Gene Ontology microRNAs

Since January 2015 we have been using the Gene Ontology (GO) to describe the biological roles of microRNAs (miRNAs). Our aim is to to curate miRNAs that are involved with cardiovascular development and related processes. In conjunction with this effort we have curated the roles of the key human proteins that are involved in miRNA processing, such as Drosha and Dicer.

The RNA annotations are available in the regular GOA release files and in AmiGO2.

Example: View the annotations associated with hsa-miR-133a

Any queries about the miRNA project should be directed to Rachael Huntley, the lead biocurator for this project.

Current annotation projects

  • Cardiac conduction (Rachael)
  • Cardiac regeneration (Rachael and Barbara)
  • Aortic aneurysm (Zara Umrao, MSc project student)

miRNA curation guidelines

As part of this project we have drawn up miRNA curation guidelines, in consultation with the Gene Ontology Consortium and experts in miRNA research, which cover how a curator should translate into GO annotations the common experimental assays used to investigate miRNA function, including how to annotate experimentally verified targets of miRNAs as well as the physiological effects that silencing has on the cell or organism. We also describe how to capture the context of miRNA function, e.g. in which cell or tissue types the miRNAs act - information that is essential for pathway analysis. Additionally, we provide guidance of which GO terms should be applied to the proteins of the miRNA biogenesis machinery, for example Dicer, in both animals and plants.

View the miRNA curation guidelines

miRNA Decision Tree

Figure showing the Decision Tree of GO terms and annotation extensions used for capturing targets of miRNAs.

The types of evidence are listed in the blue boxes. The green boxes summarise the  annotations that can be created based on the available evidence. The pink boxes indicate that the published descriptions of a miRNA target does not meet the GOC guideline criteria and will not be captured.

A reporter assay, or a Co-IP plus an assay demonstrating an effect of the miRNA on mRNA levels, is sufficient to classify a target as “validated binding”, additional evidence that the target is predicted for the miRNA does not affect the annotation given therefore this option is not shown. Author justification means the author indicates why this mRNA is an expected target or shows an effect on an expected downstream process.