Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Massive microRNA sequence conservation and prevalence in human and chimpanzee introns
Human and chimpanzee introns contain numerous sequences strongly related to known microRNA hairpin structures. The relative frequency is precisely maintained across all chromosomes, suggesting the possible co-evolution of gene networks dependent upon microRNA regulation and with origins corresponding to the advent of primate transposable elements (TEs). While the motifs are known to be derived from transposable elements, the most common are far more numerous than expected from the number of TEs and their paralogous sequences, and exhibit striking conservation in comparison to the surrounding TE sequence context. Several of these motifs also exhibit structural complimentarity to each other, suggesting a pairing function at the level of DNA or RNA. These “pseudomicroRNAs,” in semblance to pseudogenes, include hundreds of thousands of vestigial paralogs of primate microRNAs, many of which may have functioned historically or remain active today.