MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are thought to exert their functions by modulating the expression of hundreds of target genes and each to a small degree, but it remains unclear how small changes in hundreds of target genes are translated into the specific function of a miRNA. Here, we conducted an integrated analysis of transcriptome and translatome of primary B cells from mutant mice expressing miR-17~92 at three different levels to address this issue. We found that target genes exhibit differential sensitivity to miRNA suppression and that only a small fraction of target genes are actually suppressed by a given concentration of miRNA under physiological conditions. Transgenic expression and deletion of the same miRNA gene regulate largely distinct sets of target genes. miR-17~92 controls target gene expression mainly through translational repression and 5'UTR plays an important role in regulating target gene sensitivity to miRNA suppression. These findings provide molecular insights into a model in which miRNAs exert their specific functions through a small number of key target genes.