The RNA-binding protein DDX1 promotes primary microRNA maturation and inhibits ovarian tumor progression.
ABSTRACT: Posttranscriptional maturation is a critical step in microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis that determines mature miRNA levels. In addition to core components (Drosha and DGCR8 [DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8]) in the microprocessor, regulatory RNA-binding proteins may confer the specificity for recruiting and processing of individual primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs). Here, we identify DDX1 as a regulatory protein that promotes the expression of a subset of miRNAs, including five members in the microRNA-200 (miR-200) family and four miRNAs in an eight-miRNA signature of a mesenchymal ovarian cancer subtype. A majority of DDX1-dependent miRNAs are induced after DNA damage. This induction is facilitated by the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-mediated phosphorylation of DDX1. Inhibiting DDX1 promotes ovarian tumor growth and metastasis in a syngeneic mouse model. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) reveals that low DDX1 levels are associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with serous ovarian cancer. These findings suggest that DDX1 is a key modulator in miRNA maturation and ovarian tumor suppression.
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:Microprocessor, which consists of a ribonuclease III DROSHA and its cofactor DGCR8, initiates microRNA (miRNA) maturation by cleaving primary miRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs). We recently demonstrated that the DGCR8 dimer recognizes the apical elements of pri-miRNAs, including the UGU motif, to accurately locate and orient Microprocessor on pri-miRNAs. However, the mechanism underlying the selective RNA binding remains unknown. In this study, we find that hemin, a ferric ion-containing porphyrin, enhances the specific interaction between the apical UGU motif and the DGCR8 dimer, allowing Microprocessor to achieve high efficiency and fidelity of pri-miRNA processing in vitro. Furthermore, by generating a DGCR8 mutant cell line and carrying out rescue experiments, we discover that hemin preferentially stimulates the expression of miRNAs possessing the UGU motif, thereby conferring differential regulation of miRNA maturation. Our findings reveal the molecular action mechanism of hemin in pri-miRNA processing and establish a novel function of hemin in inducing specific RNA-protein interaction.
Project description:DEAD box 1 (DDX1) is a member of the DEAD box family of RNA helicases which are involved in all aspects of RNA metabolism. DDX1 has been implicated in a variety of biological processes, including 3'-end processing of mRNA, DNA repair, microRNA processing, tRNA maturation and mRNA transport. To study the role of DDX1 during development, we have generated mice carrying a constitutive Ddx1 knock-out allele. Ddx1(+/-) mice have no obvious phenotype and express similar levels of DDX1 as wild-type mice indicating compensation from the intact Ddx1 allele. Heterozygote matings produce no viable Ddx1(-/-) progeny, with Ddx1(-/-) embryos dying prior to embryonic day (E) 3.5. Intriguingly, the number of wild-type progeny is significantly decreased in heterozygote crosses, with two different heterozygote populations identified based on parental genotype: (i) normal Ddx1(+/-) mice which generate the expected number of wild-type progeny and (ii) Ddx1*(/-) mice (with * signifying a non-genetically altered allele) which generate a significantly reduced number of wild-type mice. The transgenerational inheritance of wild-type lethality observed upon crossing Ddx1*(/-) mice is independent of parental sex and occurs in cis through a mechanism that is different from other types of previously reported transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
Project description:DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8) is essential for primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) processing in the cell nucleus. It specifically combines with Drosha, a nuclear RNase III enzyme, to form the Microprocessor complex (MC) that cleaves pri-miRNA to precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA), which is further processed to mature miRNA by Dicer, a cytoplasmic RNase III enzyme. Increasing evidences suggest that pri-/pre-miRNAs have direct functions in regulation of gene expression, however the underlying mechanism how it is fine-tuned remains unclear. Here we find that DGCR8 is modified by SUMO1 at the major site K(707), which can be promoted by its ERK-activated phosphorylation. SUMOylation of DGCR8 enhances the protein stability by preventing the degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. More importantly, SUMOylation of DGCR8 does not alter its association with Drosha, the MC activity and miRNA biogenesis, but rather influences its affinity with pri-miRNAs. This altered affinity of DGCR8 with pri-miRNAs seems to control the direct functions of pri-miRNAs in recognition and repression of the target mRNAs, which is evidently linked to the DGCR8 function in regulation of tumorigenesis and cell migration. Collectively, our data suggest a novel mechanism that SUMOylation of DGCR8 controls direct functions of pri-miRNAs in gene silencing.
