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Proceedings Paper

A signature microRNA expression profile for the cellular response to thermal stress
Author(s): Gerald J. Wilmink; Caleb C. Roth; Norma Ketchum; Bennett L. Ibey; Angela Waterworth; Maria Suarez; William P. Roach
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Paper Abstract

Recently, an extensive layer of intra-cellular signals was discovered that was previously undetected by genetic radar. It is now known that this layer consists primarily of a class of short noncoding RNA species that are referred to as microRNAs (miRNAs). MiRNAs regulate protein synthesis at the post-transcriptional level, and studies have shown that they are involved in many fundamental cellular processes. In this study, we hypothesized that miRNAs may be involved in cellular stress response mechanisms, and that cells exposed to thermal stress may exhibit a signature miRNA expression profile indicative of their functional involvement in such mechanisms. To test our hypothesis, human dermal fibroblasts were exposed to an established hyperthermic protocol, and the ensuing miRNA expression levels were evaluated 4 hr post-exposure using microRNA microarray gene chips. The microarray data shows that 123 miRNAs were differentially expressed in cells exposed to thermal stress. We collectively refer to these miRNAs as thermalregulated microRNAs (TRMs). Since miRNA research is in its infancy, it is interesting to note that only 27 of the 123 TRMs are currently annotated in the Sanger miRNA registry. Prior to publication, we plan to submit the remaining novel 96 miRNA gene sequences for proper naming. Computational and thermodynamic modeling algorithms were employed to identify putative mRNA targets for the TRMs, and these studies predict that TRMs regulate the mRNA expression of various proteins that are involved in the cellular stress response. Future empirical studies will be conducted to validate these theoretical predictions, and to further examine the specific role that TRMs play in the cellular stress response.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 February 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7175, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XX, 71750U (25 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.815310
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald J. Wilmink, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
National Academy of Sciences (United States)
Caleb C. Roth, General Dynamics (United States)
Norma Ketchum, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Bennett L. Ibey, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Angela Waterworth, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Maria Suarez, Highlands High School (United States)
William P. Roach, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7175:
Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XX
Steven L. Jacques; E. Duco Jansen; William P. Roach, Editor(s)

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