SBI – Department of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
Faculty of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Rostock
Ulmenstrasse 69 | 18057 Rostock
+49 381 498-7571
Identification and functional analysis of microRNAs involved in malignant melanoma progression (MicroRna)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small, non-coding ~22 nt RNA molecules that have emerged as a major class of regulatory genes for diverse range of biological functions. In our preliminary studies, we were able to demonstrate that primary melanoma show a distinct miRNA expression pattern compared with benign melanocytic nevi. The aim of the present project is to identify and functionally characterize miRNAs that might play a role during further melanoma progression (metastasis).
In the first phase of our studies, we performed RT-PCR array experiment to measure the expression of 157 different miRNAs in samples of primary melanomas (n=10) and cutaneous metastases (n=20). In order to detect significantly differentially expressed miRNAs in metastasis vs. primary melanoma, we have statistically analyzed the expression data. We further identified experimentally verified as well as predicted mRNA targets that are under regulatory control of top miRNA candidates.
We found 12 miRNAs that were significantly up-regulated and 2 being down-regulated from primary melanoma to metastases progression. In order to investigate the regulatory influence of these 14 miRNAs on melanoma progression, we are going to perform gene annotation enrichment analysis on the target genes. Finally, we expect to find potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for different stages of melanoma progression.
Schematic representation of the project workflow. Experimental procedures are shown from microRNA isolation to functional validation experiments.