miREM: an expectation-maximization approach for prioritizing miRNAs associated with gene-set Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:The knowledge of miRNAs regulating the expression of sets of mRNAs has led to novel insights into numerous and diverse cellular mechanisms. While a single miRNA may regulate many genes, one gene can be regulated by multiple miRNAs, presenting a complex relationship to model for accurate predictions. RESULTS:Here, we introduce miREM, a program that couples an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm to the common approach of hypergeometric probability (HP), which improves the prediction and prioritization of miRNAs from gene-sets of interest. miREM has been made available through a web-server ( https://bioinfo-csi.nus.edu.sg/mirem2/ ) that can be accessed through an intuitive graphical user interface. The program incorporates a large compendium of human/mouse miRNA-target prediction databases to enhance prediction. Users may upload their genes of interest in various formats as an input and select whether to consider non-conserved miRNAs, amongst filtering options. Results are reported in a rich graphical interface that allows users to: (i) prioritize predicted miRNAs through a scatterplot of HP p-values and EM scores; (ii) visualize the predicted miRNAs and corresponding genes through a heatmap; and (iii) identify and filter homologous or duplicated predictions by clustering them according to their seed sequences. CONCLUSION:We tested miREM using RNAseq datasets from two single "spiked" knock-in miRNA experiments and two double knock-out miRNA experiments. miREM predicted these manipulated miRNAs as having high EM scores from the gene set signatures (i.e. top predictions for single knock-in and double knock-out miRNA experiments). Finally, we have demonstrated that miREM predictions are either similar or better than results provided by existing programs.


  • Hadi, Luqman Hakim Abdul
  • Lin, Quy Xiao Xuan
  • Tri, Tran Minh
  • Loh, Marie
  • Ng, Hong Kiat
  • Salim, Agus
  • Soong, Richie
  • Benoukraf, Touati

publication date

  • 2018