Quantifying RNA-protein interactions in situ using modified-MTRIPs and proximity ligation.
ABSTRACT: The stabilization, translation and degradation of RNA are regulated by interactions between trans-acting factors, such as microRNA and RNA-binding proteins (RBP). In order to investigate the relationships between these events and their significance, a method that detects the localization of these interactions within a single cell, as well as their variability across a cell population, is needed. To visualize and quantify RNA-protein interactions in situ, we developed a proximity ligation assay (PLA) that combined peptide-modified, multiply-labelled tetravalent RNA imaging probes (MTRIPs), targeted to sequences near RBP binding sites, with proximity ligation and rolling circle amplification (RCA). Using this method, we detected and quantified, with single-interaction sensitivity, the localization and frequency of interactions of the human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) nucleocapsid protein (N) with viral genomic RNA (gRNA). We also described the effects of actinomycin D (actD) on the interactions of HuR with ?-actin mRNA and with poly(A)+ mRNA at both native and increased HuR expression levels.
Project description:RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play a major role in the control of messenger RNA (mRNA) turnover and translation rates. We examined the role of the RBP, human antigen R (HuR), during cholestatic liver injury and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation. HuR silencing attenuated fibrosis development in vivo after BDL, reducing liver damage, oxidative stress, inflammation, and collagen and alpha smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) expression. HuR expression increased in activated HSCs from bile duct ligation mice and during HSC activation in vitro, and HuR silencing markedly reduced HSC activation. HuR regulated platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced proliferation and migration and controlled the expression of several mRNAs involved in these processes (e.g., Actin, matrix metalloproteinase 9, and cyclin D1 and B1). These functions of HuR were linked to its abundance and cytoplasmic localization, controlled by PDGF, by extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activation as well as ERK/LKB1 (liver kinase B1) activation, respectively. More important, we identified the tumor suppressor, LKB1, as a novel downstream target of PDGF-induced ERK activation in HSCs. HuR also controlled transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?)-induced profibrogenic actions by regulating the expression of TGF-?, ?-SMA, and p21. This was likely the result of an increased cytoplasmic localization of HuR, controlled by TGF-?-induced p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation. Finally, we found that HuR and LKB1 (Ser428) levels were highly expressed in activated HSCs in human cirrhotic samples.Our results show that HuR is important for the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis development in the cholestatic injury model, for HSC activation, and for the response of activated HSC to PDGF and TGF-?.
Project description:We have recently shown in T. cruzi that a group of RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs), involved in mRNA metabolism, are accumulated into the nucleolus in response to Actinomycin D (ActD) treatment. In this work, we have extended our analysis to other members of the trypanosomatid lineage. In agreement with our previous study, the mechanism seems to be conserved in L. mexicana, since both endogenous RBPs and a transgenic RBP were relocalized to the nucleolus in parasites exposed to ActD. In contrast, in T. brucei, neither endogenous RBPs (TbRRM1 and TbPABP2) nor a transgenic RBP from T. cruzi were accumulated into the nucleolus under such treatment. Interestingly, when a transgenic TbRRM1 was expressed in T. cruzi and the parasites exposed to ActD, TbRRM1 relocated to the nucleolus, suggesting that it contains the necessary sequence elements to be targeted to the nucleolus. Together, both experiments demonstrate that the mechanism behind nucleolar localization of RBPs, which is present in T. cruzi and L. mexicana, is not functional in T. brucei, suggesting that it has been lost or retained differentially during the evolution of the trypanosomatid lineage.
Project description:ABCA1 is a major regulator of cellular cholesterol efflux and plasma HDL biogenesis. Even though the transcriptional activation of ABCA1 is well established, the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the potential contribution of the RNA binding protein (RBP) human antigen R (HuR) on the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression. RNA immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate a direct interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. We found that HuR binds to the 3' untranslated region of ABCA1 and increases ABCA1 translation, while HuR silencing reduces ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux to ApoA1 in human hepatic (Huh-7) and monocytic (THP-1) cells. Interestingly, cellular cholesterol levels regulate the expression, intracellular localization, and interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. Finally, we found that HuR expression was significantly increased in macrophages from human atherosclerotic plaques, suggesting an important role for this RBP in controlling macrophage cholesterol metabolism in vivo. In summary, we have identified HuR as a novel posttranscriptional regulator of ABCA1 expression and cellular cholesterol homeostasis, thereby opening new avenues for increasing cholesterol efflux from atherosclerotic foam macrophages and raising circulat-ing HDL cholesterol levels.
