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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (87)
- Molecular Interventions
- Nature Biotechnology
- Current Biology : CB
- Methods (San Diego, Calif.)
- RNA (New York, N.Y.)
- RNA (New York, N.Y.)
- Antisense & Nucleic Acid Drug Development
- Developmental Cell
- Nucleic Acids Research. Supplement (2001)
- Genome Biology
- RNA (New York, N.Y.)
- Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery
- Genes & Development
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- RNA (New York, N.Y.)
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- Current Protocols in Molecular Biology / Edited by Frederick M. Ausubel ... [et Al.]
- RNA Biology
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- Structure (London, England : 1993)
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Articles by Thomas Tuschl in JoVE
PAR-CliP - A Method to Identify Transcriptome-wide the Binding Sites of RNA Binding Proteins
Markus Hafner1, Markus Landthaler2, Lukas Burger3, Mohsen Khorshid3, Jean Hausser4, Philipp Berninger4, Andrea Rothballer1, Manuel Ascano1, Anna-Carina Jungkamp2, Mathias Munschauer2, Alexander Ulrich1, Greg S. Wardle1, Scott Dewell5, Mihaela Zavolan3, Thomas Tuschl1
1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of RNA Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University, 2Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, 3Biozentrum der Universität Basel and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), 4Biozentrum der Universität Basel and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), 5Genomics Resource Center, Rockefeller University
RNA transcripts are subject to extensive posttranscriptional regulation that is mediated by a multitude of trans-acting RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Here we present a generalizable method to identify precisely and on a transcriptome-wide scale the RNA binding sites of RBPs.
Other articles by Thomas Tuschl on PubMed
Molecular Interventions. Jun, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 14993376
Current Biology : CB. Apr, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12007417
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a new class of noncoding RNAs, which are encoded as short inverted repeats in the genomes of invertebrates and vertebrates. It is believed that miRNAs are modulators of target mRNA translation and stability, although most target mRNAs remain to be identified. Here we describe the identification of 34 novel miRNAs by tissue-specific cloning of approximately 21-nucleotide RNAs from mouse. Almost all identified miRNAs are conserved in the human genome and are also frequently found in nonmammalian vertebrate genomes, such as pufferfish. In heart, liver, or brain, it is found that a single, tissue-specifically expressed miRNA dominates the population of expressed miRNAs and suggests a role for these miRNAs in tissue specification or cell lineage decisions. Finally, a miRNA was identified that appears to be the fruitfly and mammalian ortholog of C. elegans lin-4 stRNA.
Methods (San Diego, Calif.). Feb, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12054897
RNA interference (RNAi) is a highly conserved gene silencing mechanism that uses double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) as a signal to trigger the degradation of homologous mRNA. The mediators of sequence-specific mRNA degradation are 21- to 23-nt small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) generated by ribonuclease III cleavage from longer dsRNAs. Twenty-one-nucleotide siRNA duplexes trigger specific gene silencing in mammalian somatic cells without activation of the unspecific interferon response. Here we provide a collection of protocols for siRNA-mediated knockdown of mammalian gene expression. Because of the robustness of the siRNA knockdown technology, genomewide analysis of human gene function in cultured cells has now become possible.
Cell. Sep, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12230974
Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are the mediators of mRNA degradation in the process of RNA interference (RNAi). Here, we describe a human biochemical system that recapitulates siRNA-mediated target RNA degradation. By using affinity-tagged siRNAs, we demonstrate that a single-stranded siRNA resides in the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) together with eIF2C1 and/or eIF2C2 (human GERp95) Argonaute proteins. RISC is rapidly formed in HeLa cell cytoplasmic extract supplemented with 21 nt siRNA duplexes, but also by adding single-stranded antisense RNAs, which range in size between 19 and 29 nucleotides. Single-stranded antisense siRNAs are also effectively silencing genes in HeLa cells, especially when 5'-phosphorylated, and expand the repertoire of RNA reagents suitable for gene targeting.
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Feb, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12554859
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a new class of noncoding RNAs encoded in the genomes of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. MicroRNAs regulate translation and stability of target mRNAs based on (partial) sequence complementarity. Although the number of newly identified miRNAs is still increasing, target mRNAs of animal miRNAs remain to be identified. Here we describe 31 novel miRNAs that were identified by cloning from mouse tissues and the human Saos-2 cell line. Fifty-three percent of all known mouse and human miRNAs have homologs in Fugu rubripes (pufferfish) or Danio rerio (zebrafish), of which almost half also have a homolog in Caenorhabditis elegans or Drosophila melanogaster. Because of the recurring identification of already known miRNAs and the unavoidable background of ribosomal RNA breakdown products, it is believed that not many more miRNAs may be identified by cloning. A comprehensive collection of miRNAs is important for assisting bioinformatics target mRNA identification and comprehensive genome annotation.
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Mar, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12592000
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA gene products about 22 nt long that are processed by Dicer from precursors with a characteristic hairpin secondary structure. Guidelines are presented for the identification and annotation of new miRNAs from diverse organisms, particularly so that miRNAs can be reliably distinguished from other RNAs such as small interfering RNAs. We describe specific criteria for the experimental verification of miRNAs, and conventions for naming miRNAs and miRNA genes. Finally, an online clearinghouse for miRNA gene name assignments is provided by the Rfam database of RNA families.
Sequence, Chemical, and Structural Variation of Small Interfering RNAs and Short Hairpin RNAs and the Effect on Mammalian Gene Silencing
Antisense & Nucleic Acid Drug Development. Apr, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12804036
Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) induce sequence-specific gene silencing in mammalian cells and guide mRNA degradation in the process of RNA interference (RNAi). By targeting endogenous lamin A/C mRNA in human HeLa or mouse SW3T3 cells, we investigated the positional variation of siRNA-mediated gene silencing. We find cell-type-dependent global effects and cell-type-independent positional effects. HeLa cells were about 2-fold more responsive to siRNAs than SW3T3 cells but displayed a very similar pattern of positional variation of lamin A/C silencing. In HeLa cells, 26 of 44 tested standard 21-nucleotide (nt) siRNA duplexes reduced the protein expression by at least 90%, and only 2 duplexes reduced the lamin A/C proteins to <50%. Fluorescent chromophores did not perturb gene silencing when conjugated to the 5'-end or 3'-end of the sense siRNA strand and the 5'-end of the antisense siRNA strand, but conjugation to the 3'-end of the antisense siRNA abolished gene silencing. RNase-protecting phosphorothioate and 2'-fluoropyrimidine RNA backbone modifications of siRNAs did not significantly affect silencing efficiency, although cytotoxic effects were observed when every second phosphate of an siRNA duplex was replaced by phosphorothioate. Synthetic RNA hairpin loops were subsequently evaluated for lamin A/C silencing as a function of stem length and loop composition. As long as the 5'-end of the guide strand coincided with the 5'-end of the hairpin RNA, 19-29 base pair (bp) hairpins effectively silenced lamin A/C, but when the hairpin started with the 5'-end of the sense strand, only 21-29 bp hairpins were highly active.
Developmental Cell. Aug, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12919683
Small RNAs ranging in size between 20 and 30 nucleotides are involved in different types of regulation of gene expression including mRNA degradation, translational repression, and chromatin modification. Here we describe the small RNA profile of Drosophila melanogaster as a function of development. We have cloned and sequenced over 4000 small RNAs, 560 of which have the characteristics of RNase III cleavage products. A nonredundant set of 62 miRNAs was identified. We also isolated 178 repeat-associated small interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs), which are cognate to transposable elements, satellite and microsatellite DNA, and Suppressor of Stellate repeats, suggesting that small RNAs participate in defining chromatin structure. rasiRNAs are most abundant in testes and early embryos, where regulation of transposon activity is critical and dramatic changes in heterochromatin structure occur.
Nucleic Acids Research. Supplement (2001). 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14510516
Genome Biology. 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14709173
The recent discoveries of microRNA (miRNA) genes and characterization of the first few target genes regulated by miRNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster have set the stage for elucidation of a novel network of regulatory control. We present a computational method for whole-genome prediction of miRNA target genes. The method is validated using known examples. For each miRNA, target genes are selected on the basis of three properties: sequence complementarity using a position-weighted local alignment algorithm, free energies of RNA-RNA duplexes, and conservation of target sites in related genomes. Application to the D. melanogaster, Drosophila pseudoobscura and Anopheles gambiae genomes identifies several hundred target genes potentially regulated by one or more known miRNAs.
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Mar, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14970398
A large number of miRNAs have recently been discovered in plants and animals. Development of reverse genetic approaches that act to inhibit microRNA function would facilitate the study of this new class of noncoding RNA. Here we show that 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotides, but not 2'-deoxyoligonucleotides specifically inactivate the RNAi activity associated with miRNA-protein complexes in human cell extracts as well as in cultured human cells.
Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery. Apr, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15060527
Genes & Development. May, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15105377
Gene silencing in the process of RNA interference is mediated by a ribonucleoprotein complex referred to as RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Here we describe the molecular mechanism of target RNA cleavage using affinity-purified minimal RISC from human cells. Cleavage proceeds via hydrolysis and the release of a 3'-hydroxyl and a 5'-phosphate terminus. Substitution of the 2'-hydroxyl group at the cleavage site by 2'-deoxy had no significant effect, suggesting that product release and/or a conformational transition rather than a chemical step is rate-limiting. Substitution by 2'-O-methyl at the cleavage site substantially reduced cleavage, which is presumably due to steric interference. Mutational analysis of the target RNA revealed that mismatches across from the 5' or the 3' end of the siRNA had little effect and that substrate RNAs as short as 15 nucleotides were cleaved by RISC.
Science (New York, N.Y.). Apr, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15118162
RNA silencing processes are guided by small RNAs that are derived from double-stranded RNA. To probe for function of RNA silencing during infection of human cells by a DNA virus, we recorded the small RNA profile of cells infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We show that EBV expresses several microRNA (miRNA) genes. Given that miRNAs function in RNA silencing pathways either by targeting messenger RNAs for degradation or by repressing translation, we identified viral regulators of host and/or viral gene expression.
