Rxivist logo

microRNAs are short RNAs that serve as master regulators of gene expression and are essential components of normal development as well as modulators of disease. MicroRNAs generally act cell autonomously and thus their localization to specific cell types is needed to guide our understanding of microRNA activity. Current tissue-level data has caused considerable confusion and comprehensive cell-level data does not yet exist. Here we establish the landscape of human cell-specific microRNA expression. This project evaluated 8 billion small RNA-seq reads from 46 primary cell types, 42 cancer or immortalized cell lines, and 26 tissues. It identified both specific and ubiquitous patterns of expression that strongly correlate with adjacent super-enhancer activity. Analysis of unaligned RNA reads uncovered 207 unknown minor strand (passenger) microRNAs of known microRNA loci and 2,632 novel putative microRNA loci. Although cancer cell lines generally recapitulated the expression patterns of matched primary cells, their isomiR sequence families exhibited increased disorder suggesting Drosha and Dicer-dependent microRNA processing variability. Cell-specific patterns of microRNA expression were used to deconvolute variable cellular composition of adipose tissue samples highlighting one use of this cell-specific microRNA expression data. Characterization of cellular microRNA expression across a wide variety of cell types provides a new understanding of this critical regulatory RNA species.

Download data

  • Downloaded 1,122 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 11,056 out of 100,838
    • In genomics: 1,538 out of 6,251
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 55,226 out of 100,838
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 34,530 out of 100,838

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


  • 20 Oct 2020: Support for sorting preprints using Twitter activity has been removed, at least temporarily, until a new source of social media activity data becomes available.
  • 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
  • 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
  • 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
  • 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
  • 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
  • 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
  • 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
  • 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!