Dicer knockout mouse models demonstrated a key role for microRNAs in pancreatic β-cell function. Studies to identify specific microRNA(s) associated with human (pro-)endocrine gene expression are needed. We profiled microRNAs and key pancreatic genes in 353 human tissue samples. Machine learning workflows identified microRNAs associated with (pro-)insulin transcripts in a discovery set of islets (n = 30) and insulin-negative tissues (n = 62). This microRNA signature was validated in remaining 261 tissues that include nine islet samples from individuals with type 2 diabetes. Top eight microRNAs (miR-183-5p, -375-3p, 216b-5p, 183-3p, -7-5p, -217-5p, -7-2-3p, and -429-3p) were confirmed to be associated with and predictive of (pro-)insulin transcript levels. Use of doxycycline-inducible microRNA-overexpressing human pancreatic duct cell lines confirmed the regulatory roles of these microRNAs in (pro-)endocrine gene expression. Knockdown of these microRNAs in human islet cells reduced (pro-)insulin transcript abundance. Our data provide specific microRNAs to further study microRNA-mRNA interactions in regulating insulin transcription.
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- Computational Bioinformatics