The Human 18S U11/U12 SnRNP Contains a Set of Novel Proteins Not Found in the U2-dependent Spliceosome
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Jun, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15146077
U11 and U12 snRNPs bind U12-type pre-mRNAs as a preformed di-snRNP complex, simultaneously recognizing the 5' splice site and branchpoint sequence. Thus, within the U12-type prespliceosome, U11/U12 components form a molecular bridge connecting both ends of the intron. We have affinity purified human 18S U11/U12 and 12S U11 snRNPs, and identified their protein components by using mass spectrometry. U11/U12 snRNPs lack all known U1 snRNP proteins but contain seven novel proteins (i.e., 65K, 59K, 48K, 35K, 31K, 25K, 20K) not found in the major spliceosome, four of which (59K, 48K, 35K, and 25K) are U11-associated. Thus, protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions contributing to 5' splice site recognition and/or intron bridging appear to differ significantly in the minor versus major prespliceosome. The majority of U11/U12 proteins are highly conserved in organisms known to contain U12-type introns. However, homologs of those associated with U11 were not detected in Drosophila melanogaster, consistent with the presence of a divergent U11 snRNP in flies. RNAi experiments revealed that several U11/U12 proteins are essential for cell viability, suggesting they play key roles in U12-type splicing. The presence of unique U11/U12 snRNP proteins in the U12-type spliceosome provides insight into potential evolutionary relationships between the major and minor spliceosome.
Nucleic Acids Research. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15215365
The Whitehead siRNA (short interfering RNA) Selection Web Server (http://jura.wi.mit.edu/bioc/siRNA) automates the design of short oligonucleotides that can specifically 'knock down' expression of target genes. These short sequences are about 21 nt in length, and when synthesized as double stranded RNA and introduced into cell culture, can reduce or eliminate the function of the target gene. Depending on the length of a gene, there are potentially numerous combinations of possible 21mers. Some experimental evidence has already shown that not all 21mers in a gene have the same effectiveness at silencing gene function. Our tool incorporates published design rules and presents the scientist with information about uniqueness of the 21mers within the genome, thermodynamic stability of the double stranded RNA duplex, GC content, presence of SNPs and other features that may contribute to the effectiveness of a siRNA.
Molecular Cell. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15260970
Argonaute proteins associate with small RNAs that guide mRNA degradation, translational repression, or a combination of both. The human Argonaute family has eight members, four of which (Ago1 through Ago4) are closely related and coexpressed in many cell types. To understand the biological function of the different Ago proteins, we set out to determine if Ago1 through Ago4 are associated with miRNAs as well as RISC activity in human cell lines. Our results suggest that miRNAs are incorporated indiscriminately of their sequence into Ago1 through Ago4 containing microRNPs (miRNPs). Purification of the FLAG/HA-epitope-tagged Ago containing complexes from different human cell lines revealed that endonuclease activity is exclusively associated with Ago2. Exogenously introduced siRNAs also associate with Ago2 for guiding target RNA cleavage. The specific role of Ago2 in guiding target RNA cleavage was confirmed independently by siRNA-based depletion of individual Ago members in combination with a sensitive positive-readout reporter assay.
RNA Interference by Osmotic Lysis of Pinosomes: Liposome-independent Transfection of SiRNAs into Mammalian Cells
BioTechniques. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15283206
The osmotic lysis of pinosomes procedure has been adapted to deliver small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) into cells in culture. Under hypertonic conditions, siRNAs were internalized into pinosomes. A subsequent osmotic shock in hypotonic buffer disrupted the pinosomes and caused the release of siRNAs into the cell cytoplasm. Both steps could be demonstrated directly using fluorescein-labeled siRNAs and confocal laser-scanning microscopy. Uptake by the pinocytosis/osmotic lysis procedure is concentration- and time-dependent. At an siRNA concentration of 0.4 microM, treatment for 40 or 80 min results in silencing efficiencies of 60% and 90%, respectively, after 44 h. A double treatment resulted in approximately equal silencing efficiencies but in reduced viability. This method has been used on a variety of human and murine cell lines including HEK293, HeLa SS6, and SW3T3 cells. Targets such as lamin A/C and Eg5 were effectively silenced. Novel silencing data are provided for Ki67, one of the few reliable prognostic markers for tumor patients. The new procedure avoids certain technical problems encountered with commercial transfection reagents while yielding silencing efficiencies that are comparable to those obtained with liposome-mediated siRNA transfection.
Nature. Sep, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15372041
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is an important regulator of gene expression in many eukaryotes. It triggers different types of gene silencing that are collectively referred to as RNA silencing or RNA interference. A key step in known silencing pathways is the processing of dsRNAs into short RNA duplexes of characteristic size and structure. These short dsRNAs guide RNA silencing by specific and distinct mechanisms. Many components of the RNA silencing machinery still need to be identified and characterized, but a more complete understanding of the process is imminent.
PLoS Biology. Nov, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15502875
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) interact with target mRNAs at specific sites to induce cleavage of the message or inhibit translation. The specific function of most mammalian miRNAs is unknown. We have predicted target sites on the 3' untranslated regions of human gene transcripts for all currently known 218 mammalian miRNAs to facilitate focused experiments. We report about 2,000 human genes with miRNA target sites conserved in mammals and about 250 human genes conserved as targets between mammals and fish. The prediction algorithm optimizes sequence complementarity using position-specific rules and relies on strict requirements of interspecies conservation. Experimental support for the validity of the method comes from known targets and from strong enrichment of predicted targets in mRNAs associated with the fragile X mental retardation protein in mammals. This is consistent with the hypothesis that miRNAs act as sequence-specific adaptors in the interaction of ribonuclear particles with translationally regulated messages. Overrepresented groups of targets include mRNAs coding for transcription factors, components of the miRNA machinery, and other proteins involved in translational regulation, as well as components of the ubiquitin machinery, representing novel feedback loops in gene regulation. Detailed information about target genes, target processes, and open-source software for target prediction (miRanda) is available at http://www.microrna.org. Our analysis suggests that miRNA genes, which are about 1% of all human genes, regulate protein production for 10% or more of all human genes.
Nature. Nov, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15538371
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a growing class of non-coding RNAs that are thought to regulate gene expression by translational repression. Several miRNAs in animals exhibit tissue-specific or developmental-stage-specific expression, indicating that they could play important roles in many biological processes. To study the role of miRNAs in pancreatic endocrine cells we cloned and identified a novel, evolutionarily conserved and islet-specific miRNA (miR-375). Here we show that overexpression of miR-375 suppressed glucose-induced insulin secretion, and conversely, inhibition of endogenous miR-375 function enhanced insulin secretion. The mechanism by which secretion is modified by miR-375 is independent of changes in glucose metabolism or intracellular Ca2+-signalling but correlated with a direct effect on insulin exocytosis. Myotrophin (Mtpn) was predicted to be and validated as a target of miR-375. Inhibition of Mtpn by small interfering (si)RNA mimicked the effects of miR-375 on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and exocytosis. Thus, miR-375 is a regulator of insulin secretion and may thereby constitute a novel pharmacological target for the treatment of diabetes.
The Human DiGeorge Syndrome Critical Region Gene 8 and Its D. Melanogaster Homolog Are Required for MiRNA Biogenesis
Current Biology : CB. Dec, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15589161
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a family of small noncoding RNAs that are found in plants and animals (for recent reviews, see ). miRNAs are expressed in a developmentally and tissue-specific manner and regulate the translational efficiency and stability of partial or fully sequence-complementary mRNAs. miRNAs are excised in a stepwise process from double-stranded RNA precursors that are embedded in long RNA polymerase II primary transcripts (pri-miRNA). Drosha RNase III catalyzes the first excision event, the release in the nucleus of a hairpin RNA (pre-miRNA), which is followed by export of the pre-miRNA to the cytoplasm and further processing by Dicer to mature miRNAs. Here, we characterize the human DGCR8, the DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8, and its Drosophila melanogaster homolog. We provide biochemical and cell-based readouts to demonstrate the requirement of DGCR8 for the maturation of miRNA primary transcripts. RNAi knockdown experiments of fly and human DGCR8 resulted in accumulation of pri-miRNAs and reduction of pre-miRNAs and mature miRNAs. Our results suggest that DGCR8 and Drosha interact in human cells and reside in a functional pri-miRNA processing complex.
Science (New York, N.Y.). Jan, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15591165
CD4+ T cells classically recognize antigens that are endocytosed and processed in lysosomes for presentation on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. Here, endogenous Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) was found to gain access to this pathway by autophagy. On inhibition of lysosomal acidification, EBNA1, the dominant CD4+ T cell antigen of latent Epstein-Barr virus infection, slowly accumulated in cytosolic autophagosomes. In addition, inhibition of autophagy decreased recognition by EBNA1-specific CD4+ T cell clones. Thus, lysosomal processing after autophagy may contribute to MHC class II-restricted surveillance of long-lived endogenous antigens including nuclear proteins relevant to disease.
Nature Methods. Apr, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15782219
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV or HHV4), a member of the human herpesvirus (HHV) family, has recently been shown to encode microRNAs (miRNAs). In contrast to most eukaryotic miRNAs, these viral miRNAs do not have close homologs in other viral genomes or in the genome of the human host. To identify other miRNA genes in pathogenic viruses, we combined a new miRNA gene prediction method with small-RNA cloning from several virus-infected cell types. We cloned ten miRNAs in the Kaposi sarcoma-associated virus (KSHV or HHV8), nine miRNAs in the mouse gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) and nine miRNAs in the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV or HHV5). These miRNA genes are expressed individually or in clusters from either polymerase (pol) II or pol III promoters, and share no substantial sequence homology with one another or with the known human miRNAs. Generally, we predicted miRNAs in several large DNA viruses, and we could neither predict nor experimentally identify miRNAs in the genomes of small RNA viruses or retroviruses.
Nature. Mar, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15800629
RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved sequence-specific gene regulatory mechanism mediated by the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which is composed of a single-stranded guide RNA and an Argonaute protein. The PIWI domain, a highly conserved motif within Argonaute, has been shown to adopt an RNase H fold critical for the endonuclease cleavage activity of RISC. Here we report the crystal structure of Archaeoglobus fulgidus Piwi protein bound to double-stranded RNA, thereby identifying the binding pocket for guide-strand 5'-end recognition and providing insight into guide-strand-mediated messenger RNA target recognition. The phosphorylated 5' end of the guide RNA is anchored within a highly conserved basic pocket, supplemented by the carboxy-terminal carboxylate and a bound divalent cation. The first nucleotide from the 5' end of the guide RNA is unpaired and stacks over a conserved tyrosine residue, whereas successive nucleotides form a four-base-pair RNA duplex. Mutation of the corresponding amino acids that contact the 5' phosphate in human Ago2 resulted in attenuated mRNA cleavage activity. Our structure of the Piwi-RNA complex, and that determined elsewhere, provide direct support for the 5' region of the guide RNA serving as a nucleation site for pairing with target mRNA and for a fixed distance separating the RISC-mediated mRNA cleavage site from the anchored 5' end of the guide RNA.
