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RNA Directed Modulation of Phenotypic Plasticity in Human Cells.


ABSTRACT: Natural selective processes have been known to drive phenotypic plasticity, which is the emergence of different phenotypes from one genome following environmental stimulation. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been observed to modulate transcriptional and epigenetic states of genes in human cells. We surmised that lncRNAs are governors of phenotypic plasticity and drive natural selective processes through epigenetic modulation of gene expression. Using heat shocked human cells as a model we find several differentially expressed transcripts with the top candidates being lncRNAs derived from retro-elements. One particular retro-element derived transcripts, Retro-EIF2S2, was found to be abundantly over-expressed in heat shocked cells. Over-expression of Retro-EIF2S2 significantly enhanced cell viability and modulated a predisposition for an adherent cellular phenotype upon heat shock. Mechanistically, we find that this retro-element derived transcript interacts directly with a network of proteins including 40S ribosomal protein S30 (FAU), Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (EIF5A), and Ubiquitin-60S ribosomal protein L40 (UBA52) to affect protein modulated cell adhesion pathways. We find one motif in Retro-EIF2S2 that exhibits binding to FAU and modulates phenotypic cell transitions from adherent to suspension states. The observations presented here suggest that retroviral derived transcripts actively modulate phenotypic plasticity in human cells in response to environmental selective pressures and suggest that natural selection may play out through the action of retro-elements in human cells.

SUBMITTER: Trakman L 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4833343 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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