HuR binding are destabilized more after HuR depletion. We also confirm this finding for PUM1(2) by measuring genome-wide expression changes following the knockdown of PUM1(2) in HEK293 cells. Next, to find potential cooperative interactions, we identified the pairs of factors whose sites co-localize more often than expected by random chance. Upon examining these results for PUM1(2), we found that transcripts where the sites of PUM1(2) and its interacting miRNA form a stem-loop are more stabilized upon PUM1(2) depletion. Finally, using dinucleotide frequency and counts of regulatory sites as features in a regression model, we achieved an AU-ROC of 0.86 in predicting mRNA half-life in BEAS-2B cells. Altogether, our results suggest that future studies of PTR must consider the combined effects of RBPs and miRNAs, as well as their interactions.