Nucleic Acids Research. 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15891114
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are approximately 22 nt-long non-coding RNA molecules, believed to play important roles in gene regulation. We present a comprehensive analysis of the conservation and clustering patterns of known miRNAs in human. We show that human miRNA gene clustering is significantly higher than expected at random. A total of 37% of the known human miRNA genes analyzed in this study appear in clusters of two or more with pairwise chromosomal distances of at most 3000 nt. Comparison of the miRNA sequences with their homologs in four other organisms reveals a typical conservation pattern, persistent throughout the clusters. Furthermore, we show enrichment in the typical conservation patterns and other miRNA-like properties in the vicinity of known miRNA genes, compared with random genomic regions. This may imply that additional, yet unknown, miRNAs reside in these regions, consistent with the current recognition that there are overlooked miRNAs. Indeed, by comparing our predictions with cloning results and with identified miRNA genes in other mammals, we corroborate the predictions of 18 additional human miRNA genes in the vicinity of the previously known ones. Our study raises the proportion of clustered human miRNAs that are <3000 nt apart to 42%. This suggests that the clustering of miRNA genes is higher than currently acknowledged, alluding to its evolutionary and functional implications.
Genes & Development. Jun, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15937218
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a family of small, regulatory, noncoding RNAs that are found in plants and animals. Here, we describe the miRNA profile of the zebrafish Danio rerio resolved in a developmental and cell-type-specific manner. The profiles were obtained from larger-scale sequencing of small RNA libraries prepared from developmentally staged zebrafish, and two adult fibroblast cell lines derived from the caudal fin (ZFL) and the liver epithelium (SJD). We identified a total of 154 distinct miRNAs expressed from 343 miRNA genes. Other experimental/computational sources support an additional 10 miRNAs encoded by 19 genes. The miRNAs can be classified into 87 distinct families. Cross-species comparison indicates that 81 families are conserved in mammals, 17 of which also have at least one member conserved in an invertebrate. Our analysis reveals that the zygotes are essentially devoid of miRNAs and that their expression begins during the blastula period with a zebrafish-specific family of miRNAs encoded by closely spaced multicopy genes. Computational predictions of zebrafish miRNA targets are provided that take into account the depth of evolutionary conservation. Besides miRNAs, we identified a prominent class of repeat-associated small interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs).
Antisense-mediated Depletion Reveals Essential and Specific Functions of MicroRNAs in Drosophila Development
Cell. Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15989958
MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that control gene function posttranscriptionally through mRNA degradation or translational inhibition. Much has been learned about the processing and mechanism of action of microRNAs, but little is known about their biological function. Here, we demonstrate that injection of 2'O-methyl antisense oligoribonucleotides into early Drosophila embryos leads to specific and efficient depletion of microRNAs and thus permits systematic loss-of-function analysis in vivo. Twenty-five of the forty-six embryonically expressed microRNAs show readily discernible defects; pleiotropy is moderate and family members display similar yet distinct phenotypes. Processes under microRNA regulation include cellularization and patterning in the blastoderm, morphogenesis, and cell survival. The largest microRNA family in Drosophila (miR-2/6/11/13/308) is required for suppressing embryonic apoptosis; this is achieved by differential posttranscriptional repression of the proapoptotic factors hid, grim, reaper, and sickle. Our findings demonstrate that microRNAs act as specific and essential regulators in a wide range of developmental processes.
Crystal Structure of A. Aeolicus Argonaute, a Site-specific DNA-guided Endoribonuclease, Provides Insights into RISC-mediated MRNA Cleavage
Molecular Cell. Aug, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16061186
Argonaute (Ago) proteins constitute a key component of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). We report the crystal structure of Aquifex aeolicus Ago (Aa-Ago) together with binding and cleavage studies, which establish this eubacterial Ago as a bona fide guide DNA strand-mediated site-specific RNA endonuclease. We have generated a stereochemically robust model of the complex, where the guide DNA-mRNA duplex is positioned within a basic channel spanning the bilobal interface, such that the 5' phosphate of the guide strand can be anchored in a basic pocket, and the mRNA can be positioned for site-specific cleavage by RNase H-type divalent cation-coordinated catalytic Asp residues of the PIWI domain. Domain swap experiments involving chimeras of human Ago (hAgo1) and cleavage-competent hAgo2 reinforce the role of the PIWI domain in "slicer" activity. We propose a four-step Ago-mediated catalytic cleavage cycle model, which provides distinct perspectives into the mechanism of guide strand-mediated mRNA cleavage within the RISC.
FEBS Letters. Oct, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16153643
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a potent trigger of sequence-specific gene silencing mechanisms known as RNA silencing or RNA interference. The recognition of the target sequences is mediated by ribonucleoprotein complexes that contain 21- to 28-nucleotide (nt) guide RNAs derived from processing of the trigger dsRNA. Here, we review the experimental and bioinformatic approaches that were used to identify and characterize these small RNAs isolated from cells and tissues. The identification and characterization of small RNAs and their expression patterns is important for elucidating gene regulatory networks.
Nature. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16258535
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of non-coding RNAs that are believed to be important in many biological processes through regulation of gene expression. The precise molecular function of miRNAs in mammals is largely unknown and a better understanding will require loss-of-function studies in vivo. Here we show that a novel class of chemically engineered oligonucleotides, termed 'antagomirs', are efficient and specific silencers of endogenous miRNAs in mice. Intravenous administration of antagomirs against miR-16, miR-122, miR-192 and miR-194 resulted in a marked reduction of corresponding miRNA levels in liver, lung, kidney, heart, intestine, fat, skin, bone marrow, muscle, ovaries and adrenals. The silencing of endogenous miRNAs by this novel method is specific, efficient and long-lasting. The biological significance of silencing miRNAs with the use of antagomirs was studied for miR-122, an abundant liver-specific miRNA. Gene expression and bioinformatic analysis of messenger RNA from antagomir-treated animals revealed that the 3' untranslated regions of upregulated genes are strongly enriched in miR-122 recognition motifs, whereas downregulated genes are depleted in these motifs. Analysis of the functional annotation of downregulated genes specifically predicted that cholesterol biosynthesis genes would be affected by miR-122, and plasma cholesterol measurements showed reduced levels in antagomir-122-treated mice. Our findings show that antagomirs are powerful tools to silence specific miRNAs in vivo and may represent a therapeutic strategy for silencing miRNAs in disease.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16274478
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous 21 to 23-nucleotide RNA molecules that regulate protein-coding gene expression in plants and animals via the RNA interference pathway. Hundreds of them have been identified in the last five years and very recent works indicate that their total number is still larger. Therefore miRNAs gene discovery remains an important aspect of understanding this new and still widely unknown regulation mechanism. Bioinformatics approaches have proved to be very useful toward this goal by guiding the experimental investigations.
Current Biology : CB. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16289642
RNA silencing processes are guided by small RNAs known as siRNAs and microRNAs (miRNAs) . They reside in ribonucleoprotein complexes, which guide the cleavage of complementary mRNAs or affect stability and translation of partial complementary mRNAs . Argonaute (Ago) proteins are at the heart of silencing effector complexes and bind the single-stranded siRNA and miRNA . Our biochemical analysis revealed that Ago2 is present in a pre-miRNA processing complex that is able to transfer the miRNA into a target-mRNA cleaving complex. To gain insight into the function and composition of RNA silencing complexes, we purified Ago1- and Ago2-containing complexes from human cells. Several known Ago1- and/or Ago2-associated proteins including Dicer were identified, but also two novel factors, the putative RNA helicase MOV10, and the RNA recognition motif (RRM)-containing protein TNRC6B/KIAA1093. The new proteins localize, similar to Ago proteins, to mRNA-degrading cytoplasmic P bodies, and they are functionally required to mediate miRNA-guided mRNA cleavage.
RNA Biology. Jul-Sep, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 17114924
Here we demonstrate highly efficient RNA interference in ZFL, SJD and ZF4 cell lines derived from adult and embryonic zebrafish Danio rerio. Microinjection of siRNAs resulted in silencing in almost 100% of cells while transfection using cationic liposomes led to silencing in 30%. Use of siRNAs against zebrafish lamin A, lamin B2 and the motor protein Eg5, led to knockdown of the target genes with the specific phenotypes expected from prior studies in mammalian cells. In contrast injection of lamin A, GL2 and eGFP siRNAs into zebrafish embryos resulted in morphological defects, abnormal development and early death of most embryos. The results indicate unspecific responses to siRNAs in the embryo but a fully developed and active RNAi machinery in cell lines.
Current Protocols in Molecular Biology / Edited by Frederick M. Ausubel ... [et Al.]. Nov, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 18265364
Small RNAs that are derived from dsRNA precursors act as guide RNAs during sequence-specific epigenetic regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. These small regulatory RNAs are between 20 and 30 nucleotides in length, and fall into one or more of the following categories: small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and heterochromatic siRNAs (hsiRNAs). Procedures to record the profile of small RNAs expressed in cultured cells or tissues are described. The small RNAs are directionally cloned after isolation from total RNA. The methods rely on T4 RNA ligase-based joining of adapter oligonucleotides to the 3' and 5' termini of the pool of small RNAs. The ligation products are reverse transcribed and PCR-amplified. It is recommended to directionally concatamerize the relatively short PCR products before cloning in order to increase the number of RNA sequences obtained per clone.
Gene Silencing with SiRNA Duplexes Composed of Target-mRNA-complementary and Partially Palindromic or Partially Complementary Single-stranded SiRNAs
RNA Biology. Apr, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17114944
Synthetic small interfering RNA (siRNA) duplexes are widely used to transiently and sequence-specifically disrupt gene expression in mammalian cultured cells. The efficiency and specificity of mRNA cleavage is partly affected by the presence of the nontargeting "passenger" or "sense" siRNA strand, which is required for presentation of the target-complementary or guide siRNA strand to the double-strand-specific RNA silencing protein machinery. We show that siRNA duplexes can be designed that are solely composed of two fully target-complementary guide strands that are sufficiently complementary to each other to form stable duplexes with characteristic 3' overhanging ends. The general feasibility of this approach is documented by transient knockdown of lamin A/C and emerin in HeLa cells. The silencing efficiencies of guide-only siRNA duplexes are comparable to prototypical fully paired passenger/guide duplex siRNAs, even though guide-only siRNA duplexes may contain a significant number of nonWatson-Crick and G/U wobble base pairs. Such siRNA duplexes may offer advantages regarding production costs and specificity of gene silencing.
