Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evidence for post-transcriptional regulation of clustered microRNAs in Drosophila

Sergei S Ryazansky1*, Vladimir A Gvozdev1 and Eugene Berezikov23

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

2 Hubrecht Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:371  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-371

Published: 19 July 2011



MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short 21-23nt RNAs capable of inhibiting translation of complementary target messenger RNAs. Almost half of D. melanogaster miRNA genes are grouped in genomic clusters.


The peculiarities of the expression of clustered miRNAs were studied using publicly available libraries of sequenced small RNAs from different Drosophila tissues. We have shown that although miRNAs from almost all clusters have similar tissue expression profiles (coordinated clusters), some clusters contain miRNAs with uncoordinated expression profiles. The predicted transcription start sites (TSSs) of such clusters are located upstream of the first miRNA, but no TSSs are found within the clusters. The expression profiles of miR and miR* sequences in uncoordinated clustered miRNAs do not correlate while their profiles from the coordinated clustered miRNAs are similar.


The presence of exclusively upstream promoters in miRNA clusters containing uncoordinated miRNAs means that the clusters are transcribed as single transcription units. The difference of tissue expression profiles of uncoordinated miRNAs and the corresponding miRs* suggests a post-transcriptional regulation of their processing or stability.