Dysregulated miRNA biogenesis downstream of cellular stress and ALS-causing mutations: a new mechanism for ALS.
ABSTRACT: Interest in RNA dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) recently aroused upon discovering causative mutations in RNA-binding protein genes. Here, we show that extensive down-regulation of miRNA levels is a common molecular denominator for multiple forms of human ALS. We further demonstrate that pathogenic ALS-causing mutations are sufficient to inhibit miRNA biogenesis at the Dicing step. Abnormalities of the stress response are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, including ALS. Accordingly, we describe a novel mechanism for modulating microRNA biogenesis under stress, involving stress granule formation and re-organization of DICER and AGO2 protein interactions with their partners. In line with this observation, enhancing DICER activity by a small molecule, enoxacin, is beneficial for neuromuscular function in two independent ALS mouse models. Characterizing miRNA biogenesis downstream of the stress response ties seemingly disparate pathways in neurodegeneration and further suggests that DICER and miRNAs affect neuronal integrity and are possible therapeutic targets.
Project description:The biogenesis of human microRNAs (miRNAs) includes two RNA cleavage steps in which the activities of the RNases Drosha and Dicer are involved. miRNAs of diverse lengths are generated from different genes, and miRNAs that are heterogeneous in length are produced from a single miRNA gene. We determined the solution structures of many miRNA precursors and analysed the structural basis of miRNA length diversity using a new measure: the weighted average length of diced RNA (WALDI). We found that asymmetrical structural motifs present in precursor hairpins are primarily responsible for the length diversity of miRNAs generated by Dicer. High-resolution northern blots of miRNAs and their precursors revealed that both Dicer and Drosha cleavages of imperfect specificity contributed to the miRNA length heterogeneity. The relevance of these findings to the dynamics of the dicing complex, mRNA regulation by miRNA, RNA interference and miRNA technologies are discussed.
Project description:Alterations in microRNA (miRNA) processing have been previously linked to aging. Here we used the small molecule enoxacin to pharmacologically interfere with miRNA biogenesis and study how it affects aging in C. elegans. Enoxacin extended worm lifespan and promoted survival under normal and oxidative stress conditions. Enoxacin-induced longevity required the transcription factor SKN-1/Nrf2 and was blunted by the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine, suggesting a prooxidant-mediated mitohormetic response. The longevity effects of enoxacin were also dependent on the miRNA pathway, consistent with changes in miRNA expression elicited by the drug. Among these differentially expressed miRNAs, the widely conserved miR-34-5p was found to play an important role in enoxacin-mediated longevity. Enoxacin treatment down-regulated miR-34-5p and did not further extend lifespan of long-lived mir-34 mutants. Moreover, N-acetyl-cysteine abrogated mir-34(gk437)-induced longevity. Evidence also points to double-stranded RNA-specific adenosine deaminases (ADARs) as new targets of enoxacin since ADAR loss-of-function abrogates enoxacin-induced lifespan extension. Thus, enoxacin increases lifespan by reducing miR-34-5p levels, interfering with the redox balance and promoting healthspan.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the third most common human adult-onset neurodegenerative disease. Some forms of ALS are inherited, and disease-causing genes have been identified. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in ALS are unresolved. Genetic, biochemical, and morphological analyses of human ALS as well as cell and animal models of ALS reveal that mitochondria could have roles in this neurodegeneration. The varied functions and properties of mitochondria might render subsets of selectively vulnerable neurons intrinsically susceptible to cellular aging and stress and overlying genetic variations. Changes occur in mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes and mitochondrial programmed cell death proteins in ALS. Transgenic mouse models of ALS reveal possible principles governing the biology of neurodegeneration that implicate mitochondria and the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. This paper reviews how mitochondrial pathobiology might contribute to the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in ALS.