Rational probe optimization and enhanced detection strategy for microRNAs using microarrays.
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulators participating in biological processes ranging from differentiation to carcinogenesis. We developed a rational probe design algorithm and a sensitive labelling scheme for optimizing miRNA microarrays. Our microarray contains probes for all validated miRNAs from five species, with the potential for drawing on species conservation to identify novel miRNAs with homologous probes. These methods are useful for high-throughput analysis of micro RNAs from various sources, and allow analysis with limiting quantities of RNA. The system design can also be extended for use on Luminex beads or on 96-well plates in an ELISA-style assay. We optimized hybridization temperatures using sequence variations on 20 of the probes and determined that all probes distinguish wild-type from 2 nt mutations, and most probes distinguish a 1 nt mutation, producing good selectivity between closely-related small RNA sequences. Results of tissue comparisons on our microarrays reveal patterns of hybridization that agree with results from Northern blots and other methods.
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