C-Myc modulates microRNA processing via the transcriptional regulation of Drosha.
ABSTRACT: The c-Myc oncogenic transcription factor is known to regulate microRNA (miRNA) expression at the transcriptional level. However, little is known about the function of c-Myc in miRNA processing. Here, we report that Drosha, one of the most important components of the miRNA processing machinery, is a c-Myc target gene. c-Myc transactivates drosha mRNA expression, thus upregulating the Drosha protein level. A chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiment revealed that c-Myc binds directly to the E-box of the drosha promoter. Both in vitro and in vivo microRNA processing assays demonstrated that c-Myc promotes miRNA processing by upregulating the Drosha expression level. Overall, our study reveals a previously unrecognised function of c-Myc in miRNA processing and provides valuable insight into a new aspect of how c-Myc regulates microRNA expression.
Project description:The RNase III enzyme Drosha is a key factor in microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis and as such indispensable for cellular homeostasis and developmental processes. Together with its co-factor DGCR8, it converts the primary transcript (pri-miRNA) into the precursor hairpin (pre-miRNA) in the nucleus. While the middle and the C-terminal domain are crucial for pri-miRNA processing and DGCR8 binding, the function of the N-terminus remains cryptic. Different studies have linked this region to the subcellular localization of Drosha, stabilization and response to stress. In this study, we identify alternatively spliced Drosha transcripts that are devoid of a part of the arginine/serine-rich (RS-rich) domain and expressed in a large set of human cells. In contrast to their expected habitation, we find two isoforms also present in the cytoplasm, while the other two isoforms reside exclusively in the nucleus. Their processing activity for pri-miRNAs and the binding to co-factors remains unaltered. In multiple cell lines, the endogenous mRNA expression of the Drosha isoforms correlates with the localization of endogenous Drosha proteins. The pri-miRNA processing efficiency is not significantly different between groups of cells with or without cytoplasmic Drosha expression. In summary, we discovered novel isoforms of Drosha with differential subcellular localization pointing toward additional layers of complexity in the regulation of its activity.
Project description:Wilms tumour is the most common childhood kidney cancer. Here we report the whole-exome sequencing of 44 Wilms tumours, identifying missense mutations in the microRNA (miRNA)-processing enzymes DROSHA and DICER1, and novel mutations in MYCN, SMARCA4 and ARID1A. Examination of tumour miRNA expression, in vitro processing assays and genomic editing in human cells demonstrates that DICER1 and DROSHA mutations influence miRNA processing through distinct mechanisms. DICER1 RNase IIIB mutations preferentially impair processing of miRNAs deriving from the 5'-arm of pre-miRNA hairpins, while DROSHA RNase IIIB mutations globally inhibit miRNA biogenesis through a dominant-negative mechanism. Both DROSHA and DICER1 mutations impair expression of tumour-suppressing miRNAs, including the let-7 family, important regulators of MYCN, LIN28 and other Wilms tumour oncogenes. These results provide new insights into the mechanisms through which mutations in miRNA biogenesis components reprogramme miRNA expression in human cancer and suggest that these defects define a distinct subclass of Wilms tumours.
Project description:Wilms tumour (WT) is an embryonal kidney neoplasia for which very few driver genes have been identified. Here we identify DROSHA mutations in 12% of WT samples (26/222) using whole-exome sequencing and targeted sequencing of 10 microRNA (miRNA)-processing genes. A recurrent mutation (E1147K) affecting a metal-binding residue of the RNase IIIb domain is detected in 81% of the DROSHA-mutated tumours. In addition, we identify non-recurrent mutations in other genes of this pathway (DGCR8, DICER1, XPO5 and TARBP2). By assessing the miRNA expression pattern of the DROSHA-E1147K-mutated tumours and cell lines expressing this mutation, we determine that this variant leads to a predominant downregulation of a subset of miRNAs. We confirm that the downregulation occurs exclusively in mature miRNAs and not in primary miRNA transcripts, suggesting that the DROSHA E1147K mutation affects processing of primary miRNAs. Our data underscore the pivotal role of the miRNA biogenesis pathway in WT tumorigenesis, particularly the major miRNA-processing gene DROSHA.