Project description:Although RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) coordinate many key decisions during cell growth and differentiation, the dynamics of RNA-RBP interactions have not been extensively studied on a global basis. We immunoprecipitated endogenous ribonucleoprotein complexes containing HuR and PABP throughout a T-cell activation time course and identified the associated mRNA populations using microarrays. We used Gaussian mixture modeling as a discriminative model, treating RBP association as a discrete variable (target or not target), and as a generative model, treating RBP-association as a continuous variable (probability of association). We report that HuR interacts with different populations of mRNAs during T-cell activation. These populations encode functionally related proteins that are members of the Wnt pathway and proteins mediating T-cell receptor signaling pathways. Moreover, the mRNA targets of HuR were found to overlap with the targets of other posttranscriptional regulatory factors, indicating combinatorial interdependence of posttranscriptional regulatory networks and modules after activation. Applying HuR mRNA dynamics as a quantitative phenotype in the drug-gene-phenotype Connectivity Map, we identified candidate small molecule effectors of HuR and T-cell activation. We show that one of these candidates, resveratrol, exerts T-cell activation-dependent posttranscriptional effects that are rescued by HuR. Thus, we describe a strategy to systematically link an RBP and condition-specific posttranscriptional effects to small molecule drugs.
Project description:Both RNA-binding proteins (RBP) and miRNA play important roles in the regulation of mRNA expression, often acting together to regulate a target mRNA. In some cases the RBP and miRNA have been reported to act competitively, but in other instances they function cooperatively. Here, we investigated HuR function as an enhancer of let-7-mediated translational repression of c-Myc despite the separation of their binding sites. Using an in vitro system, we determined that a let-7 mimic, consisting of single-stranded (ss)DNA complementary to the let-7 binding site, enhanced the affinity of HuR for a 122-nt MYC RNA encompassing both binding sites. This finding supports the biophysical principle of cooperative binding by an RBP and miRNA purely through interactions at distal mRNA binding sites.
Project description:Studies in epitranscriptomics indicate that RNA is modified by a variety of enzymes. Among these RNA modifications, adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing occurs frequently in the mammalian transcriptome. These RNA editing sites can be detected directly from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data by examining nucleotide changes from adenosine (A) to guanine (G), which substitutes for inosine (I). However, a careful investigation of such nucleotide changes must be conducted to distinguish sequencing errors and genomic mutations from the genuine editing sites. Building upon our recent introduction of an easy-to-use bioinformatics tool, RNA Editor, to detect RNA editing events from RNA-seq data, we examined the extent by which RNA editing events affect the binding of RNA-binding proteins (RBP). Through employing bioinformatic techniques, we uncovered that RNA editing sites occur frequently in RBP-bound regions. Moreover, the presence of RNA editing sites are more frequent when RNA editing islands were examined, which are regions in which RNA editing sites are present in clusters. When the binding of one RBP, human antigen R [HuR; encoded by ELAV-like protein 1 (ELAV1)], was quantified experimentally, its binding was reduced upon silencing of the RNA editing enzyme adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADAR) compared to the control-suggesting that the presence of RNA editing islands influence HuR binding to its target regions. These data indicate RNA editing as an important mediator of RBP-RNA interactions-a mechanism which likely constitutes an additional mode of post-transcription gene regulation in biological systems.
Project description:In this work we show that under Actinomycin D (ActD) treatment, several RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs) involved in mRNA metabolism are relocalized into the nucleolus in Trypanosoma cruzi as a specific stress response. ATP depletion as well as kinase inhibition markedly reduced the nucleolar localization response, suggesting that an energy-dependent transport modulated by the phosphorylation status of the parasite might be required. Deletion analyses in one of such proteins, TcSR62, showed that a domain bearing basic amino acids located in the COOH terminal region was sufficient to promote its nucleolar relocalization. Interestingly, we showed that in addition to RBPs, poly(A)+ RNA is also accumulated into the nucleolus in response to ActD treatment. Finally, we found out that nucleolar relocalization of RBPs is also triggered by severe heat shock in a reversible way. Together, these results suggest that the nucleolus of an early divergent eukaryote is either able to sequester key factors related to mRNA metabolism in response to transcriptional stress or behaves as a RBP processing center, arguing in favour to the hypothesis that the non-traditional features of the nucleolus could be acquired early during evolution.