Cucumber Mosaic Virus-encoded 2b Suppressor Inhibits Arabidopsis Argonaute1 Cleavage Activity to Counter Plant Defense
Genes & Development. Dec, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17158744
RNA silencing refers to small regulatory RNA-mediated processes that repress endogenous gene expression and defend hosts from offending viruses. As an anti-host defense mechanism, viruses encode suppressors that can block RNA silencing pathways. Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-encoded 2b protein was among the first suppressors identified that could inhibit post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), but with little or no effect on miRNA functions. The mechanisms underlying 2b suppression of RNA silencing are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the CMV 2b protein also interferes with miRNA pathways, eliciting developmental anomalies partially phenocopying ago1 mutant alleles. In contrast to most characterized suppressors, 2b directly interacts with Argonaute1 (AGO1) in vitro and in vivo, and this interaction occurs primarily on one surface of the PAZ-containing module and part of the PIWI-box of AGO1. Consistent with this interaction, 2b specifically inhibits AGO1 cleavage activity in RISC reconstitution assays. In addition, AGO1 recruits virus-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in vivo, suggesting that AGO1 is a major factor in defense against CMV infection. We conclude that 2b blocks AGO1 cleavage activity to inhibit miRNA pathways, attenuate RNA silencing, and counter host defense. These findings provide insight on the molecular arms race between host antiviral RNA silencing and virus counterdefense.
Nature. Jul, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16751777
Small RNAs bound to Argonaute proteins recognize partially or fully complementary nucleic acid targets in diverse gene-silencing processes. A subgroup of the Argonaute proteins--known as the 'Piwi family'--is required for germ- and stem-cell development in invertebrates, and two Piwi members--MILI and MIWI--are essential for spermatogenesis in mouse. Here we describe a new class of small RNAs that bind to MILI in mouse male germ cells, where they accumulate at the onset of meiosis. The sequences of the over 1,000 identified unique molecules share a strong preference for a 5' uridine, but otherwise cannot be readily classified into sequence families. Genomic mapping of these small RNAs reveals a limited number of clusters, suggesting that these RNAs are processed from long primary transcripts. The small RNAs are 26-31 nucleotides (nt) in length--clearly distinct from the 21-23 nt of microRNAs (miRNAs) or short interfering RNAs (siRNAs)--and we refer to them as 'Piwi-interacting RNAs' or piRNAs. Orthologous human chromosomal regions also give rise to small RNAs with the characteristics of piRNAs, but the cloned sequences are distinct. The identification of this new class of small RNAs provides an important starting point to determine the molecular function of Piwi proteins in mammalian spermatogenesis.
Nature Methods. Sep, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16929310
Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been widely exploited for sequence-specific gene knockdown, predominantly to investigate gene function in cultured vertebrate cells, and also hold promise as therapeutic agents. Because not all siRNAs that are cognate to a given target mRNA are equally effective, computational tools have been developed based on experimental data to increase the likelihood of selecting effective siRNAs. Furthermore, because target-complementary siRNAs can also target other mRNAs containing sequence segments that are partially complementary to the siRNA, most computational tools include ways to reduce potential off-target effects in the siRNA selection process. Though these methods facilitate selection of functional siRNAs, they do not yet alleviate the need for experimental validation. This perspective provides a practical guide based on current wisdom for selecting siRNAs.
A Potential Protein-RNA Recognition Event Along the RISC-loading Pathway from the Structure of A. Aeolicus Argonaute with Externally Bound SiRNA
Structure (London, England : 1993). Oct, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17027504
Argonaute proteins are key components of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). They provide both architectural and catalytic functionalities associated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) guide strand recognition and subsequent guide strand-mediated cleavage of complementary mRNAs. We report on the 3.0 A crystal structures of 22-mer and 26-mer siRNAs bound to Aquifex aeolicus Argonaute (Aa-Ago), where one 2 nt 3' overhang of the siRNA inserts into a cavity positioned on the outer surface of the PAZ-containing lobe of the bilobal Aa-Ago architecture. The first overhang nucleotide stacks over a tyrosine ring, while the second overhang nucleotide, together with the intervening sugar-phosphate backbone, inserts into a preformed surface cavity. Photochemical crosslinking studies on Aa-Ago with 5-iodoU-labeled single-stranded siRNA and siRNA duplex provide support for this externally bound siRNA-Aa-Ago complex. The structure and biochemical data together provide insights into a protein-RNA recognition event potentially associated with the RISC-loading pathway.
Blood. Jun, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17327404
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of small noncoding RNAs that modulate the expression of genes at the posttranscriptional level. These small molecules have been shown to be involved in cancer, apoptosis, and cell metabolism. In the present study we provide an informative profile of the expression of miRNAs in primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells using 2 independent and quantitative methods: miRNA cloning and quantitative real-time-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of mature miRNAs. Both approaches show that miR-21 and miR-155 are dramatically overexpressed in patients with CLL, although the corresponding genomic loci are not amplified. miR-150 and miR-92 are also significantly deregulated in patients with CLL. In addition, we detected a marked miR-15a and miR-16 decrease in about 11% of cases. Finally, we identified a set of miRNAs whose expression correlates with biologic parameters of prognostic relevance, particularly with the mutational status of the IgV(H) genes. In summary, the results of this study offer for the first time a comprehensive and quantitative profile of miRNA expression in CLL and their healthy counterpart, suggesting that miRNAs could play a primary role in the disease itself.
Nucleic Acids Research. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17439965
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of 20-23-nt long regulators of gene expression. The study of miRNA function in mice and potential therapeutic approaches largely depend on modified oligonucleotides. We recently demonstrated silencing miRNA function in mice using chemically modified and cholesterol-conjugated RNAs termed 'antagomirs'. Here, we further characterize the properties and function of antagomirs in mice. We demonstrate that antagomirs harbor optimized phosphorothioate modifications, require >19-nt length for highest efficiency and can discriminate between single nucleotide mismatches of the targeted miRNA. Degradation of different chemically protected miRNA/antagomir duplexes in mouse livers and localization of antagomirs in a cytosolic compartment that is distinct from processing (P)-bodies indicates a degradation mechanism independent of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. Finally, we show that antagomirs, although incapable of silencing miRNAs in the central nervous system (CNS) when injected systemically, efficiently target miRNAs when injected locally into the mouse cortex. Our data further validate the effectiveness of antagomirs in vivo and should facilitate future studies to silence miRNAs for functional analysis and in clinically relevant settings.
Cell. Jun, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17604727
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding regulatory RNAs that reduce stability and/or translation of fully or partially sequence-complementary target mRNAs. In order to identify miRNAs and to assess their expression patterns, we sequenced over 250 small RNA libraries from 26 different organ systems and cell types of human and rodents that were enriched in neuronal as well as normal and malignant hematopoietic cells and tissues. We present expression profiles derived from clone count data and provide computational tools for their analysis. Unexpectedly, a relatively small set of miRNAs, many of which are ubiquitously expressed, account for most of the differences in miRNA profiles between cell lineages and tissues. This broad survey also provides detailed and accurate information about mature sequences, precursors, genome locations, maturation processes, inferred transcriptional units, and conservation patterns. We also propose a subclassification scheme for miRNAs for assisting future experimental and computational functional analyses.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17616579
Recently identified hepatitis C virus (HCV) isolates that are infectious in cell culture provide a genetic system to evaluate the significance of virus-host interactions for HCV replication. We have completed a systematic RNAi screen wherein siRNAs were designed that target 62 host genes encoding proteins that physically interact with HCV RNA or proteins or belong to cellular pathways thought to modulate HCV infection. This includes 10 host proteins that we identify in this study to bind HCV NS5A. siRNAs that target 26 of these host genes alter infectious HCV production >3-fold. Included in this set of 26 were siRNAs that target Dicer, a principal component of the RNAi silencing pathway. Contrary to the hypothesis that RNAi is an antiviral pathway in mammals, as has been reported for subgenomic HCV replicons, siRNAs that target Dicer inhibited HCV replication. Furthermore, siRNAs that target several other components of the RNAi pathway also inhibit HCV replication. MicroRNA profiling of human liver, human hepatoma Huh-7.5 cells, and Huh-7.5 cells that harbor replicating HCV demonstrated that miR-122 is the predominant microRNA in each environment. miR-122 has been previously implicated in positively regulating the replication of HCV genotype 1 replicons. We find that 2'-O-methyl antisense oligonucleotide depletion of miR-122 also inhibits HCV genotype 2a replication and infectious virus production. Our data define 26 host genes that modulate HCV infection and indicate that the requirement for functional RNAi for HCV replication is dominant over any antiviral activity this pathway may exert against HCV.
Reactions of Phosphate and Phosphorothiolate Diesters with Nucleophiles: Comparison of Transition State Structures
Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. Aug, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17637971
A series of methyl aryl phosphorothiolate esters (SP) were synthesized and their reactions with pyridine derivatives were compared to those for methyl aryl phosphate esters (OP). Results show that SP esters react with pyridine nucleophiles via a concerted S(N)2(P) mechanism. Brønsted analysis suggests that reactions of both SP and OP esters proceed via transition states with dissociative character. The overall similarity of the transition state structures supports the use of phosphorothiolates as substrate analogues to probe mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed phosphoryl transfer reactions.
Repeat-associated SiRNAs Cause Chromatin Silencing of Retrotransposons in the Drosophila Melanogaster Germline
Nucleic Acids Research. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17702759
Silencing of genomic repeats, including transposable elements, in Drosophila melanogaster is mediated by repeat-associated short interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs) interacting with proteins of the Piwi subfamily. rasiRNA-based silencing is thought to be mechanistically distinct from both the RNA interference and microRNA pathways. We show that the amount of rasiRNAs of a wide range of retroelements is drastically reduced in ovaries and testes of flies carrying a mutation in the spn-E gene. To address the mechanism of rasiRNA-dependent silencing of retrotransposons, we monitored their chromatin state in ovaries and somatic tissues. This revealed that the spn-E mutation causes chromatin opening of retroelements in ovaries, resulting in an increase in histone H3 K4 dimethylation and a decrease in histone H3 K9 di/trimethylation. The strongest chromatin changes have been detected for telomeric HeT-A elements that correlates with the most dramatic increase of their transcript level, compared to other mobile elements. The spn-E mutation also causes depletion of HP1 content in the chromatin of transposable elements, especially along HeT-A arrays. We also show that mutations in the genes controlling the rasiRNA pathway cause no derepression of the same retrotransposons in somatic tissues. Our results provide evidence that germinal Piwi-associated short RNAs induce chromatin modifications of their targets.
