Nevin Manimala Statistics

MiREx: mRNA levels prediction from gene sequence and miRNA target knowledge

BMC Bioinformatics. 2023 Nov 22;24(1):443. doi: 10.1186/s12859-023-05560-1.


Messenger RNA (mRNA) has an essential role in the protein production process. Predicting mRNA expression levels accurately is crucial for understanding gene regulation, and various models (statistical and neural network-based) have been developed for this purpose. A few models predict mRNA expression levels from the DNA sequence, exploiting the DNA sequence and gene features (e.g., number of exons/introns, gene length). Other models include information about long-range interaction molecules (i.e., enhancers/silencers) and transcriptional regulators as predictive features, such as transcription factors (TFs) and small RNAs (e.g., microRNAs – miRNAs). Recently, a convolutional neural network (CNN) model, called Xpresso, has been proposed for mRNA expression level prediction leveraging the promoter sequence and mRNAs’ half-life features (gene features). To push forward the mRNA level prediction, we present miREx, a CNN-based tool that includes information about miRNA targets and expression levels in the model. Indeed, each miRNA can target specific genes, and the model exploits this information to guide the learning process. In detail, not all miRNAs are included, only a selected subset with the highest impact on the model. MiREx has been evaluated on four cancer primary sites from the genomics data commons (GDC) database: lung, kidney, breast, and corpus uteri. Results show that mRNA level prediction benefits from selected miRNA targets and expression information. Future model developments could include other transcriptional regulators or be trained with proteomics data to infer protein levels.

PMID:37993778 | DOI:10.1186/s12859-023-05560-1

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