Based on the recently added high throughput analysis data on small noncoding RNAs in modulating disease pathophysiology of malaria, we performed an integrative computational analysis for exploring the role of human-host erythrocytic microRNAs (miRNAs) and their influence on parasite survival and host homeostasis. An in silico analysis was performed on transcriptomic datasets accessed from PlasmoDB and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repositories analyzed using miRanda, miRTarBase, mirDIP, and miRDB to identify the candidate miRNAs that were further subjected to network analysis using MCODE and DAVID. This was followed by immune infiltration analysis and screening for RNA degradation mechanisms. Seven erythrocytic miRNAs, miR-451a, miR-92a-3p, miR-16-5p, miR-142-3p, miR-15b-5p, miR-19b-3p, and miR-223-3p showed favourable interactions with parasite genes expressed during blood stage infection. The miR-92a-3p that targeted the virulence gene PfEMP1 showed drastic reduction during infection. Performing pathway analysis for the human-host gene targets for the miRNA identified TOB1, TOB2, CNOT4, and XRN1 genes that are associated to RNA degradation processes, with the exoribonuclease XRN1, highly enriched in the malarial samples. On evaluating the role of exoribonucleases in miRNA degradation further, the pattern of Plasmodium falciparum_XRN1 showed increased levels during infection thus suggesting a defensive role for parasite survival. This study identifies miR-92a-3p, a member of C13orf25/ miR-17-92 cluster, as a novel miRNA inhibitor of the crucial parasite genes responsible for symptomatic malaria. Evidence for a plausible link to chromosome 13q31.3 loci controlling the epigenetic disease regulation is also suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalFunctional and Integrative Genomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 06-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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