MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression by binding to mRNAs, and thus reduce target gene expression levels and expression variability, also known as ‘noise’. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology has been used to study miRNA and mRNA expression in single cells. To evaluate scRNA-seq as a tool for investigating miRNA regulation, we analyzed datasets with both mRNA and miRNA expression in single-cell format. We found that miRNAs slightly reduce the expression noise of target genes; however, this effect is easily masked by strong technical noise from scRNA-seq. We suggest improvements aimed at reducing technical noise, which can be implemented in experimental design and computational analysis prior to running scRNA-seq. Our study provides useful guidelines for experiments that evaluate the effect of miRNAs on mRNA expression from scRNA-seq.
- data analysis
- gene expression
- single cell
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)