Strand-specific 5'-O-methylation of SiRNA Duplexes Controls Guide Strand Selection and Targeting Specificity
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Feb, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18094121
Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) guide catalytic sequence-specific cleavage of fully or nearly fully complementary target mRNAs or control translation and/or stability of many mRNAs that share 6-8 nucleotides (nt) of complementarity to the siRNA and miRNA 5' end. siRNA- and miRNA-containing ribonucleoprotein silencing complexes are assembled from double-stranded 21- to 23-nt RNase III processing intermediates that carry 5' phosphates and 2-nt overhangs with free 3' hydroxyl groups. Despite the structural symmetry of a duplex siRNA, the nucleotide sequence asymmetry can generate a bias for preferred loading of one of the two duplex-forming strands into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Here we show that the 5'-phosphorylation status of the siRNA strands also acts as an important determinant for strand selection. 5'-O-methylated siRNA duplexes refractory to 5' phosphorylation were examined for their biases in siRNA strand selection. Asymmetric, single methylation of siRNA duplexes reduced the occupancy of the silencing complex by the methylated strand with concomitant elimination of its off-targeting signature and enhanced off-targeting signature of the phosphorylated strand. Methylation of both siRNA strands reduced but did not completely abolish RNA silencing, without affecting strand selection relative to that of the unmodified siRNA. We conclude that asymmetric 5' modification of siRNA duplexes can be useful for controlling targeting specificity.
Methods (San Diego, Calif.). Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18158127
Distinct classes of small RNAs, 20-32 nucleotides long, play important regulatory roles for diverse cellular processes. It is therefore important to identify and quantify small RNAs as a function of development, tissue and cell type, in normal and disease states. Here we describe methods to prepare cDNA libraries from pools of small RNAs isolated from organisms, tissues or cells. These methods enable the identification of new members or new classes of small RNAs, and they are also suitable to obtain miRNA expression profiles based on clone count frequencies. This protocol includes the use of new deep sequencing methods (454/Roche and Solexa) to facilitate the characterization of diverse sequence pools of small RNAs.
Development (Cambridge, England). Apr, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18287206
Several distinct classes of small RNAs, some newly identified, have been discovered to play important regulatory roles in diverse cellular processes. These classes include siRNAs, miRNAs, rasiRNAs and piRNAs. Each class binds to distinct members of the Argonaute/Piwi protein family to form ribonucleoprotein complexes that recognize partially, or nearly perfect, complementary nucleic acid targets, and that mediate a variety of regulatory processes, including transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Based on the known relationship of Argonaute/Piwi proteins with distinct classes of small RNAs, we can now predict how many new classes of small RNAs or silencing processes remain to be discovered.
Immunity. May, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18450484
B lymphocytes perform somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of the immunoglobulin locus to generate an antibody repertoire diverse in both affinity and function. These somatic diversification processes are catalyzed by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a potent DNA mutator whose expression and function are highly regulated. Here we show that AID was regulated posttranscriptionally by a lymphocyte-specific microRNA, miR-155. We found that miR-155 was upregulated in murine B lymphocytes undergoing CSR and that it targeted a conserved site in the 3'-untranslated region of the mRNA encoding AID. Disruption of this target site in vivo resulted in quantitative and temporal deregulation of AID expression, along with functional consequences for CSR and affinity maturation. Thus, miR-155, which has recently been shown to play important roles in regulating the germinal-center reaction, does so in part by directly downmodulating AID expression.
MicroRNA-mediated Down-regulation of PRDM1/Blimp-1 in Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg Cells: a Potential Pathogenetic Lesion in Hodgkin Lymphomas
The American Journal of Pathology. Jul, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18583325
PRDM1/Blimp-1, a master regulator in terminal B-cell differentiation, has been recently identified as a tumor suppressor target for mutational inactivation in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas of the activated B-cell type. Our studies here demonstrate that PRDM1/blimp-1 is also a target for microRNA (miRNA)-mediated down-regulation by miR-9 and let-7a in Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). MiRNA expression profiling by direct miRNA cloning demonstrated that both of these miRNAs are among the most highly expressed in cultured HRS cells. These miRNAs functionally targeted specific binding sites in the 3' untranslated region of PRDM1/blimp-1 mRNA and repressed luciferase reporter activities through repression of translation. In addition, high levels of miR-9 and let-7a in HL cell lines correlated with low levels of PRDM1/Blimp-1. Similar to their in vitro counterparts, the majority of HRS cells in primary HL cases showed weak or no PRDM1/Blimp-1 expression. Over-expression of miR-9 or let-7a reduced PRDM1/Blimp-1 levels in U266 cells by 30% to 50%, whereas simultaneous inhibition of their activities in L428 cells resulted in an approximately 2.6-fold induction in PRDM1/Blimp-1. MiRNA-mediated down-regulation of PRDM1/Blimp-1 may contribute to the phenotype maintenance and pathogenesis of HRS cells by interfering with normal B-cell terminal differentiation, thus representing a novel molecular lesion, as well as a potential therapeutic target in HL.
Elevated Expression of the MiR-17-92 Polycistron and MiR-21 in Hepadnavirus-associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma Contributes to the Malignant Phenotype
The American Journal of Pathology. Sep, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18688024
Alterations in microRNA (miRNA) expression in both human and animal models have been linked to many forms of cancer. Such miRNAs, which act directly as repressors of gene expression, have been found to frequently reside in fragile sites and genomic regions associated with cancer. This study describes a miRNA signature for human primary hepatitis B virus-positive human hepatocellular carcinoma. Moreover, two known oncomiRs--miRNAs with known roles in cancer--the miR-17-92 polycistron and miR-21, exhibited increased expression in 100% of primary human and woodchuck hepatocellular carcinomas surveyed. To determine the importance of these miRNAs in tumorigenesis, an in vitro antisense oligonucleotide knockdown model was evaluated for its ability to reverse the malignant phenotype. Both in human and woodchuck HCC cell lines, separate treatments with antisense oligonucleotides specific for either the miR-17-92 polycistron (all six members) or miR-21 caused a 50% reduction in both hepatocyte proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. The combination of assays presented here supports a role for these miRNAs in the maintenance of the malignant transformation of hepatocytes.
Nature. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18754009
The slicer activity of the RNA-induced silencing complex is associated with argonaute, the RNase H-like PIWI domain of which catalyses guide-strand-mediated sequence-specific cleavage of target messenger RNA. Here we report on the crystal structure of Thermus thermophilus argonaute bound to a 5'-phosphorylated 21-base DNA guide strand, thereby identifying the nucleic-acid-binding channel positioned between the PAZ- and PIWI-containing lobes, as well as the pivot-like conformational changes associated with complex formation. The bound guide strand is anchored at both of its ends, with the solvent-exposed Watson-Crick edges of stacked bases 2 to 6 positioned for nucleation with the mRNA target, whereas two critically positioned arginines lock bases 10 and 11 at the cleavage site into an unanticipated orthogonal alignment. Biochemical studies indicate that key amino acid residues at the active site and those lining the 5'-phosphate-binding pocket made up of the Mid domain are critical for cleavage activity, whereas alterations of residues lining the 2-nucleotide 3'-end-binding pocket made up of the PAZ domain show little effect.
Molecular Characterization of Human Argonaute-containing Ribonucleoprotein Complexes and Their Bound Target MRNAs
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Dec, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18978028
microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the expression of mRNAs in animals and plants through miRNA-containing ribonucleoprotein particles (RNPs). At the core of these miRNA silencing effector complexes are the Argonaute (AGO) proteins that bind miRNAs and mediate target mRNA recognition. We generated HEK293 cell lines stably expressing epitope-tagged human AGO proteins and other RNA silencing-related proteins and used these cells to purify miRNA-containing RNPs. Mass spectrometric analyses of the proteins associated with different AGO proteins revealed a common set of helicases and mRNA-binding proteins, among them the three trinucleotide repeat containing proteins 6 (TNRC6A,-B,-C). mRNA microarray analyses of these miRNA-associated RNPs revealed that AGO and TNRC6 proteins bind highly similar sets of transcripts enriched in binding sites for highly expressed endogenous miRNAs, indicating that the TNRC6 proteins are a component of the mRNA-targeting miRNA silencing complex. Together with the very similar proteomic composition of each AGO complex, this result suggests substantial functional redundancy within families of human AGO and TNRC6 proteins. Our results further demonstrate that we have developed an effective biochemical approach to identify physiologically relevant human miRNA targets.
Nature. Dec, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19043405
MicroRNAs comprise a broad class of small non-coding RNAs that control expression of complementary target messenger RNAs. Dysregulation of microRNAs by several mechanisms has been described in various disease states including cardiac disease. Whereas previous studies of cardiac disease have focused on microRNAs that are primarily expressed in cardiomyocytes, the role of microRNAs expressed in other cell types of the heart is unclear. Here we show that microRNA-21 (miR-21, also known as Mirn21) regulates the ERK-MAP kinase signalling pathway in cardiac fibroblasts, which has impacts on global cardiac structure and function. miR-21 levels are increased selectively in fibroblasts of the failing heart, augmenting ERK-MAP kinase activity through inhibition of sprouty homologue 1 (Spry1). This mechanism regulates fibroblast survival and growth factor secretion, apparently controlling the extent of interstitial fibrosis and cardiac hypertrophy. In vivo silencing of miR-21 by a specific antagomir in a mouse pressure-overload-induced disease model reduces cardiac ERK-MAP kinase activity, inhibits interstitial fibrosis and attenuates cardiac dysfunction. These findings reveal that microRNAs can contribute to myocardial disease by an effect in cardiac fibroblasts. Our results validate miR-21 as a disease target in heart failure and establish the therapeutic efficacy of microRNA therapeutic intervention in a cardiovascular disease setting.
