MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate many biological processes by post-translational gene silencing. Analysis of miRNA expression profiles is a reliable method for investigating particular biological processes due to the stability of miRNA and the development of advanced sequencing methods. However, this approach is limited by the broad specificity of miRNAs, which may target several mRNAs.
In this study, researchers at Southeast University, China have developed a method for comprehensive annotation of miRNA array or deep sequencing data for investigation of cellular biological effects. Using this method, the specific pathways and biological processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease were predicted with high correlation in four independent samples. Furthermore, this method was validated for evaluation of cadmium telluride (CdTe) nanomaterial cytotoxicity. As a result, apoptosis pathways were selected as the top pathways associated with CdTe nanoparticle exposure, which is consistent with previous studies.
These findings contribute to the validation of miRNA microarray or deep sequencing results for early diagnosis of disease and evaluation of the biological safety of new materials and drugs.