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BMC Genomics  2011 

Evaluation of two commercial global miRNA expression profiling platforms for detection of less abundant miRNAs

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-435

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Abstract:

Using synthetic miRNA samples and plasma RNA samples spiked with different ratios of 174 synthetic miRNAs we assessed the performance characteristics reproducibility, recovery, specificity, sensitivity and linearity. It was found that while the qRT-PCR based platforms were sufficiently sensitive to reproducibly detect miRNAs at the abundance levels found in human plasma, the array based platform was not. At high miRNA levels both qRT-PCR based platforms performed well in terms of specificity, reproducibility and recovery. At low miRNA levels, as in plasma, the miRCURY platform showed better sensitivity and linearity than the TaqMan platform.For profiling clinical samples with low miRNA abundance, such as plasma samples, the miRCURY platform with its better sensitivity and linearity would probably be superior.microRNAs (miRNAs) are short 20-23 nucleotide long non-coding RNAs that are widely distributed in almost all eukaryotic organisms. They have multiple functions however the main function is believed to be post transcriptional regulation of protein levels [1,2]. While miRNAs are often abundant in tissues, the amount found circulating in body fluids such as plasma and serum is often limited. It has been reported that the total RNA level in plasma is in the range 6-300 ng/ml [3,4] and that the miRNA fraction constitutes only a few percent of this [5]. The mechanisms regulating secretion of miRNA into circulation is still unclear. Reports have shown that while endogenous miRNAs appear stable in plasma/serum exogenous miRNAs are not, and as a result of this it has been suggested that endogenous circulating miRNAs are either encapsulated in microvesicles or bound to RNA-binding proteins in complexes, e.g. Ago2 and NPM1, protecting them from degradation [6-8]. Detailed knowledge of the biological function of circulating miRNA does not exist, however it has been shown that vesicular miRNAs can be transferred from cell to cell and influence the behavior of the recipient c

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