Project description:The Drosha-DGCR8 complex, also known as Microprocessor, is essential for microRNA (miRNA) maturation. Drosha functions as the catalytic subunit, while DGCR8 (also known as Pasha) recognizes the RNA substrate. Although the action mechanism of this complex has been intensively studied, it remains unclear how Drosha and DGCR8 are regulated and if these proteins have any additional role(s) apart from miRNA processing. Here, we report that Drosha and DGCR8 regulate each other posttranscriptionally. The Drosha-DGCR8 complex cleaves the hairpin structures embedded in the DGCR8 mRNA and thereby destabilizes the mRNA. We further find that DGCR8 stabilizes the Drosha protein via protein-protein interaction. This crossregulation between Drosha and DGCR8 may contribute to the homeostatic control of miRNA biogenesis. Furthermore, microarray analyses suggest that a number of mRNAs may be downregulated in a Microprocessor-dependent, miRNA-independent manner. Our study reveals a previously unsuspected function of Microprocessor in mRNA stability control.
Project description:The Microprocessor complex, consisting of an RNase III DROSHA and the DGCR8 dimer, cleaves primary microRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) to initiate microRNA (miRNA) maturation. Pri-miRNAs are stem-loop RNAs, and ∼79% of them contain at least one of the three major and conserved RNA motifs, UG, UGU, and CNNC. We recently demonstrated that the basal UG and apical UGU motifs of pri-miRNAs interact with DROSHA and DGCR8, respectively. They help orient Microprocessor on pri-miRNA in a proper direction in which DROSHA and DGCR8 localize to the basal and apical pri-miRNA junctions, respectively. In addition, CNNC, located at ∼17 nucleotides (nt) from the Microprocessor cleavage site, interacts with SRSF3 (SRp20) to stimulate Microprocessor to process pri-miRNAs. The mechanism underlying this stimulation, however, is unknown. In this study, we discovered that SRSF3 recruits DROSHA to the basal junction in a CNNC-dependent manner, thereby enhancing Microprocessor activity. Furthermore, by generating various pri-miRNA substrates containing CNNC at different locations, we demonstrated that such stimulation only occurs when CNNC is located at ∼17 nt from the Microprocessor cleavage site. Our findings reveal the molecular mechanism of SRSF3 in pri-miRNA processing and support the previously proposed explanation for the highly conserved position of CNNC in SRSF3-enhanced pri-miRNA processing.
Project description:RNase III enzyme Drosha interacts with DGCR8 to form the Microprocessor, initiating canonical microRNA (miRNA) maturation in the nucleus. Here, we re-evaluated where Drosha functions in cells using Drosha and/or DGCR8 knock out (KO) cells and cleavage reporters. Interestingly, a truncated Drosha mutant located exclusively in the cytoplasm cleaved pri-miRNA effectively in a DGCR8-dependent manner. In addition, we demonstrated that in vitro generated pri-miRNAs when transfected into cells could be processed to mature miRNAs in the cytoplasm. These results indicate the existence of cytoplasmic Drosha (c-Drosha) activity. Although a subset of endogenous pri-miRNAs become enriched in the cytoplasm of Drosha KO cells, it remains unclear whether pri-miRNA processing is the main function of c-Drosha. We identified two novel in-frame Drosha isoforms generated by alternative splicing in both HEK293T and HeLa cells. One isoform loses the putative nuclear localization signal, generating c-Drosha. Further analysis indicated that the c-Drosha isoform is abundant in multiple cell lines, dramatically variable among different human tissues and upregulated in multiple tumors, suggesting that c-Drosha plays a unique role in gene regulation. Our results reveal a new layer of regulation on the miRNA pathway and provide novel insights into the ever-evolving functions of Drosha.
