The effect of microRNAs in the regulation of human CYP3A4: a systematic study using a mathematical model

Sci Rep. 2014 Mar 5;4:4283. doi: 10.1038/srep04283.


CYP3A4 metabolizes more than 50% of the drugs on the market. The large inter-individual differences of CYP3A4 expression may contribute to the variability of human drug responses. Post-transcriptional regulation of CYP3A4 is poorly understood, whereas transcriptional regulation has been studied much more thoroughly. In this study, we used multiple software programs to predict miRNAs that might bind to CYP3A4 and identified 112 potentially functional miRNAs. Then a luciferase reporter system was used to assess the effect of the overexpression of each potentially functional miRNA in HEK 293T cells. Fourteen miRNAs that significantly decreased reporter activity were measured in human liver samples (N = 27) as candidate miRNAs. To establish a more effective way to analyze in vivo data for miRNA candidates, the relationship between functional miRNA and target mRNA was modeled mathematically. Taking advantage of this model, we found that hsa-miR-577, hsa-miR-1, hsa-miR-532-3p and hsa-miR-627 could significantly downregulate the translation efficiency of CYP3A4 mRNA in liver. This study used in silico, in vitro and in vivo methods to progressively screen functional miRNAs for CYP3A4 and to enhance our understanding of molecular events underlying the large inter-individual differences of CYP3A4 expression in human populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • RNA Interference*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A