Project description:RNA binding proteins (RBPs) play a central role in cell physiology and pathology. Among them, HuR is a nuclear RBP, which shuttles to the cytoplasm to allow its RNA targets processing. HuR over-expression and delocalization are often associated to cell transformation. Numerous cancers display increased HuR protein levels and its high cytoplasmic levels has been associated with a worse prognosis.In our study, we first evaluated HuR expression in normal and cancer thyroid tissues and then evaluated its function in thyroid cell lines. HuR is over-expressed in all thyroid tumor tissues; high cytoplasmic levels are detected in all thyroid carcinomas. HuR silencing decreased cell viability and determined apoptotic cell death, in a non-tumorigenic (Nthy-ori-3.1) and a tumorigenic (BCPAP) thyroid cell line. Global transcriptome analysis indicated that HuR silencing, though having similar biological effects, induces distinct gene expression modifications in the two cell lines. By using the RIP-seq approach, the HuR-bound RNA profiles of different thyroid cell lines were evaluated. We show that in distinct cell lines HuR-bound RNA profiles are different. A set of 114 HuR-bound RNAs distinguishing tumorigenic cell lines from the non-tumorigenic one was identified.Altogether, our data indicate that HuR plays a role in thyroid tumorigenesis. Moreover, our findings are a proof of concept that RBP targets differ between cells with the same origin but with distinct biological behavior.
Project description:Posttranscriptional gene regulation by miRNAs and RNA binding proteins (RBP) is important in development, physiology, and disease. To examine the interplay between miRNAs and the RBP ELAVL1 (HuR), we mapped miRNA binding sites at the transcriptome-wide scale in wild-type and Elavl1 knockout murine bone-marrow-derived macrophages. Proximity of ELAVL1 binding sites attenuated miRNA binding to transcripts and promoted gene expression. Transcripts that regulate angiogenesis and macrophage/endothelial crosstalk were preferentially targeted by miRNAs, suggesting that ELAVL1 promotes angiogenesis, at least in part by antagonism of miRNA function. We found that ELAVL1 antagonized binding of miR-27 to the 3' UTR of Zfp36 mRNA and alleviated miR-27-mediated suppression of the RBP ZFP36 (Tristetraprolin). Thus, the miR-27-regulated mechanism synchronizes the expression of ELAVL1 and ZFP36. This study provides a resource for systems-level interrogation of posttranscriptional gene regulation in macrophages, a key cell type in inflammation, angiogenesis, and tissue homeostasis.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) have significantly influenced the evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks in the human genome. Post-transcriptional regulation of human genes by TE-derived sequences has been observed in specific contexts, but has yet to be systematically and comprehensively investigated. Here, studied a collection of CLIP-Seq (CrossLinked ImmunoPrecipitation) experiments mapping the RNA binding sites for a diverse set of 46 human proteins across 68 experiments to explore the role of TEs in post-transcriptional regulation genome-wide via RNA-protein interactions. We detected widespread interactions between RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and various families of TE-derived sequence in the CLIP-Seq data. Alignment coverage clustered on specific positions of the TE consensus sequences, illuminating a diversity of TE-specific motifs for many RBPs. Evidence of binding and conservation of these motifs in the nonrepetitive transcriptome suggest that TEs have appropriated existing sequence preferences of the RBP. Upon depletion of the RBPs, transcripts possessing TE-derived binding sites were similarly regulated as those bound in nonrepetitive sequence. However, in a few cases the effect of RBP binding depended on the specific TE family boundM-bM-^@M-^Te.g., the ubiquitously expressed RBP HuR conferred opposite effects on stability to transcripts when bound to Alu elements versus other families. Our meta-analysis suggests a widespread role for TEs in shaping RNA-protein regulatory networks in the human genome. HuR formaldehyde RIP-Seq in K562 cells, with RIP and input sequenced in triplicate.