Micro RNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded nucleic acids consisting of approximately 16-22 nucleotides located ubiquitously within the genome. Their main function is to regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level by binding to specific sequences in the 3'UTR regions of the mRNA and promoting its degradation or seizing it in specific subcellular compartments. They are transcribed from specific genes, but not translated into protein.
Some functions that have been associated with the presence of miRNAs are: embryonic and cellular development, cell differentiation, proliferation and cell death.
The MIRDEP research project aims to study the miRNA profiles of venous blood samples (possibly enriched in the platelet component) in patients with depressive syndrome enrolled by the group of prof. Massimo Cocchi and dr. Riccardo Simoni. Based on specific inclusion / exclusion criteria (in order to reduce the variability not due to depressive pathology), patients will be divided into three subgroups: control (C), cases with minor depression (DMI) and cases with major depression (DMA). Blood samples collected from the group of prof. Massimo Cocchi must be enriched in the platelet component and cryopreserved at -80 ° C, ready to be shipped on dry ice at the NEXT Genomics’ Parco Tecnologico Padano operational site (Padano Technology Park). By means GenHome platform, samples will be sequenced through deep sequencing technology.
The analyzes carried out on blood samples of patients with depressive syndrome will allow to discover four new miRNA groups, never identified in previous works, which will have been statistically different in their expression among the analyzed groups (C vs DMI + DMA; C vs DMI; C vs DMA; DMI vs DMA). Subsequently, database research (NCBI) will be performed to identify the possible novel miRNA target genes identified in the four groups.