Co-expression network analysis of micro-RNAs and proteins in the Alzheimer’s brain: a systematic review of studies in the last 10 years

Rachel Tasker, Joseph Rowlands, Zubair Ahmed, Valentina Di Pietro

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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding nucleic acids that can regulate post-transcriptional gene expression by binding to complementary sequences of target mRNA. Evidence showed that dysregulated miRNA expression may be associated with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, we combined the results of two independent systematic reviews aiming to unveil the co-expression network of miRNAs and proteins in brain tissues of AD patients. Twenty-eight studies including a total of 113 differentially expressed miRNAs (53 of them validated by qRT-PCR), and 26 studies including a total of 196 proteins differentially expressed in AD brains compared to healthy age matched controls were selected. Pathways analyses were performed on the results of the two reviews and 39 common pathways were identified. A further bioinformatic analysis was performed to match miRNA and protein targets with an inverse relation. This revealed 249 inverse relationships in 28 common pathways, representing new potential targets for therapeutic intervention. A meta-analysis, whenever possible, revealed miR-132-3p and miR-16 as consistently downregulated in late-stage AD across the literature. While no inverse relationships between miR-132-3p and proteins were found, miR-16′s inverse relationship with CLOCK proteins in the circadian rhythm pathway is discussed and therapeutic targets are proposed. The most significant miRNA dysregulated pathway highlighted in this review was the hippo signaling pathway with p = 1.66 × 10−9. Our study has revealed new mechanisms for AD pathogenesis and this is discussed along with opportunities to develop novel miRNA-based drugs to target these pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3479
Number of pages29
JournalCells
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • miRNA
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • bioinformatics
  • pathway analysis
  • CLOCK proteins

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