Genome-wide, integrative analysis implicates microRNA dysregulation in autism spectrum disorder.
ABSTRACT: Genetic variants conferring risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been identified, but the role of post-transcriptional mechanisms in ASD is not well understood. We performed genome-wide microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling in post-mortem brains from individuals with ASD and controls and identified miRNAs and co-regulated modules that were perturbed in ASD. Putative targets of these ASD-affected miRNAs were enriched for genes that have been implicated in ASD risk. We confirmed regulatory relationships between several miRNAs and their putative target mRNAs in primary human neural progenitors. These include hsa-miR-21-3p, a miRNA of unknown CNS function that is upregulated in ASD and that targets neuronal genes downregulated in ASD, and hsa_can_1002-m, a previously unknown, primate-specific miRNA that is downregulated in ASD and that regulates the epidermal growth factor receptor and fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling pathways involved in neural development and immune function. Our findings support a role for miRNA dysregulation in ASD pathophysiology and provide a rich data set and framework for future analyses of miRNAs in neuropsychiatric diseases.
Project description:Objective:Maternal immune activation (MIA) is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring. Herein, we investigate the altered expression of microRNAs (miRNA), and that of their target genes, in the brains of MIA mouse offspring. Methods:To generate MIA model mice, pregnant mice were injected with polyriboinosinic:polyribocytidylic acid on embryonic day 12.5. We performed miRNA microarray and mRNA sequencing in order to determine the differential expression of miRNA and mRNA between MIA mice and controls, at 3 weeks of age. We further identified predicted target genes of dysregulated miRNAs, and miRNA-target interactions, based on the inverse correlation of their expression levels. Results:Mice prenatally subjected to MIA exhibited behavioral abnormalities typical of ASD, such as a lack of preference for social novelty and reduced prepulse inhibition. We found 29 differentially expressed miRNAs (8 upregulated and 21 downregulated) and 758 differentially expressed mRNAs (542 upregulated and 216 downregulated) in MIA offspring compared to controls. Based on expression levels of the predicted target genes, 18 downregulated miRNAs (340 target genes) and three upregulated miRNAs (60 target genes) were found to be significantly enriched among the differentially expressed genes. miRNA and target gene interactions were most significant between mmu-miR-466i-3p and Hfm1 (ATP-dependent DNA helicase homolog), and between mmu-miR-877-3p and Aqp6 (aquaporin 6). Interpretation:Our results provide novel information regarding miRNA expression changes and their putative targets in the early postnatal period of brain development. Further studies will be needed to evaluate potential pathogenic roles of the dysregulated miRNAs.
Project description:Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders caused by the interaction between genetic vulnerability and environmental factors. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key posttranscriptional regulators involved in multiple aspects of brain development and function. Previous studies have investigated miRNAs expression in ASD using non-neural cells like lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) or postmortem tissues. However, the relevance of LCLs is questionable in the context of a neurodevelopmental disorder, and the impact of the cause of death and/or post-death handling of tissue likely contributes to the variations observed between studies on brain samples.miRNA profiling using TLDA high-throughput real-time qPCR was performed on miRNAs extracted from olfactory mucosal stem cells (OMSCs) biopsied from eight patients and six controls. This tissue is considered as a closer tissue to neural stem cells that could be sampled in living patients and was never investigated for such a purpose before. Real-time PCR was used to validate a set of differentially expressed miRNAs, and bioinformatics analysis determined common pathways and gene targets. Luciferase assays and real-time PCR analysis were used to evaluate the effect of miRNAs misregulation on the expression and translation of several autism-related transcripts. Viral vector-mediated expression was used to evaluate the impact of miRNAs deregulation on neuronal or glial cells functions.We identified a signature of four miRNAs (miR-146a, miR-221, miR-654-5p, and miR-656) commonly deregulated in ASD. This signature is conserved in primary skin fibroblasts and may allow discriminating between ASD and intellectual disability samples. Putative target genes of the differentially expressed miRNAs were enriched for pathways previously associated to ASD, and altered levels of neuronal transcripts targeted by miR-146a, miR-221, and miR-656 were observed in patients' cells. In the mouse brain, miR-146a, and miR-221 display strong neuronal expression in regions important for high cognitive functions, and we demonstrated that reproducing abnormal miR-146a expression in mouse primary cell cultures leads to impaired neuronal dendritic arborization and increased astrocyte glutamate uptake capacities.While independent replication experiments are needed to clarify whether these four miRNAS could serve as early biomarkers of ASD, these findings may have important diagnostic implications. They also provide mechanistic connection between miRNA dysregulation and ASD pathophysiology and may open up new opportunities for therapeutic.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are known to modulate gene expression, but their activity at the tissue-specific level remains largely uncharacterized. To study their contribution to tissue-specific gene expression, we developed novel tools to profile putative miRNA targets in the Caenorhabditis elegans intestine and body muscle. We validated many previously described interactions and identified ?3500 novel targets. Many of the candidate miRNA targets curated are known to modulate the functions of their respective tissues. Within our data sets we observed a disparity in the use of miRNA-based gene regulation between the intestine and body muscle. The intestine contained significantly more putative miRNA targets than the body muscle highlighting its transcriptional complexity. We detected an unexpected enrichment of RNA-binding proteins targeted by miRNA in both tissues, with a notable abundance of RNA splicing factors. We developed in vivo genetic tools to validate and further study three RNA splicing factors identified as putative miRNA targets in our study (asd-2, hrp-2, and smu-2), and show that these factors indeed contain functional miRNA regulatory elements in their 3'UTRs that are able to repress their expression in the intestine. In addition, the alternative splicing pattern of their respective downstream targets (unc-60, unc-52, lin-10, and ret-1) is dysregulated when the miRNA pathway is disrupted. A reannotation of the transcriptome data in C. elegans strains that are deficient in the miRNA pathway from past studies supports and expands on our results. This study highlights an unexpected role for miRNAs in modulating tissue-specific gene isoforms, where post-transcriptional regulation of RNA splicing factors associates with tissue-specific alternative splicing.
