Ago2 immunoprecipitation identifies predicted microRNAs in human embryonic stem cells and neural precursors.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:MicroRNAs are required for maintenance of pluripotency as well as differentiation, but since more microRNAs have been computationally predicted in genome than have been found, there are likely to be undiscovered microRNAs expressed early in stem cell differentiation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:SOLiD ultra-deep sequencing identified >10(7) unique small RNAs from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and neural-restricted precursors that were fit to a model of microRNA biogenesis to computationally predict 818 new microRNA genes. These predicted genomic loci are associated with chromatin patterns of modified histones that are predictive of regulated gene expression. 146 of the predicted microRNAs were enriched in Ago2-containing complexes along with 609 known microRNAs, demonstrating association with a functional RISC complex. This Ago2 IP-selected subset was consistently expressed in four independent hESC lines and exhibited complex patterns of regulation over development similar to previously-known microRNAs, including pluripotency-specific expression in both hESC and iPS cells. More than 30% of the Ago2 IP-enriched predicted microRNAs are new members of existing families since they share seed sequences with known microRNAs. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Extending the classic definition of microRNAs, this large number of new microRNA genes, the majority of which are less conserved than their canonical counterparts, likely represent evolutionarily recent regulators of early differentiation. The enrichment in Ago2 containing complexes, the presence of chromatin marks indicative of regulated gene expression, and differential expression over development all support the identification of 146 new microRNAs active during early hESC differentiation.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) offer a promising therapeutic approach for osteoarthritis (OA). The unlimited source of cells capable of differentiating to chondrocytes has potential for repairing damaged cartilage or to generate disease models via gene editing. However their use is limited by the efficiency of chondrogenic differentiation. An improved understanding of the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of chondrogenesis will enable us to improve hESC chondrogenic differentiation protocols. Small RNA-seq and whole transcriptome sequencing was performed on distinct stages of hESC-directed chondrogenesis. This revealed significant changes in the expression of several microRNAs including upregulation of known cartilage associated microRNAs and those transcribed from the Hox complexes, and the downregulation of pluripotency associated microRNAs. Integration of miRomes and transcriptomes generated during hESC-directed chondrogenesis identified key functionally related clusters of co-expressed microRNAs and protein coding genes, associated with pluripotency, primitive streak, limb development and extracellular matrix. Analysis identified regulators of hESC-directed chondrogenesis such as miR-29c-3p with 10 of its established targets identified as co-regulated 'ECM organisation' genes and miR-22-3p which is highly co-expressed with ECM genes and may regulate these genes indirectly by targeting the chondrogenic regulators SP1 and HDAC4. We identified several upregulated transcription factors including HOXA9/A10/D13 involved in limb patterning and RELA, JUN and NFAT5, which have targets enriched with ECM associated genes. We have developed an unbiased approach for integrating transcriptome and miRome using protein-protein interactions, transcription factor regulation and miRNA target interactions and identified key regulatory networks prominent in hESC chondrogenesis.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) belonging to the evolutionary conserved miR-302 family play important functions in Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs). The expression of some members, such as the human miR-302 and mouse miR-290 clusters, is regulated by ESC core transcription factors. However, whether miRNAs act downstream of signaling pathways involved in human ESC pluripotency remains unknown. The maintenance of pluripotency in hESCs is under the control of the TGF? pathway. Here, we show that inhibition of the Activin/Nodal branch of this pathway affects the expression of a subset of miRNAs in hESCs. Among them, we found miR-373, a member of the miR-302 family. Proper levels of miR-373 are crucial for the maintenance of hESC pluripotency, since its overexpression leads to differentiation towards the mesendodermal lineage. Among miR-373 predicted targets, involved in TGF? signaling, we validated the Nodal inhibitor Lefty. Our work suggests a crucial role for the interplay between miRNAs and signaling pathways in ESCs.
Project description:The role of alternative splicing in self-renewal, pluripotency and tissue lineage specification of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is largely unknown. To better define these regulatory cues, we modified the H9 hESC line to allow selection of pluripotent hESCs by neomycin resistance and cardiac progenitors by puromycin resistance. Exon-level microarray expression data from undifferentiated hESCs and cardiac and neural precursors were used to identify splice isoforms with cardiac-restricted or common cardiac/neural differentiation expression patterns. Splice events for these groups corresponded to the pathways of cytoskeletal remodeling, RNA splicing, muscle specification, and cell cycle checkpoint control as well as genes with serine/threonine kinase and helicase activity. Using a new program named AltAnalyze (http://www.AltAnalyze.org), we identified novel changes in protein domain and microRNA binding site architecture that were predicted to affect protein function and expression. These included an enrichment of splice isoforms that oppose cell-cycle arrest in hESCs and that promote calcium signaling and cardiac development in cardiac precursors. By combining genome-wide predictions of alternative splicing with new functional annotations, our data suggest potential mechanisms that may influence lineage commitment and hESC maintenance at the level of specific splice isoforms and microRNA regulation.
