Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.


This project provides proof of concept for a microRNA "sponge", a novel microRNA sequestration technique which will aid characterization of the function of different microRNAs by showing the effects of the depletion of specific cellular microRNAs. To prove that microRNA "sponges" will effectively bind and hold native microRNA in vitro, plasmids were constructed encoding luciferase reporter mRNAs whose 3' UTRs contain four experimental sponges to bind either microRNA Let7 or miR122, or to contain two mutant sequences that do not bind miRNAs. The results showed a decreased luciferase activity for the sponge containing plasmids, but not the mutant plasmids, indicating they successfully bound their miRNAs to block reporter mRNA translation.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2010


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology