Diverse correlation patterns between microRNAs and their targets during tomato fruit development indicates different modes of microRNA actions

Sara Lopez-Gomollon, Irina Mohorianu, Gyorgy Szittya, Vincent Moulton, Tamas Dalmay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs negatively regulate the accumulation of mRNAs therefore when they are expressed in the same cells their expression profiles show an inverse correlation. We previously described one positively correlated miRNA/target pair, but it is not known how widespread this phenomenon is. Here, we investigated the correlation between the expression profiles of differentially expressed miRNAs and their targets during tomato fruit development using deep sequencing, Northern blot and RT-qPCR. We found an equal number of positively and negatively correlated miRNA/target pairs indicating that positive correlation is more frequent than previously thought. We also found that the correlation between microRNA and target expression profiles can vary between mRNAs belonging to the same gene family and even for the same target mRNA at different developmental stages. Since microRNAs always negatively regulate their targets, the high number of positively correlated microRNA/target pairs suggests that mutual exclusion could be as widespread as temporal regulation. The change of correlation during development suggests that the type of regulatory circuit directed by a microRNA can change over time and can be different for individual gene family members. Our results also highlight potential problems for expression profiling-based microRNA target identification/validation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1875-1887
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Early online date26 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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