Project description:Unlike other essential organs, the heart does not undergo tissue repair following injury. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) grow indefinitely in culture while maintaining the ability to differentiate into many tissues of the body. As such, they provide a unique opportunity to explore the mechanisms that control human tissue development, as well as treat diseases characterized by tissue loss, including heart failure. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs that are known to play critical roles in the regulation of gene expression. We profiled the expression of microRNAs during hESC differentiation into myocardial precursors and cardiomyocytes (CMs), and determined clusters of human microRNAs that are specifically regulated during this process. We determined that miR-125b overexpression results in upregulation of the early cardiac transcription factors, GATA4 and Nkx2-5, and accelerated progression of hESC-derived myocardial precursors to an embryonic CM phenotype. We used an in silico approach to identify Lin28 as a target of miR-125b, and validated this interaction using miR-125b knockdown. Anti-miR-125b inhibitor experiments also showed that miR-125b controls the expression of miRNA let-7d, likely through the negative regulatory effects of Lin28 on let-7. We then determined that miR-125b overexpression inhibits the expression of Nanog and Oct4 and promotes the onset of Brachyury expression, suggesting that miR-125b controls the early events of human CM differentiation by inhibiting hESC pluripotency and promoting mesodermal differentiation. These studies identified miR-125b as an important regulator of hESC differentiation in general, and the development of hESC-derived mesoderm and cardiac muscle in particular. Manipulation of miR-125b-mediated pathways may provide a novel approach to directing the differentiation of hESC-derived CMs for cell therapy applications.
Project description:Argonaute proteins (Ago1-4) are essential components of the microRNA-induced silencing complex and play important roles in both microRNA biogenesis and function. Although Ago2 is the only one with the slicer activity, it is not clear whether the slicer activity is a universally critical determinant for Ago2's function in mammals. Furthermore, functional specificities associated with different Argonautes remain elusive. Here we report that microRNAs are randomly sorted to individual Argonautes in mammals, independent of the slicer activity. When both Ago1 and Ago2, but not either Ago1 or Ago2 alone, are ablated in the skin, the global expression of microRNAs is significantly compromised and it causes severe defects in skin morphogenesis. Surprisingly, Ago3 is able to load microRNAs efficiently in the absence of Ago1 and Ago2, despite a significant loss of global microRNA expression. Quantitative analyses reveal that Ago2 interacts with a majority of microRNAs (60%) in the skin, compared with Ago1 (30%) and Ago3 (<10%). This distribution is highly correlated with the abundance of each Argonaute, as quantified by shotgun proteomics. The quantitative correlation between Argonautes and their associated microRNAs is conserved in human cells. Finally, we measure the absolute expression of Argonaute proteins and determine that their copy number is ~1.4 × 10(5) to 1.7 × 10(5) molecules per cell. Together, our results reveal a quantitative picture for microRNA activity in mammals.
Project description:MicroRNAs aberrantly express in many human diseases including some metabolic bone disorders. They have been found to be associated with osteoclast differentiation and function, which makes them attractive candidates for the therapy of bone. However, the potential clinical application of microRNAs in therapeutics rests heavily upon our in-depth understanding of microRNAs and their targets. To identify potential microRNA-target pairs associated with osteopetrosis, we performed a system approach including deep sequencing, iTRAQ quantitative proteomics, and bioinformatics in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) taken from patients with osteopetrosis and health donors. Notably, 123 differently expressed microRNAs, 173 differently expressed proteins, and 117 computationally predicted microRNA-target pairs with reciprocally expressed level in PBMCs were found in the two sample groups. Functional annotation identified that the microRNA-target pairs were involved in cell growth, differentiation, cellular signaling network, and the network highlighted the microRNA-target pair of has-miR-320a and ADP ribosylation factor 1 (Arf1) potentially associated with CLCN7 mutations in osteopetrosis. The pair of has-miR-320a and Arf1 was further verified by real-time PCR, western blot, and the interaction between has-miR-320a and its targeted sequence on the Arf1 mRNAs was confirmed by luciferase assay. Collectively, the present study established a new system approach for the investigation of microRNAs, and the microRNA-target pairs, particular has-miR-320a and Arf1, may have important roles in osteopetrosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND/AIMS: microRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate cognate mRNAs post-transcriptionally. Human embryonic stem cells (hESC), which exhibit the characteristics of pluripotency and self-renewal, may serve as a model to study the role of miRNAs in early human development. We aimed to determine whether endodermally-differentiated hESC demonstrate a unique miRNA expression pattern, and whether overexpression of endoderm-specific miRNA may affect hESC differentiation. METHODS: miRNA expression was profiled in undifferentiated and NaButyrate-induced differentiated hESC of two lines, using microarray and quantitative RT-PCR. Then, the effect of lentiviral-based overexpression of liver-specific miR-122 on hESC differentiation was analyzed, using genomewide gene microarrays. RESULTS: The miRNA profiling revealed expression of three novel miRNAs in undifferentiated and differentiated hESC. Upon NaButyrate induction, two of the most upregulated miRNAs common to both cell lines were miR-24 and miR-10a, whose target genes have been shown to inhibit endodermal differentiation. Furthermore, induction of several liver-enriched miRNAs, including miR-122 and miR-192, was observed in parallel to induction of endodermal gene expression. Stable overexpression of miR-122 in hESC was unable to direct spontaneous differentiation towards a clear endodermal fate, but rather, delayed general differentiation of these cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that expression of specific miRNAs correlates with that of specific genes upon differentiation, and highlight the potential role of miRNAs in endodermal differentiation of hESC.