Project description:The microprocessor complex cleaves the primary transcript of microRNA (pri-miRNA) to initiate miRNA maturation. Microprocessor is known to consist of RNase III DROSHA and dsRNA-binding DGCR8. Here, we identify Enhancer of Rudimentary Homolog (ERH) as a new component of Microprocessor. Through a crystal structure and biochemical experiments, we reveal that ERH uses its hydrophobic groove to bind to a conserved region in the N-terminus of DGCR8, in a 2:2 stoichiometry. Knock-down of ERH or deletion of the DGCR8 N-terminus results in a reduced processing of suboptimal pri-miRNAs in polycistronic miRNA clusters. ERH increases the processing of suboptimal pri-miR-451 in a manner dependent on its neighboring pri-miR-144. Thus, the ERH dimer may mediate 'cluster assistance' in which Microprocessor is loaded onto a poor substrate with help from a high-affinity substrate in the same cluster. Our study reveals a role of ERH in the miRNA biogenesis pathway.
Project description:In animals, the Microprocessor complex cleaves primary transcripts of microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) to produce precursor microRNAs in the nucleus. The core components of Microprocessor include the Drosha ribonuclease and its RNA-binding partner protein DiGeorge critical region 8 (DGCR8). DGCR8 has been shown to tightly bind an Fe(III) heme cofactor, which activates its pri-miRNA processing activity. Here we describe how to reconstitute pri-miRNA processing using recombinant human Drosha and DGCR8 proteins. In particular, we present the procedures for expressing and purifying DGCR8 as an Fe(III) heme-bound dimer, the most active form of this protein, and for estimating its heme content.
Project description:Maturation of microRNAs (miRNAs, approximately 22nt) from long primary transcripts [primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs)] is regulated during development and is altered in diseases such as cancer. The first processing step is a cleavage mediated by the Microprocessor complex containing the Drosha nuclease and the RNA-binding protein DiGeorge critical region 8 (DGCR8). We previously reported that dimeric DGCR8 binds heme and that the heme-bound DGCR8 is more active than the heme-free form. Here, we identified a conserved dimerization domain in DGCR8. Our crystal structure of this domain (residues 298-352) at 1.7 A resolution demonstrates a previously unknown use of a WW motif as a platform for extensive dimerization interactions. The dimerization domain of DGCR8 is embedded in an independently folded heme-binding domain and directly contributes to association with heme. Heme-binding-deficient DGCR8 mutants have reduced pri-miRNA processing activity in vitro. Our study provides structural and biochemical bases for understanding how dimerization and heme binding of DGCR8 may contribute to regulation of miRNA biogenesis.
Project description:ARF is a multifunctional tumor suppressor that acts as both a sensor of oncogenic stimuli and as a key regulator of ribosome biogenesis. Recently, our group established the DEAD-box RNA helicase and microRNA (miRNA) microprocessor accessory subunit, DDX5, as a critical target of basal ARF function. To identify other molecular targets of ARF, we focused on known interacting proteins of DDX5 in the microprocessor complex. Drosha, the catalytic core of the microprocessor complex, has a critical role in the maturation of specific non-coding RNAs, including miRNAs and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). Here, we report that chronic or acute loss of Arf enhanced Drosha protein expression. This induction did not involve Drosha mRNA transcription or protein stability but rather relied on the increased translation of existing Drosha mRNAs. Enhanced Drosha expression did not alter global miRNA production but rather modified expression of a subset of miRNAs in the absence of Arf. Elevated Drosha protein levels were required to maintain the increased rRNA synthesis and cellular proliferation observed in the absence of Arf. Arf-deficient cells transformed by oncogenic Ras(V12) were dependent on increased Drosha expression as Drosha knockdown was sufficient to inhibit Ras-dependent cellular transformation. Thus, we propose that ARF regulates Drosha mRNA translation to prevent aberrant cell proliferation and Ras-dependent transformation.
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:The Microprocessor plays an essential role in canonical miRNA biogenesis by facilitating cleavage of stem-loop structures in primary transcripts to yield pre-miRNAs. Although miRNA biogenesis has been extensively studied through biochemical and molecular genetic approaches, it has yet to be addressed to what extent the current miRNA biogenesis models hold true in intact cells. To address the issues of in vivo recognition and cleavage by the Microprocessor, we investigate RNAs that are associated with DGCR8 and Drosha by using immunoprecipitation coupled with next-generation sequencing. Here, we present global protein-RNA interactions with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. Our data indicate that precursors of canonical miRNAs and miRNA-like hairpins are the major substrates of the Microprocessor. As a result of specific enrichment of nascent cleavage products, we are able to pinpoint the Microprocessor-mediated cleavage sites per se at single-nucleotide resolution. Unexpectedly, a 2-nt 3' overhang invariably exists at the ends of cleaved bases instead of nascent pre-miRNAs. Besides canonical miRNA precursors, we find that two novel miRNA-like structures embedded in mRNAs are cleaved to yield pre-miRNA-like hairpins, uncoupled from miRNA maturation. Our data provide a framework for in vivo Microprocessor-mediated cleavage and a foundation for experimental and computational studies on miRNA biogenesis in living cells.