A novel approach for visualizing individual miRNAs in situ in single cells

   MiRNAs are crucial regulators of gene expression. The abnormal expression of miRNAs may contribute to serious diseases, such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders. Visualizing miRNAs in single cells is essential for resolving miRNA-mediated regulatory circuits and its disease associations. Prof. Jinghong Li and his coworker of the Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, recently has presented a novel assay for visualizing individual miRNAs in situ in single cells. Let-7 miRNAs function as tumor suppressors in lung cells and their reduced expression in human lung cancers is associated with shortened postoperative survival. This assay can be utilized to identify let-7 family members at physiological temperature and to visualize individual let-7a, 7d in situ in single cells within 3 h. This assay is a competitive candidate technique for in situ miRNA imaging, which may help us to understand the role of miRNAs in cellular processes and human diseases better.

This work has been published as VIP artical on Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 2389-2393.