Project description:The RNA-binding protein AUF1 binds AU-rich elements in 3'-untranslated regions to regulate mRNA degradation and/or translation. Many of these mRNAs are predicted microRNA targets as well. An emerging theme in post-transcriptional control of gene expression is that RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs co-regulate mRNAs. Recent experiments and bioinformatic analyses suggest this type of co-regulation may be widespread across the transcriptome. Here, we identified mRNA targets of AUF1 from a complex pool of cellular mRNAs and examined a subset of these mRNAs to explore the links between RNA binding and mRNA degradation for both AUF1 and Argonaute 2 (AGO2), which is an essential effector of microRNA-induced gene silencing. Depending on the specific mRNA examined, AUF1 and AGO2 binding is proportional/cooperative, reciprocal/competitive or independent. For most mRNAs in which AUF1 affects their decay rates, mRNA degradation requires AGO2. Thus, AUF1 and AGO2 present mRNA-specific allosteric binding relationships for co-regulation of mRNA degradation.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a newly discovered endogenous class of small noncoding RNAs that play important posttranscriptional regulatory roles by targeting mRNAs for cleavage or translational repression. Accumulating evidence now supports the importance of miRNAs for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) self-renewal, pluripotency, and differentiation. However, with respect to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), in which embryonic-like cells are reprogrammed from adult cells using defined factors, the role of miRNAs during reprogramming has not been well-characterized. Determining the miRNAs that are associated with reprogramming should yield significant insight into the specific miRNA expression patterns that are required for pluripotency. To address this lack of knowledge, we use miRNA microarrays to compare the "microRNA-omes" of human iPSCs, hESCs, and fetal fibroblasts. We confirm the presence of a signature group of miRNAs that is up-regulated in both iPSCs and hESCs, such as the miR-302 and 17-92 clusters. We also highlight differences between the two pluripotent cell types, as in expression of the miR-371/372/373 cluster. In addition to histone modifications, promoter methylation, transcription factors, and other regulatory control elements, we believe these miRNA signatures of pluripotent cells likely represent another layer of regulatory control over cell fate decisions, and should prove important for the cellular reprogramming field.
Project description:BACKGROUND:By post-transcriptionally regulating multiple target transcripts, microRNAs (miRNAs or miR) play important biological functions. H1 embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and NTera-2 embryonal carcinoma cells (ECCs) are two of the most widely used human pluripotent model cell lines, sharing several characteristics, including the expression of miRNAs associated to the pluripotent state or with differentiation. However, how each of these miRNAs functionally impacts the biological properties of these cells has not been systematically evaluated. METHODS:We investigated the effects of 31 miRNAs on NTera-2 and H1 hESCs, by transfecting miRNA mimics. Following 3-4 days of culture, cells were stained for the pluripotency marker OCT4 and the G2 cell-cycle marker Cyclin B1, and nuclei and cytoplasm were co-stained with Hoechst and Cell Mask Blue, respectively. By using automated quantitative fluorescence microscopy (i.e., high-content screening (HCS)), we obtained several morphological and marker intensity measurements, in both cell compartments, allowing the generation of a multiparametric miR-induced phenotypic profile describing changes related to proliferation, cell cycle, pluripotency, and differentiation. RESULTS:Despite the overall similarities between both cell types, some miRNAs elicited cell-specific effects, while some related miRNAs induced contrasting effects in the same cell. By identifying transcripts predicted to be commonly targeted by miRNAs inducing similar effects (profiles grouped by hierarchical clustering), we were able to uncover potentially modulated signaling pathways and biological processes, likely mediating the effects of the microRNAs on the distinct groups identified. Specifically, we show that miR-363 contributes to pluripotency maintenance, at least in part, by targeting NOTCH1 and PSEN1 and inhibiting Notch-induced differentiation, a mechanism that could be implicated in naïve and primed pluripotent states. CONCLUSIONS:We present the first multiparametric high-content microRNA functional screening in human pluripotent cells. Integration of this type of data with similar data obtained from siRNA screenings (using the same HCS assay) could provide a large-scale functional approach to identify and validate microRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms controlling pluripotency and differentiation.