The regulation of protein abundance by microRNA (miRNA)-mediated repression of mRNA translation is a rapidly growing area of interest in biochemical research. In animal cells, the miRNA seed sequence does not perfectly match that of the mRNA it targets, resulting in a large number of possible miRNA targets and varied extents of repression. Several software tools are available for the prediction of miRNA targets, yet the overlap between them is limited. Jovanovic et al. have developed and applied a targeted, quantitative approach to validate predicted miRNA target proteins. Using a proteome database, they have set up and tested selected reaction monitoring assays for approximately 20% of more than 800 predicted let-7
targets, as well as control genes in Caenorhabditis elegans. Their results demonstrate that such assays can be developed quickly and with relative ease, and applied in a high-throughput setup to verify known and identify novel miRNA targets. They also show, however, that the choice of the biological system and material has a noticeable influence on the frequency, extent and direction of the observed changes. Nonetheless, selected reaction monitoring assays, such as those developed by Jovanovic et al., represent an attractive new tool in the study of miRNA function at the organism level.