Nature. Dec, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19092929
Here we report on a 3.0 A crystal structure of a ternary complex of wild-type Thermus thermophilus argonaute bound to a 5'-phosphorylated 21-nucleotide guide DNA and a 20-nucleotide target RNA containing cleavage-preventing mismatches at the 10-11 step. The seed segment (positions 2 to 8) adopts an A-helical-like Watson-Crick paired duplex, with both ends of the guide strand anchored in the complex. An arginine, inserted between guide-strand bases 10 and 11 in the binary complex, locking it in an inactive conformation, is released on ternary complex formation. The nucleic-acid-binding channel between the PAZ- and PIWI-containing lobes of argonaute widens on formation of a more open ternary complex. The relationship of structure to function was established by determining cleavage activity of ternary complexes containing position-dependent base mismatch, bulge and 2'-O-methyl modifications. Consistent with the geometry of the ternary complex, bulges residing in the seed segments of the target, but not the guide strand, were better accommodated and their complexes were catalytically active.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jan, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19114655
MicroRNAs play important roles in animal development. Numerous conditional knockout (cKO) studies of Dicer have been performed to interrogate the functions of microRNA during mammalian development. However, because Dicer was recently implicated in the biogenesis of endogenous siRNAs in mammals, it raises the question whether the Dicer cKO defects can be attributable to the loss of microRNAs. Previously, we and others conditionally targeted Dicer and identified its critical roles in embryonic skin morphogenesis. Here, we focus explicitly on microRNAs by taking a parallel strategy with Dgcr8, encoding an essential component of the microprocessor complex that is exclusively required for microRNA biogenesis. With this comparative analysis, we show definitively that the Dicer- and Dgcr8-null skin defects are both striking and indistinguishable. By deep sequencing analysis of microRNA depletion in both Dicer- and Dgcr8-null skin, we demonstrate that most abundantly expressed skin microRNAs are dependent on both Dicer and DGCR8. Our results underscore a specific importance of microRNAs in controlling mammalian skin development.
Nature Methods. Feb, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19137005
MicroRNAs are small regulatory RNAs with many biological functions and disease associations. We showed that in situ hybridization (ISH) using conventional formaldehyde fixation results in substantial microRNA loss from mouse tissue sections, which can be prevented by fixation with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide that irreversibly immobilizes the microRNA at its 5' phosphate. We determined optimal hybridization parameters for 130 locked nucleic acid probes by recording nucleic acid melting temperature during ISH.
The PTEN-regulating MicroRNA MiR-26a is Amplified in High-grade Glioma and Facilitates Gliomagenesis in Vivo
Genes & Development. Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19487573
Activated oncogenic signaling is central to the development of nearly all forms of cancer, including the most common class of primary brain tumor, glioma. Research over the last two decades has revealed the particular importance of the Akt pathway, and its molecular antagonist PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog), in the process of gliomagenesis. Recent studies have also demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs) may be responsible for the modulation of cancer-implicated genes in tumors. Here we report the identification miR-26a as a direct regulator of PTEN expression. We also show that miR-26a is frequently amplified at the DNA level in human glioma, most often in association with monoallelic PTEN loss. Finally, we demonstrate that miR-26a-mediated PTEN repression in a murine glioma model both enhances de novo tumor formation and precludes loss of heterozygosity and the PTEN locus. Our results document a new epigenetic mechanism for PTEN regulation in glioma and further highlight dysregulation of Akt signaling as crucial to the development of these tumors.
Recognition of 5' Triphosphate by RIG-I Helicase Requires Short Blunt Double-stranded RNA As Contained in Panhandle of Negative-strand Virus
Immunity. Jul, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19576794
Antiviral immunity is triggered by immunorecognition of viral nucleic acids. The cytosolic helicase RIG-I is a key sensor of viral infections and is activated by RNA containing a triphosphate at the 5' end. The exact structure of RNA activating RIG-I remains controversial. Here, we established a chemical approach for 5' triphosphate oligoribonucleotide synthesis and found that synthetic single-stranded 5' triphosphate oligoribonucleotides were unable to bind and activate RIG-I. Conversely, the addition of the synthetic complementary strand resulted in optimal binding and activation of RIG-I. Short double-strand conformation with base pairing of the nucleoside carrying the 5' triphosphate was required. RIG-I activation was impaired by a 3' overhang at the 5' triphosphate end. These results define the structure of RNA for full RIG-I activation and explain how RIG-I detects negative-strand RNA viruses that lack long double-stranded RNA but do contain blunt short double-stranded 5' triphosphate RNA in the panhandle region of their single-stranded genome.
The Muscle-specific MicroRNA MiR-206 Blocks Human Rhabdomyosarcoma Growth in Xenotransplanted Mice by Promoting Myogenic Differentiation
The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Aug, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19620785
Many microRNAs (miRNAs), posttranscriptional regulators of numerous cellular processes and developmental events, are downregulated in tumors. However, their role in tumorigenesis remains largely unknown. In this work, we examined the role of the muscle-specific miRNAs miR-1 and miR-206 in human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a soft tissue sarcoma thought to arise from skeletal muscle progenitors. We have shown that miR-1 was barely detectable in primary RMS of both the embryonal and alveolar subtypes and that both miR-1 and miR-206 failed to be induced in RMS cell lines upon serum deprivation. Moreover, reexpression of miR-206 in RMS cells promoted myogenic differentiation and blocked tumor growth in xenografted mice by switching the global mRNA expression profile to one that resembled mature muscle. Finally, we showed that the product of the MET proto-oncogene, the Met tyrosine-kinase receptor, which is overexpressed in RMS and has been implicated in RMS pathogenesis, was downregulated in murine satellite cells by miR-206 at the onset of normal myogenesis. Thus, failure of posttranscriptional modulation may underlie Met overexpression in RMS and other types of cancer. We propose that tissue-specific miRNAs such as miR-1 and miR-206, given their ability to modulate hundreds of transcripts and to act as nontoxic differentiating agents, may override the genomic heterogeneity of solid tumors and ultimately hold greater therapeutic potential than single gene-directed drugs.
Characterization of Small RNAs in Aplysia Reveals a Role for MiR-124 in Constraining Synaptic Plasticity Through CREB
Neuron. Sep, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19778509
Memory storage and memory-related synaptic plasticity rely on precise spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression. To explore the role of small regulatory RNAs in learning-related synaptic plasticity, we carried out massive parallel sequencing to profile the small RNAs of Aplysia californica. We identified 170 distinct miRNAs, 13 of which were novel and specific to Aplysia. Nine miRNAs were brain enriched, and several of these were rapidly downregulated by transient exposure to serotonin, a modulatory neurotransmitter released during learning. Further characterization of the brain-enriched miRNAs revealed that miR-124, the most abundant and well-conserved brain-specific miRNA, was exclusively present presynaptically in a sensory-motor synapse where it constrains serotonin-induced synaptic facilitation through regulation of the transcriptional factor CREB. We therefore present direct evidence that a modulatory neurotransmitter important for learning can regulate the levels of small RNAs and present a role for miR-124 in long-term plasticity of synapses in the mature nervous system.
Nature. Oct, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19812667
The slicer activity of the RNA-induced silencing complex resides within its Argonaute (Ago) component, in which the PIWI domain provides the catalytic residues governing guide-strand mediated site-specific cleavage of target RNA. Here we report on structures of ternary complexes of Thermus thermophilus Ago catalytic mutants with 5'-phosphorylated 21-nucleotide guide DNA and complementary target RNAs of 12, 15 and 19 nucleotides in length, which define the molecular basis for Mg(2+)-facilitated site-specific cleavage of the target. We observe pivot-like domain movements within the Ago scaffold on proceeding from nucleation to propagation steps of guide-target duplex formation, with duplex zippering beyond one turn of the helix requiring the release of the 3'-end of the guide from the PAZ pocket. Cleavage assays on targets of various lengths supported this model, and sugar-phosphate-backbone-modified target strands showed the importance of structural and catalytic divalent metal ions observed in the crystal structures.
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19861428
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a species of small RNAs approximately 21-23-nucleotides long that have been shown to play an important role in many different cellular, developmental, and physiological processes. Accordingly, numerous PCR-, sequencing-, or hybridization-based methods have been established to identify and quantify miRNAs. Their short length results in a high dynamic range of melting temperatures and therefore impedes a proper selection of detection probes or optimized PCR primers. While miRNA microarrays allow for massive parallel and accurate relative measurement of all known miRNAs, they have so far been less useful as an assay for absolute quantification. Here, we present a microarray-based approach for global and absolute quantification of miRNAs. The method relies on the parallel hybridization of the sample of interest labeled with Cy5 and a universal reference of 954 synthetic miRNAs in equimolar concentrations that are labeled with Cy3 on a microarray slide containing probes for all human, mouse, rat, and viral miRNAs (miRBase 12.0). Each single miRNA is quantified with respect to the universal reference canceling biases related to sequence, labeling, or hybridization. We demonstrate the accuracy of the method by various spike-in experiments. Furthermore, we quantified miRNA copy numbers in liver samples and CD34(+)/CD133(-) hematopoietic progenitor cells.
Molecular and Cellular Biology. Feb, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19047376
Canonical primary microRNA (miRNA) transcripts and mirtrons are proposed to transit distinct nuclear pathways en route to generating mature approximately 22 nucleotide regulatory RNAs. We generated a null allele of Drosophila pasha, which encodes a double-stranded RNA-binding protein partner of the RNase III enzyme Drosha. Analysis of this mutant yielded stringent evidence that Pasha is essential for the biogenesis of canonical miRNAs but is dispensable for the processing and function of mirtron-derived regulatory RNAs. The pasha mutant also provided a unique tool to study the developmental requirements for Drosophila miRNAs. While pasha adult somatic clones are similar in many respects to those of dicer-1 clones, pasha mutant larvae revealed an unexpected requirement for the miRNA pathway in imaginal disc growth. These data suggest limitations to somatic clonal analysis of miRNA pathway components.
Cell. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20371350
RNA transcripts are subject to posttranscriptional gene regulation involving hundreds of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNA-containing ribonucleoprotein complexes (miRNPs) expressed in a cell-type dependent fashion. We developed a cell-based crosslinking approach to determine at high resolution and transcriptome-wide the binding sites of cellular RBPs and miRNPs. The crosslinked sites are revealed by thymidine to cytidine transitions in the cDNAs prepared from immunopurified RNPs of 4-thiouridine-treated cells. We determined the binding sites and regulatory consequences for several intensely studied RBPs and miRNPs, including PUM2, QKI, IGF2BP1-3, AGO/EIF2C1-4 and TNRC6A-C. Our study revealed that these factors bind thousands of sites containing defined sequence motifs and have distinct preferences for exonic versus intronic or coding versus untranslated transcript regions. The precise mapping of binding sites across the transcriptome will be critical to the interpretation of the rapidly emerging data on genetic variation between individuals and how these variations contribute to complex genetic diseases.
