Oxidative stress can alter the expression level of many microRNAs (miRNAs), but how these changes are integrated and related to oxidative stress responses is poorly understood. In this article, we addressed this question by using in silico tools. We reviewed the literature for miRNAs whose expression is altered upon oxidative stress damage and used them in combination with various databases and software to predict common gene targets of oxidative stress-modulated miRNAs and affected pathways. Furthermore, we identified miRNAs that simultaneously target the predicted oxidative stress-modulated miRNA gene targets. This generated a list of novel candidate miRNAs potentially involved in oxidative stress responses. By literature search and grouping of pathways and cellular responses, we could classify these candidate miRNAs and their targets into a larger scheme related to oxidative stress responses. To further exemplify the potential of our approach in free radical research, we used our explorative tools in combination with ingenuity pathway analysis to successfully identify new candidate miRNAs involved in the ubiquitination process, a master regulator of cellular responses to oxidative stress and proteostasis. Lastly, we demonstrate that our approach may also be useful to identify novel candidate connections between oxidative stress-related miRNAs and autophagy. In summary, our results indicate novel and important aspects with regard to the integrated biological roles of oxidative stress-modulated miRNAs and demonstrate how this type of in silico approach can be useful as a starting point to generate hypotheses and guide further research on the interrelation between miRNA-based gene regulation, oxidative stress signaling pathways, and autophagy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology