TarPmiR: a new approach for microRNA target site prediction

Bioinformatics. 2016 Sep 15;32(18):2768-75. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btw318. Epub 2016 May 20.


Motivation: The identification of microRNA (miRNA) target sites is fundamentally important for studying gene regulation. There are dozens of computational methods available for miRNA target site prediction. Despite their existence, we still cannot reliably identify miRNA target sites, partially due to our limited understanding of the characteristics of miRNA target sites. The recently published CLASH (crosslinking ligation and sequencing of hybrids) data provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the characteristics of miRNA target sites and improve miRNA target site prediction methods.

Results: Applying four different machine learning approaches to the CLASH data, we identified seven new features of miRNA target sites. Combining these new features with those commonly used by existing miRNA target prediction algorithms, we developed an approach called TarPmiR for miRNA target site prediction. Testing on two human and one mouse non-CLASH datasets, we showed that TarPmiR predicted more than 74.2% of true miRNA target sites in each dataset. Compared with three existing approaches, we demonstrated that TarPmiR is superior to these existing approaches in terms of better recall and better precision.

Availability and implementation: The TarPmiR software is freely available at http://hulab.ucf.edu/research/projects/miRNA/TarPmiR/ CONTACTS: haihu@cs.ucf.edu or xiaoman@mail.ucf.edu

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Computational Biology
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs*
  • Software*


  • MicroRNAs