Differential Regulation of Mature and Precursor MicroRNA Expression by NMDA and Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Activation During LTP in the Adult Dentate Gyrus in Vivo
The European Journal of Neuroscience. Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20384810
Regulation of microRNA (miRNA) expression and function in the context of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the adult brain is little understood. Here, we examined miRNA expression during long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus of adult anesthetized rats. Microarray expression profiling identified a subpopulation of regulated mature miRNAs 2 h after the induction of LTP by high-frequency stimulation (HFS) of the medial perforant pathway. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed modest upregulation of miR-132 and miR-212, and downregulation of miR-219, while no changes occurred at 10 min post-HFS. Surprisingly, pharmacological blockade of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent LTP enhanced expression of these mature miRNAs. This HFS-evoked expression was abolished by local infusion of the group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) antagonist, (RS)-1-aminoindan-1,5-dicarboxylic acid (AIDA). AIDA had no effect on LTP induction or maintenance, but blocked activity-dependent depotentiation of LTP. Turning to the analysis of miRNA precursors, we show that HFS elicits 50-fold elevations of primary (pri) and precursor (pre) miR-132/212 that is transcription dependent and mGluR dependent, but insensitive to NMDAR blockade. Primary miR-219 expression was unchanged during LTP. In situ hybridization showed upregulation of the pri-miR-132/212 cluster restricted to dentate granule cell somata. Thus, HFS induces transcription miR-132/212 that is mGluR dependent and functionally correlated with depotentiation rather than LTP. In contrast, NMDAR activation selectively downregulates mature miR-132, -212 and -219 levels, indicating accelerated decay of these mature miRNAs. This study demonstrates differential regulation of primary and mature miRNA expression by mGluR and NMDAR signaling following LTP induction, the function of which remains to be defined.
Structural and Functional Insights into 5'-ppp RNA Pattern Recognition by the Innate Immune Receptor RIG-I
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20581823
RIG-I is a cytosolic helicase that senses 5'-ppp RNA contained in negative-strand RNA viruses and triggers innate antiviral immune responses. Calorimetric binding studies established that the RIG-I C-terminal regulatory domain (CTD) binds to blunt-end double-stranded 5'-ppp RNA a factor of 17 more tightly than to its single-stranded counterpart. Here we report on the crystal structure of RIG-I CTD bound to both blunt ends of a self-complementary 5'-ppp dsRNA 12-mer, with interactions involving 5'-pp clearly visible in the complex. The structure, supported by mutation studies, defines how a lysine-rich basic cleft within the RIG-I CTD sequesters the observable 5'-pp of the bound RNA, with a stacked phenylalanine capping the terminal base pair. Key intermolecular interactions observed in the crystalline state are retained in the complex of 5'-ppp dsRNA 24-mer and full-length RIG-I under in vivo conditions, as evaluated from the impact of binding pocket RIG-I mutations and 2'-OCH(3) RNA modifications on the interferon response.
The Journal of Pathology. Jan, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21125669
Mature microRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded RNA molecules of 20-23 nucleotide (nt) length that control gene expression in many cellular processes. These molecules typically reduce the stability of mRNAs, including those of genes that mediate processes in tumorigenesis, such as inflammation, cell cycle regulation, stress response, differentiation, apoptosis and invasion. miRNA targeting is mostly achieved through specific base-pairing interactions between the 5' end ('seed' region) of the miRNA and sites within coding and untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs; target sites in the 3' UTR lead to more effective mRNA destabilization. Since miRNAs frequently target hundreds of mRNAs, miRNA regulatory pathways are complex. To provide a critical overview of miRNA dysregulation in cancer, we first discuss the methods currently available for studying the role of miRNAs in cancer and then review miRNA genomic organization, biogenesis and mechanism of target recognition, examining how these processes are altered in tumorigenesis. Given the critical role miRNAs play in tumorigenesis processes and their disease-specific expression, they hold potential as therapeutic targets and novel biomarkers.
MicroRNAs MiR-17, MiR-20a, and MiR-106b Act in Concert to Modulate E2F Activity on Cell Cycle Arrest During Neuronal Lineage Differentiation of USSC
PloS One. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21283765
MicroRNAs are short (∼22 nt) non-coding regulatory RNAs that control gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Here the functional impact of microRNAs on cell cycle arrest during neuronal lineage differentiation of unrestricted somatic stem cells from human cord blood (USSC) was analyzed.
Combined Characterization of MicroRNA and MRNA Profiles Delineates Early Differentiation Pathways of CD133+ and CD34+ Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells
Stem Cells (Dayton, Ohio). May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21394831
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play an important role in hematopoiesis. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in the early steps of hematopoiesis, we directly compared donor-matched CD133(+) cells with the more differentiated CD34(+) CD133(-) and CD34(-) CD133(-) cells from bone marrow on the miRNA and mRNA level. Using quantitative whole genome miRNA microarray and sequencing-based profiling, we found that between 109 (CD133(+) ) and 216 (CD34(-) CD133(-) ) miRNAs were expressed. Quantification revealed that the 25 highest expressed miRNAs accounted for 73% of the total miRNA pool. miR-142-3p was the highest expressed miRNA with up to 2,000 copies per cell in CD34(+) CD133(-) cells. Eighteen miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between CD133(+) and CD34(+) CD133(-) cells. We analyzed their biological role by examining the coexpression of miRNAs and its bioinformatically predicted mRNA targets and luciferase-based reporter assays. We provide the first evidence for a direct regulation of CD133 by miR-142-3p as well as tropomyosin 1 and frizzled homolog 5 by miR-29a. Overexpression of miRNAs in CD133(+) cells demonstrated that miR-142-3p has a negative influence on the overall colony-forming ability. In conclusion, the miRNAs expressed differentially between the CD133(+) and CD34(+) CD133(-) cells are involved in inhibition of differentiation, prevention of apoptosis, and cytoskeletal remodeling. These results are highly relevant for stem cell-based therapies with CD133(+) cells and delineate for the first time how the stem cell character of CD133(+) cells is defined by the expression of specific miRNAs.
Deep Sequencing of Small RNAs Specifically Associated with Arabidopsis AGO1 and AGO4 Uncovers New AGO Functions
The Plant Journal : for Cell and Molecular Biology. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21457371
As important components of small RNA (smRNA) pathways, Argonaute (AGO) proteins mediate the interaction of incorporated smRNAs with their targets. Arabidopsis contains 10 AGO proteins with specialized or redundant functions. Among them, AGO1 mainly acts in microRNA (miRNA) and small-interfering RNA (siRNA) pathways for post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), whereas AGO4 regulates transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) via endogenous 24-nucleotide (nt) smRNAs. To fully characterize smRNAs associated with AGO1 and AGO4, we developed a two-step protocol to purify AGO/smRNA complexes from flowers, leaves, roots and seedlings with enhanced purity, and sequenced the smRNAs by Illumina technology. Besides recovering most previously annotated smRNAs, we also identified some additional miRNAs, phased smRNA clusters and small-interfering RNAs derived from the overlapping region of natural antisense transcript pairs (NAT) (nat-siRNAs). We also identified a smRNA distribution feature on miRNA precursors which may help to identify authentic miRNAs. Organ-specific sequencing provided digital expression profiles of all obtained smRNAs, especially miRNAs. The presence and conservation of collateral miRNAs on known miRNA precursors were also investigated. Intriguingly, about 30% of AGO1-associated smRNAs were 24-nt long and unrelated to the 21-nt species. Further analysis showed that DNA-dependent RNA polymerase IV (Pol IV)-dependent smRNAs were mainly 24 nt and associated with AGO4, whereas the majority of the potential Pol V-dependent ones were 21-nt smRNAs and bound to AGO1, suggesting the potential involvement of AGO1 in Pol V-related pathways.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Jun, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21552261
Trax-translin heteromers, also known as C3PO, have been proposed to activate the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) by facilitating endonucleolytic cleavage of the siRNA passenger strand. We report on the crystal structure of hexameric Drosophila C3PO formed by truncated translin and Trax, along with electron microscopic and mass spectrometric studies on octameric C3PO formed by full-length translin and Trax. Our studies establish that Trax adopts the translin fold, possesses catalytic centers essential for C3PO's endoRNase activity and interacts extensively with translin to form an octameric assembly. The catalytic pockets of Trax subunits are located within the interior chamber of the octameric scaffold. Truncated C3PO, like full-length C3PO, shows endoRNase activity that leaves 3'-hydroxyl-cleaved ends. We have measured the catalytic activity of C3PO and shown it to cleave almost stoichiometric amounts of substrate per second.
Cancer Research. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21586611
MicroRNAs (miRNA) regulate many genes critical for tumorigenesis. We profiled miRNAs from 11 normal breast tissues, 17 noninvasive, 151 invasive breast carcinomas, and 6 cell lines by in-house-developed barcoded Solexa sequencing. miRNAs were organized in genomic clusters representing promoter-controlled miRNA expression and sequence families representing seed sequence-dependent miRNA target regulation. Unsupervised clustering of samples by miRNA sequence families best reflected the clustering based on mRNA expression available for this sample set. Clustering and comparative analysis of miRNA read frequencies showed that normal breast samples were separated from most noninvasive ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinomas by increased miR-21 (the most abundant miRNA in carcinomas) and multiple decreased miRNA families (including miR-98/let-7), with most miRNA changes apparent already in the noninvasive carcinomas. In addition, patients that went on to develop metastasis showed increased expression of mir-423, and triple-negative breast carcinomas were most distinct from other tumor subtypes due to upregulation of the mir~17-92 cluster. However, absolute miRNA levels between normal breast and carcinomas did not reveal any significant differences. We also discovered two polymorphic nucleotide variations among the more abundant miRNAs miR-181a (T19G) and miR-185 (T16G), but we did not identify nucleotide variations expected for classical tumor suppressor function associated with miRNAs. The differentiation of tumor subtypes and prediction of metastasis based on miRNA levels is statistically possible but is not driven by deregulation of abundant miRNAs, implicating far fewer miRNAs in tumorigenic processes than previously suggested.