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Arginine Rich Motif (ARM) of HIV-1 Tat and Rev are extensively studied linear motifs (LMs). They are already established as an inefficient bipartite nuclear localisation signal (NLS). The unusual passive diffusion of HIV-1 NLS tagged reporter proteins across the nucleus is due to an unknown competing functionality of ARM. Recent findings about the role of retroviral proteins as a suppressor of RNA interference (RNAi) involving their basic residues hint an interesting answer to this alternate functionality. The present work explores the role of HIV-1 ARM as a uniquely evolved viral motif to combat Dicer dependent RNAi. RESULTS: We show that RNA binding ARM of both HIV-1 Tat and Rev is a LM with a pattern RXXRRXRRR unique to viruses. Extending the in silico results to wet lab, we proved both HIV-1 Tat and Rev can suppress Dicer dependent RNA silencing process involving ARM. We show, HIV-1 Tat and Rev and their corresponding ARM can bind the RISC loading complex (RLC) components TRBP and PACT confirming ARM as an independent RNAi suppression motif. Enhancement of RNAi in infection scenario through enoxacin increases HIV-1 replication as indicated by p24 levels. Except Dicer, all other cytoplasmic RNAi components enhance HIV-1 replication, indicating crucial role of Dicer independent (Ago2 dependent) RNAi pathway in HIV-1 infection. Sequence and structural analysis of endo/exo-microRNA precursors known to be regulated in HIV-1 infection highlights differential features of microRNA biogenesis. One such set of miRNA is viral TAR encoded HIV-1-miR-TAR-5p (Tar1) and HIV-1-miR-TAR-3p (Tar2) that are known to be present throughout the HIV-1 life cycle. Our qPCR results showed that enoxacin increases Tar2 miRNA level which is interesting as Tar2 precursor shows Ago2 dependent processing features. CONCLUSIONS: We establish HIV-1 ARM as a novel viral motif evolved to target the Dicer dependent RNAi pathway. The conservation of such motif in other viral proteins possibly explains the potent suppression of Dicer dependent RNAi. Our model argues that HIV-1 suppress the processing of siRNAs through inhibition of Dicer while at the same time manipulates the RNAi machinery to process miRNA involved in HIV-1 replication from Dicer independent pathways.
Project description:Local protein synthesis in neuronal axons plays an important role in essential spatiotemporal signaling processes; however, the molecular basis for the post-transcriptional regulation controlling this process in axons is still not fully understood. Here we studied the axonal mechanisms underlying the transport and localization of microRNA (miRNA) and the RNAi machinery along the axon. We first identified miRNAs, Dicer, and Argonaute-2 (Ago2) in motor neuron (MN) axons. We then studied the localization of RNAi machinery and demonstrated that mitochondria associate with miR-124 and RNAi proteins in axons. Importantly, this co-localization occurs primarily at axonal branch points and growth cones. Moreover, using live cell imaging of a functional Cy3-tagged miR-124, we revealed that this miRNA is actively transported with acidic compartments in axons, and associates with stalled mitochondria at growth cones and axonal branch points. Finally, we observed enhanced retrograde transport of miR-124-Cy3, and a reduction in its localization to static mitochondria in MNs expressing the ALS causative gene hSOD1G93A. Taken together, our data suggest that mitochondria participate in the axonal localization and transport of RNAi machinery, and further imply that alterations in this mechanism may be associated with neurodegeneration in ALS.
Project description:The human ribonuclease Dicer and its double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding protein (dsRBP) partners TRBP and PACT play important roles in the biogenesis of regulatory RNAs. Following dicing, one dsRNA product strand is preferentially assembled into an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). The mechanism of strand selection in humans and the possible role of Dicer in this process remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that dsRNAs undergo significant repositioning within Dicer complexes following dicing. This repositioning enables directional binding of RNA duplexes, thereby biasing their orientation for guide strand selection according to the thermodynamic properties of the helix. Our findings indicate that Dicer is itself capable of sensing siRNA thermodynamic asymmetry regardless of the dsRBP to which it is bound. These results support a model in which Dicer employs two distinct RNA-binding sites-one for dsRNA processing and the other for sensing of siRNA thermodynamic asymmetry-during RISC loading in humans.
Project description:A novel class of small non-coding RNAs called DNA damage response RNAs (DDRNAs) generated at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in a DROSHA- and DICER-dependent manner has been shown to regulate the DNA damage response (DDR). Similar molecules were also reported to guide DNA repair. Here, we show that DDR activation and DNA repair can be pharmacologically boosted by acting on such non-coding RNAs. Cells treated with enoxacin, a compound previously demonstrated to augment DICER activity, show stronger DDR signalling and faster DNA repair upon exposure to ionizing radiations compared to vehicle-only treated cells. Enoxacin stimulates DDRNA production at chromosomal DSBs and at dysfunctional telomeres, which in turn promotes 53BP1 accumulation at damaged sites, therefore in a miRNA-independent manner. Increased 53BP1 occupancy at DNA lesions induced by enoxacin ultimately suppresses homologous recombination, channelling DNA repair towards faster and more accurate non-homologous end-joining, including in post-mitotic primary neurons. Notably, augmented DNA repair stimulated by enoxacin increases the survival also of cancer cells treated with chemotherapeutic agents.