Project description:The identification of several evolutionary young miRNAs, which arose in primates, raised several possibilities for the role of such miRNAs in human-specific disease processes. We previously have identified an evolutionary young miRNA, miR-1290, to be essential in neural stem cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Here, we show that miR-1290 is significantly downregulated during neuronal differentiation in reprogrammed induced pluripotent stem cell- (iPSC-) derived neurons obtained from idiopathic autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients. Further, we identified that miR-1290 is actively released into extracellular vesicles. Supplementing ASD patient-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) with conditioned media from differentiated control-NSCs spiked with "artificial EVs" containing synthetic miR-1290 oligonucleotides significantly rescued differentiation deficits in ASD cell lines. Based on our earlier published study and the observations from the data presented here, we conclude that miR-1290 regulation could play a critical role during neuronal differentiation in early brain development.
Project description:There are groups of genes that need coordinated repression in multiple contexts, for example if they code for proteins that work together in a pathway or in a protein complex. Redundancy of biological regulatory networks implies that such coordinated repression might occur at both the pre- and post-transcriptional level, though not necessarily simultaneously or under the same conditions. Here, we propose that such redundancy in the global regulatory network can be detected by the overlap between the putative targets of a transcriptional repressor, as identified by a ChIP-seq experiment, and predicted targets of a microRNA (miRNA). To test this hypothesis, we used publicly available ChIP-seq data of the neural transcriptional repressor RE1 silencing transcription factor (REST) from 15 different cell samples. We found 20 miRNAs, each of which shares a significant amount of predicted targets with REST. The set of predicted associations between these 20 miRNAs and the overlapping REST targets is enriched in known miRNA targets. Many of the detected miRNAs have functions related to neural identity and glioblastoma, which could be expected from their overlap in targets with REST. We propose that the integration of experimentally determined transcription factor binding sites with miRNA-target predictions provides functional information on miRNAs.
Project description:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe neurodevelopmental disease with a high incidence and effective biomarkers are urgently needed for its diagnosis. A few previous studies have reported the detection of miRNA biomarkers for autism diagnosis, especially those based on bioinformatics approaches. In this study, we developed a knowledge-guided bioinformatics model for identifying autism miRNA biomarkers. We downloaded gene expression microarray data from the GEO Database and extracted genes with expression levels that differed in ASD and the controls. We then constructed an autism-specific miRNA-mRNA network and inferred candidate autism biomarker miRNAs based on their regulatory modes and functions. We defined a novel parameter called the autism gene percentage as autism-specific knowledge to further facilitate the identification of autism-specific biomarker miRNAs. Finally, 11 miRNAs were screened as putative autism biomarkers, where eight miRNAs (72.7%) were significantly dysregulated in ASD samples according to previous reports. Functional enrichment results indicated that the targets of the identified miRNAs were enriched in autism-associated pathways, such as Wnt signaling (in KEGG and IPA), cell cycle (in KEGG), and glioblastoma multiforme signaling (in IPA), thereby supporting the predictive power of our model.