Small RNA Sequencing and Functional Characterization Reveals MicroRNA-143 Tumor Suppressor Activity in Liposarcoma
Cancer Research. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21693658
Liposarcoma remains the most common mesenchymal cancer, with a mortality rate of 60% among patients with this disease. To address the present lack of therapeutic options, we embarked upon a study of microRNA (miRNA) expression alterations associated with liposarcomagenesis with the goal of exploiting differentially expressed miRNAs and the gene products they regulate as potential therapeutic targets. MicroRNA expression was profiled in samples of normal adipose tissue, well-differentiated liposarcoma, and dedifferentiated liposarcoma by both deep sequencing of small RNA libraries and hybridization-based Agilent microarrays. The expression profiles discriminated liposarcoma from normal adipose tissue and well differentiated from dedifferentiated disease. We defined over 40 miRNAs that were dysregulated in dedifferentiated liposarcomas in both the sequencing and the microarray analysis. The upregulated miRNAs included two cancer-associated species (miR-21 and miR-26a), and the downregulated miRNAs included two species that were highly abundant in adipose tissue (miR-143 and miR-145). Restoring miR-143 expression in dedifferentiated liposarcoma cells inhibited proliferation, induced apoptosis, and decreased expression of BCL2, topoisomerase 2A, protein regulator of cytokinesis 1 (PRC1), and polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1). The downregulation of PRC1 and its docking partner PLK1 suggests that miR-143 inhibits cytokinesis in these cells. In support of this idea, treatment with a PLK1 inhibitor potently induced G(2)-M growth arrest and apoptosis in liposarcoma cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that miR-143 re-expression vectors or selective agents directed at miR-143 or its targets may have therapeutic value in dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
Integrative Regulatory Mapping Indicates That the RNA-binding Protein HuR Couples Pre-mRNA Processing and MRNA Stability
Molecular Cell. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21723170
RNA-binding proteins coordinate the fates of multiple RNAs, but the principles underlying these global interactions remain poorly understood. We elucidated regulatory mechanisms of the RNA-binding protein HuR, by integrating data from diverse high-throughput targeting technologies, specifically PAR-CLIP, RIP-chip, and whole-transcript expression profiling. The number of binding sites per transcript, degree of HuR association, and degree of HuR-dependent RNA stabilization were positively correlated. Pre-mRNA and mature mRNA containing both intronic and 3' UTR binding sites were more highly stabilized than transcripts with only 3' UTR or only intronic binding sites, suggesting that HuR couples pre-mRNA processing with mature mRNA stability. We also observed HuR-dependent splicing changes and substantial binding of HuR in polypyrimidine tracts of pre-mRNAs. Comparison of the spatial patterns surrounding HuR and miRNA binding sites provided functional evidence for HuR-dependent antagonism of proximal miRNA-mediated repression. We conclude that HuR coordinates gene expression outcomes at multiple interconnected steps of RNA processing.
RNA (New York, N.Y.). Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21775473
Sequencing of small RNA cDNA libraries is an important tool for the discovery of new RNAs and the analysis of their mutational status as well as expression changes across samples. It requires multiple enzyme-catalyzed steps, including sequential oligonucleotide adapter ligations to the 3' and 5' ends of the small RNAs, reverse transcription (RT), and PCR. We assessed biases in representation of miRNAs relative to their input concentration, using a pool of 770 synthetic miRNAs and 45 calibrator oligoribonucleotides, and tested the influence of Rnl1 and two variants of Rnl2, Rnl2(1-249) and Rnl2(1-249)K227Q, for 3'-adapter ligation. The use of the Rnl2 variants for adapter ligations yielded substantially fewer side products compared with Rnl1; however, the benefits of using Rnl2 remained largely obscured by additional biases in the 5'-adapter ligation step; RT and PCR steps did not have a significant impact on read frequencies. Intramolecular secondary structures of miRNA and/or miRNA/3'-adapter products contributed to these biases, which were highly reproducible under defined experimental conditions. We used the synthetic miRNA cocktail to derive correction factors for approximation of the absolute levels of individual miRNAs in biological samples. Finally, we evaluated the influence of 5'-terminal 5-nt barcode extensions for a set of 20 barcoded 3' adapters and observed similar biases in miRNA read distribution, thereby enabling cost-saving multiplex analysis for large-scale miRNA profiling.
Circulation. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21788589
Myocardial infarction leads to cardiac remodeling and development of heart failure. Insufficient myocardial capillary density after myocardial infarction has been identified as a critical event in this process, although the underlying mechanisms of cardiac angiogenesis are mechanistically not well understood.
Nature Cell Biology. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21804543
Pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is defined by their ability to differentiate into three germ layers and derivative cell types and is established by an interactive network of proteins including OCT4 (also known as POU5F1; ref. 4), NANOG (refs 5, 6), SOX2 (ref. 7) and their binding partners. The forkhead box O (FoxO) transcription factors are evolutionarily conserved regulators of longevity and stress response whose function is inhibited by AKT protein kinase. FoxO proteins are required for the maintenance of somatic and cancer stem cells; however, their function in ESCs is unknown. We show that FOXO1 is essential for the maintenance of human ESC pluripotency, and that an orthologue of FOXO1 (Foxo1) exerts a similar function in mouse ESCs. This function is probably mediated through direct control by FOXO1 of OCT4 and SOX2 gene expression through occupation and activation of their respective promoters. Finally, AKT is not the predominant regulator of FOXO1 in human ESCs. Together these results indicate that FOXO1 is a component of the circuitry of human ESC pluripotency. These findings have critical implications for stem cell biology, development, longevity and reprogramming, with potentially important ramifications for therapy.
Genome-wide Identification of MicroRNA Targets in Human ES Cells Reveals a Role for MiR-302 in Modulating BMP Response
Genes & Development. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22012620
MicroRNAs are important regulators in many cellular processes, including stem cell self-renewal. Recent studies demonstrated their function as pluripotency factors with the capacity for somatic cell reprogramming. However, their role in human embryonic stem (ES) cells (hESCs) remains poorly understood, partially due to the lack of genome-wide strategies to identify their targets. Here, we performed comprehensive microRNA profiling in hESCs and in purified neural and mesenchymal derivatives. Using a combination of AGO cross-linking and microRNA perturbation experiments, together with computational prediction, we identified the targets of the miR-302/367 cluster, the most abundant microRNAs in hESCs. Functional studies identified novel roles of miR-302/367 in maintaining pluripotency and regulating hESC differentiation. We show that in addition to its role in TGF-β signaling, miR-302/367 promotes bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling by targeting BMP inhibitors TOB2, DAZAP2, and SLAIN1. This study broadens our understanding of microRNA function in hESCs and is a valuable resource for future studies in this area.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22056803
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22081015
FUS, EWSR1 and TAF15, constituting the FET protein family, are abundant, highly conserved RNA-binding proteins with important roles in oncogenesis and neuronal disease, yet their RNA targets and recognition elements are unknown. Using PAR-CLIP, we defined global RNA targets for all human FET proteins and two ALS-causing human FUS mutants. FET members showed similar binding profiles, whereas FUS mutants showed a drastically altered binding pattern, consistent with changes in subcellular localization.
Cell Host & Microbe. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22100165
Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is caused by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and frequently also harbors Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The expression of KSHV- and EBV-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) in PELs suggests a role for these miRNAs in latency and lymphomagenesis. Using PAR-CLIP, a technology which allows the direct and transcriptome-wide identification of miRNA targets, we delineate the target sites for all viral and cellular miRNAs expressed in PEL cell lines. The resulting data set revealed that KSHV miRNAs directly target more than 2000 cellular mRNAs, including many involved in pathways relevant to KSHV pathogenesis. Moreover, 58% of these mRNAs are also targeted by EBV miRNAs, via distinct binding sites. In addition to a known viral analog of cellular miR-155, we show that KSHV encodes a viral miRNA that mimics cellular miR-142-3p function. In summary, this study identifies an extensive list of KSHV miRNA targets, which are likely to influence viral replication and pathogenesis.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. RNA. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22213601
All mRNA molecules are subject to some degree of post-transcriptional gene regulation (PTGR) involving sequence-dependent modulation of splicing, cleavage and polyadenylation, editing, transport, stability, and translation. The recent introduction of deep-sequencing technologies enabled the development of new methods for broadly mapping interaction sites between RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and their RNA target sites. In this article, we review crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) methods adapted for large-scale identification of target RNA-binding sites and the respective RNA recognition elements. CLIP methods have the potential to detect hundreds of thousands of binding sites in single experiments although the separation of signal from noise can be challenging. As a consequence, each CLIP method has developed different strategies to distinguish true targets from background. We focus on photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced CLIP, which relies on the intracellular incorporation of photoactivatable ribonucleoside analogs into nascent transcripts, and yields characteristic sequence changes upon crosslinking that facilitate the separation of signal from noise. The precise knowledge of the position and distribution of binding sites across mature and primary mRNA transcripts allows critical insights into cellular localization and regulatory function of the examined RBP. When coupled with other systems-wide approaches measuring transcript and protein abundance, the generation of high-resolution RBP-binding site maps across the transcriptome will broaden our understanding of PTGR and thereby lead to new strategies for therapeutic treatment of genetic diseases perturbing these processes. WIREs RNA 2011. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1103 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
PLoS Pathogens. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22291592
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus linked to a number of B cell cancers and lymphoproliferative disorders. During latent infection, EBV expresses 25 viral pre-microRNAs (miRNAs) and induces the expression of specific host miRNAs, such as miR-155 and miR-21, which potentially play a role in viral oncogenesis. To date, only a limited number of EBV miRNA targets have been identified; thus, the role of EBV miRNAs in viral pathogenesis and/or lymphomagenesis is not well defined. Here, we used photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) combined with deep sequencing and computational analysis to comprehensively examine the viral and cellular miRNA targetome in EBV strain B95-8-infected lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). We identified 7,827 miRNA-interaction sites in 3,492 cellular 3'UTRs. 531 of these sites contained seed matches to viral miRNAs. 24 PAR-CLIP-identified miRNA:3'UTR interactions were confirmed by reporter assays. Our results reveal that EBV miRNAs predominantly target cellular transcripts during latent infection, thereby manipulating the host environment. Furthermore, targets of EBV miRNAs are involved in multiple cellular processes that are directly relevant to viral infection, including innate immunity, cell survival, and cell proliferation. Finally, we present evidence that myc-regulated host miRNAs from the miR-17/92 cluster can regulate latent viral gene expression. This comprehensive survey of the miRNA targetome in EBV-infected B cells represents a key step towards defining the functions of EBV-encoded miRNAs, and potentially, identifying novel therapeutic targets for EBV-associated malignancies.