Project description:Global downregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) is a common feature of human tumors and has been shown to enhance cancer progression. Several components of the miRNA biogenesis machinery (XPO5, DICER and TRBP) have been shown to act as haploinsufficient tumor suppressors. How the deregulation of miRNA biogenesis promotes tumor development is not clearly understood. Here we show that loss of miRNA biogenesis increased resistance to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced cell death. We observed that HCT116 cells with a DICER hypomorphic mutation (Exn5/Exn5) or where DICER or DROSHA were knocked down were resistant to ER stress-induced cell death. Extensive analysis revealed little difference in the unfolded protein response (UPR) of WT compared to Exn5/Exn5 HCT116 cells upon ER stress treatment. However, analysis of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway showed that resistance occurred upstream of the mitochondria. In particular, BAX activation and dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential was attenuated, and there was altered expression of BCL-2 family proteins. These observations demonstrate a key role for miRNAs as critical modulators of the ER stress response. In our model, downregulation of miRNA biogenesis delays ER stress-induced apoptosis. This suggests that disrupted miRNA biogenesis may contribute to cancer progression by inhibiting ER stress-induced cell death.
Project description:Lariat RNAs formed as by-products of splicing are quickly degraded by the RNA debranching enzyme 1 (DBR1), leading to their turnover. Null dbr1 mutants in both animals and plants are embryo lethal, but the mechanism underlying the lethality remains unclear. Here we characterized a weak mutant allele of DBR1 in Arabidopsis, dbr1-2, and showed that a global increase in lariat RNAs was unexpectedly accompanied by a genome-wide reduction in miRNA accumulation. The dbr1-2 mutation had no effects on expression of miRNA biogenesis genes or primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs), but the association of pri-miRNAs with the DCL1/HYL1 dicing complex was impaired. Lariat RNAs were associated with the DCL1/HYL1 dicing complex in vivo and competitively inhibited the binding of HYL1 with pri-miRNA. Consistent with the impacts of lariat RNAs on miRNA biogenesis, over-expression of lariat RNAs reduced miRNA accumulation. Lariat RNAs localized in nuclear bodies, and partially co-localize with HYL1, and both DCL1 and HYL1 were mis-localized in dbr1-2. Together with our findings that nearly four hundred lariat RNAs exist in wild type plants and that these lariat RNAs also associate with the DCL1/HYL1 dicing complex in vivo, we thus propose that lariat RNAs, as decoys, inhibit miRNA processing, suggesting a hitherto unknown layer of regulation in miRNA biogenesis.
Project description:An intronic GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the most common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but the pathogenic mechanism of this repeat remains unclear. Using human induced motor neurons (iMNs), we found that repeat-expanded C9ORF72 was haploinsufficient in ALS. We found that C9ORF72 interacted with endosomes and was required for normal vesicle trafficking and lysosomal biogenesis in motor neurons. Repeat expansion reduced C9ORF72 expression, triggering neurodegeneration through two mechanisms: accumulation of glutamate receptors, leading to excitotoxicity, and impaired clearance of neurotoxic dipeptide repeat proteins derived from the repeat expansion. Thus, cooperativity between gain- and loss-of-function mechanisms led to neurodegeneration. Restoring C9ORF72 levels or augmenting its function with constitutively active RAB5 or chemical modulators of RAB5 effectors rescued patient neuron survival and ameliorated neurodegenerative processes in both gain- and loss-of-function C9ORF72 mouse models. Thus, modulating vesicle trafficking was able to rescue neurodegeneration caused by the C9ORF72 repeat expansion. Coupled with rare mutations in ALS2, FIG4, CHMP2B, OPTN and SQSTM1, our results reveal mechanistic convergence on vesicle trafficking in ALS and FTD.