Project description:MicroRNA (miRNA) processing begins with Drosha cleavage, the fidelity of which is critical for downstream processing and mature miRNA target specificity. To understand how pri-miRNA sequence and structure influence Drosha cleavage, we studied the maturation of three pri-miR-9 paralogs, which encode the same mature miRNA but differ in the surrounding scaffold. We show that pri-miR-9-1 has a unique Drosha cleavage profile due to its distorted and flexible stem structure. Cleavage of pri-miR-9-1, but not pri-miR-9-2 or pri-miR-9-3, generates an alternative miR-9 with a shifted seed sequence that expands the scope of its target RNAs. Analyses of low-grade glioma patient samples indicate that the alternative-miR-9 has a potential role in tumor progression. Furthermore, we provide evidence that distortion of pri-miRNA stems induced by asymmetric internal loops correlates with Drosha cleavage at non-canonical sites. Our studies reveal that pri-miRNA paralogs can have distinct functions via differential Drosha processing.
Project description:DGCR8/Pasha is an essential cofactor for Drosha, a nuclear RNase III that cleaves the local hairpin structures embedded in long primary microRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) in eukaryotes. Although our knowledge of pri-miRNA processing has significantly advanced in recent years, the precise role of DGCR8 in this pathway remains unclear. In our present study, we dissect the domains in DGCR8 that contribute to the processing of pri-miRNAs and the subcellular localization of DGCR8. Drosha is stabilized through an interaction between its middle domain and the conserved C-terminal domain of DGCR8. Furthermore, DGCR8, but not Drosha, can directly and stably interact with pri-miRNAs, and the tandem dsRNA-binding domains (dsRBDs) in DGCR8 are responsible for this recognition. Moreover, the DGCR8 N-terminal region upstream of its dsRBDs is unnecessary for pri-miRNA processing but is critical for nuclear localization. Our study thus provides further insights into the mechanism of action of the Drosha-DGCR8 complex in pri-miRNA processing.
Project description:Microprocessor [Drosha-DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8) complex] processing of primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) is the critical first step in miRNA biogenesis, but how the Drosha cleavage site is determined has been unclear. Previous models proposed that the Drosha-DGCR8 complex measures either ~22 nt from the upper stem-single-stranded RNA (ssRNA, terminal loop) junction or ~11 nt from the lower stem-ssRNA junction to determine the cleavage site. Here, using miRNA-offset RNAs to determine the Drosha cleavage site, we show that the Microprocessor measures the distances from both the lower and upper stem-ssRNA junctions to determine the cleavage site in human cells, and optimal distances from both structures are critical to the precision of Drosha processing. If the distances are not optimal, Drosha tends to cleave at multiple sites, which can, in turn, generate multiple 5' isomiRs. Thus, our results also reveal a mechanism of 5' isomiR generation.
Project description:Drosha is a key enzyme in microRNA biogenesis, generating the precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA) by excising the stem-loop embedded in the primary transcripts (pri-miRNA). The specificity for the pri-miRNAs and determination of the cleavage site are provided by its binding partner DGCR8, which is necessary for efficient processing. The crucial Drosha domains for pri-miRNA cleavage are the middle part, the two enzymatic RNase III domains (RIIID), and the dsRNA binding domain (dsRBD) in the C-terminus. Here, we identify alternatively spliced transcripts in human melanoma and NT2 cell lines, encoding C-terminally truncated Drosha proteins lacking part of the RIIIDb and the entire dsRBD. Proteins generated from these alternative splice variants fail to bind to DGCR8 but still interact with Ewing sarcoma protein (EWS). In vitro as well as in vivo, the Drosha splice variants are deficient in pri-miRNA processing. However, the aberrant transcripts in melanoma cells do not consistently reduce mature miRNA levels compared with melanoma cell lines lacking those splice variants, possibly owing to their limited abundance. Our findings show that alternative processing-deficient Drosha splice variants exist in melanoma cells. In elevated amounts, these alternatively spliced transcripts could provide one potential mechanism accounting for the deregulation of miRNAs in cancer cells. On the basis of our results, the search for alternative inactive splice variants might be fruitful in different tumor entities to unravel the molecular basis of the previously observed decreased microRNA processing efficiency in cancer.