Inferring MicroRNA Regulation of mRNA with Partially Ordered Samples of Paired Expression Data and Exogenous Prediction Algorithms

Brian Godsey, Diane Heiser, Curt Civin, Matteo Pellegrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRs) are known to play an important role in mRNA regulation, often by binding to complementary sequences in "target" mRNAs. Recently, several methods have been developed by which existing sequence-based target predictions can be combined with miR and mRNA expression data to infer true miR-mRNA targeting relationships. It has been shown that the combination of these two approaches gives more reliable results than either by itself. While a few such algorithms give excellent results, none fully addresses expression data sets with a natural ordering of the samples. If the samples in an experiment can be ordered or partially ordered by their expected similarity to one another, such as for time-series or studies of development processes, stages, or types, (e.g. cell type, disease, growth, aging), there are unique opportunities to infer miR-mRNA interactions that may be specific to the underlying processes, and existing methods do not exploit this. We propose an algorithm which specifically addresses [partially] ordered expression data and takes advantage of sample similarities based on the ordering structure. This is done within a Bayesian framework which specifies posterior distributions and therefore statistical significance for each model parameter and latent variable. We apply our model to a previously published expression data set of paired miR and mRNA arrays in five partially ordered conditions, with biological replicates, related to multiple myeloma, and we show how considering potential orderings can improve the inference of miR-mRNA interactions, as measured by existing knowledge about the involved transcripts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51480
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 19 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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