Project description:Genetic variants conferring risk for schizophrenia (SCZ) have been extensively studied, but the role of posttranscriptional mechanisms in SCZ is not well studied. Here we performed the first genome-wide microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling in serum-derived exosome from 49 first-episode, drug-free SCZ patients and 46 controls and identified miRNAs and co-regulated modules that were perturbed in SCZ. Putative targets of these SCZ-affected miRNAs were enriched strongly for genes that have been implicated in protein glycosylation and were also related to neurotransmitter receptor and dendrite (spine) development. We validated several differentially expressed blood exosomal miRNAs in 100 SCZ patients as compared with 100 controls by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The potential regulatory relationships between several SCZ-affected miRNAs and their putative target genes were also validated. These include hsa-miR-206, which is the most upregulated miRNA in the blood exosomes of SCZ patients and that previously reported to regulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression, which we showed reduced mRNA and protein levels in the blood of SCZ patients. In addition, we found 11 miRNAs in blood exosomes from the miRNA sequence data that can be used to classify samples from SCZ patients and control subjects with close to 90% accuracy in the training samples, and approximately 75% accuracy in the testing samples. Our findings support a role for exosomal miRNA dysregulation in SCZ pathophysiology and provide a rich data set and framework for future analyses of miRNAs in the disease, and our data also suggest that blood exosomal miRNAs are promising biomarkers for SCZ.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal-recessive pediatric neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective loss of spinal motor neurons. It is caused by mutation in the survival of motor neuron 1, SMN1, gene and leads to loss of function of the full-length SMN protein. microRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that are involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Prior studies have implicated miRNAs in the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease. We hypothesized that motor neuron-specific miRNA expression changes are involved in their selective vulnerability in SMA. Therefore, we sought to determine the effect of SMN loss on miRNAs and their target mRNAs in spinal motor neurons. We used microarray and RNAseq to profile both miRNA and mRNA expression in primary spinal motor neuron cultures after acute SMN knockdown. By integrating the miRNA:mRNA profiles, a number of dysregulated miRNAs were identified with enrichment in differentially expressed putative mRNA targets. miR-431 expression was highly increased, and a number of its putative mRNA targets were significantly downregulated in motor neurons after SMN loss. Further, we found that miR-431 regulates motor neuron neurite length by targeting several molecules previously identified to play a role in motor neuron axon outgrowth, including chondrolectin. Together, our findings indicate that cell-type-specific dysregulation of miR-431 plays a role in the SMA motor neuron phenotype.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs capable of inhibiting gene expression post-transcriptionally and expression profiling can provide therapeutic targets and tools for cancer diagnosis. Chondrosarcoma is a mesenchymal tumor with unknown cause and differentiation status. Here, we profiled miRNA expression of chondrosarcoma, namely clinical samples from human conventional chondrosarcoma tissue, established chondrosarcoma cell lines, and primary non-tumorous adult articular chondrocytes, by miRNA array and quantitative real-time PCR. A wide variety of miRNAs were differently downregulated in chondrosarcoma compared to non-tumorous articular chondrocytes; 27 miRNAs: miR-10b, 23b, 24-1*, 27b, 100, 134, 136, 136*, 138, 181d, 186, 193b, 221*, 222, 335, 337-5p, 376a, 376a*, 376b, 376c, 377, 454, 495, 497, 505, 574-3p, and 660, were significantly downregulated in chondrosarcoma and only 2: miR-96 and 183, were upregulated. We further validated the expression levels of miRNAs by quantitative real-time PCR for miR-181a, let-7a, 100, 222, 136, 376a, and 335 in extended number of chondrosarcoma clinical samples. Among them, all except miR-181a were found to be significantly downregulated in chondrosarcoma derived samples. The findings provide potential diagnostic value and new molecular understanding of chondrosarcoma.
Project description:Our previous research has shown that purified peripheral blood monocytes (PRMo) from individuals who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and have innate immune abnormalities reveal altered interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß)/IL-10 ratios. We also found, in separate studies, that microRNA (miRNA) expression in PBMo and mitochondrial respiration in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) differed in the IL-1ß/IL-10-based ASD subgroups. This study explored whether serum miRNAs are associated with both altered innate immune responses and changes in mitochondrial respiration as a link of regulatory mechanisms for these two common abnormalities in ASD subjects. Serum miRNA levels were examined by high-throughput deep sequencing in ASD and non-ASD control sera with concurrent measurement of PBMo cytokine production and mitochondrial respiration by PBMCs. ASD samples were examined as a whole group and with respect to the previously defined IL-1ß/IL-10-based ASD subgroups (high, normal, and low groups). Serum miRNA levels differed between the overall ASD sera (N = 116) and non-ASD control sera (N = 35) and also differed across the IL-1ß/IL-10-based ASD subgroups. Specifically, miRNA levels were increased and decreased in eight and nine miRNAs, respectively, in the high-ratio ASD subgroup (N = 48). In contrast, the low- (N = 25) and normal- (N = 43) ratio ASD subgroups only showed decreased miRNAs levels (18 and 10 miRNAs, respectively). Gene targets of the altered miRNAs in the high and/or low IL-1?/IL-10 ratio ASD subgroups were enriched in pathways critical for monocyte functions and metabolic regulation. Gene targets of the altered miRNAs in all the ASD subgroups were enriched in pathways of neuronal development and synaptic plasticity, along with cell proliferation/differentiation. ASD subgroup-specific associations were observed between serum miRNA expression and IL-1ß/IL-10 ratios, mitochondrial respiration, and monocyte cytokine profiles (IL-10, CCL2, and TNF-?). In summary, our results indicate that serum levels of select miRNAs may serve as promising biomarkers for screening and monitoring changes in innate immunity and mitochondrial respiration in ASD.