miRWalk--database: prediction of possible miRNA binding sites by "walking" the genes of three genomes

J Biomed Inform. 2011 Oct;44(5):839-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 14.


MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNA molecules that can complementarily bind to the mRNA 3'-UTR region to regulate the gene expression by transcriptional repression or induction of mRNA degradation. Increasing evidence suggests a new mechanism by which miRNAs may regulate target gene expression by binding in promoter and amino acid coding regions. Most of the existing databases on miRNAs are restricted to mRNA 3'-UTR region. To address this issue, we present miRWalk, a comprehensive database on miRNAs, which hosts predicted as well as validated miRNA binding sites, information on all known genes of human, mouse and rat. All mRNAs, mitochondrial genes and 10 kb upstream flanking regions of all known genes of human, mouse and rat were analyzed by using a newly developed algorithm named 'miRWalk' as well as with eight already established programs for putative miRNA binding sites. An automated and extensive text-mining search was performed on PubMed database to extract validated information on miRNAs. Combined information was put into a MySQL database. miRWalk presents predicted and validated information on miRNA-target interaction. Such a resource enables researchers to validate new targets of miRNA not only on 3'-UTR, but also on the other regions of all known genes. The 'Validated Target module' is updated every month and the 'Predicted Target module' is updated every 6 months. miRWalk is freely available at http://mirwalk.uni-hd.de/.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • Rats


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger