A new method to detect microRNA length variants

Lead researcher

Dr Michael Gantier

Main finding

We have recently discovered that microRNAs, which are key regulators of gene expression, can be selectively degraded upon activation of the immune system, according to their length (Nejad et al., RNA 2018). Importantly, the concept that microRNAs can differ in length was only recently appreciated in the field, but poses technical problems for their detection by PCR.
In this work we report a simple modification of a popular PCR method used to detect microRNAs, which better distinguishes between microRNA length variants.


Centre for Innate Immunity & Infectious Diseases

Research group

Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity


Nejad C, Pépin G, Behlke MA, Gantier MP

Journal and article title

Most surprising

A very simple modification based on addition of 3'end bases was sufficient to increase specificity towards short microRNAs.

Future implications

Our methods will help researchers better understand how microRNA length impacts their function.

Disease/health impact

Cancer, disease biomarkers

Other points of interest


Dr Michael Gantier from the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Research Group at Hudson Institute