Alternative miRNAs? Human sequences misidentified as plant miRNAs in plant studies and in human plasma.
ABSTRACT: Background: A 2017 study reported that "Plant miRNAs found in human circulating system provide evidences of cross kingdom RNAi". Analysis of two human blood plasma sequencing datasets was said to provide evidence for uptake of plant miRNAs into human plasma. The results were also purportedly inconsistent with contamination. Methods: Sequences from public datasets and miRNA databases were compared with results downloaded from the website of the reporting journal. Results: Only one putative plant miRNA ("peu-MIR2910) mapped consistently above background, and this sequence is found with 100% identity in a human rRNA. Several other rarer but consistently mapped putative plant miRNAs also have 100% or near 100% matches to human transcripts or genomic sequences, and some do not appear to map to plant genomes at all. Conclusions: Reanalysis of public data suggests that dietary plant xenomiR uptake is not supported, but instead confirms previous findings that detection of rare plant miRNAs in mammalian sequencing datasets is artifactual. Some putative plant miRNAs, including MIR2910 and MIR2911, may represent human sequence contamination or other artifacts in plant studies, emphasizing the need for rigorous controls and data filtering strategies when assessing possible xenomiRNAs.
Project description:SCOPE:The uptake of dietary plant small RNAs (sRNAs) in consumers remains controversial, which is mainly due to low dietary content in combination with poor fractional absorption. MIR2911, among all the plant sRNAs including microRNAs, has been shown to be one of the most robustly absorbed sRNAs. Here we analyze the unusual abundance and unique genesis of MIR2911 during vegetable processing. METHODS AND RESULTS:Using qRT-PCR, the abundance of MIR2911 increased dramatically in macerated tissues while other microRNAs degraded. The accumulation of MIR2911 correlated with the degradation of the rRNAs, consistent with MIR2911 being derived from the 26S rRNA. Bioinformatic analysis predicts a microRNA-like precursor structure for MIR2911; however, no reciprocal increase in the putative star-strand was noted, and using an Arabidopsis mutation deficient in miRNA processing the accumulation of MIR2911 appeared Dicer independent. MIR2911 was incorporated into the mammalian RNA-induced silencing complex as demonstrated in HEK293T cells, where transfected synthetic MIR2911 modestly suppressed the activity of a cognate luciferase reporter. CONCLUSION:The genesis and amplification of MIR2911 post-harvest is atypical, as traditional plant bioactives are less plentiful as vegetables lose freshness. These findings offer an explanation to the disparity in serum detection between MIR2911 and canonical plant-based miRNAs.
Project description:Transgenic expression of small RNAs is a prevalent approach in agrobiotechnology for the global enhancement of plant foods. Meanwhile, emerging studies have, on the one hand, emphasized the potential of transgenic microRNAs (miRNAs) as novel dietary therapeutics and, on the other, suggested potential food safety issues if harmful miRNAs are absorbed and bioactive. For these reasons, it is necessary to evaluate the bioavailability of transgenic miRNAs in genetically modified crops.As a pilot study, two transgenic Arabidopsis lines ectopically expressing unique miRNAs were compared and contrasted with the plant bioavailable small RNA MIR2911 for digestive stability and serum bioavailability. The expression levels of these transgenic miRNAs in Arabidopsis were found to be comparable to that of MIR2911 in fresh tissues. Assays of digestive stability in vitro and in vivo suggested the transgenic miRNAs and MIR2911 had comparable resistance to degradation. Healthy mice consuming diets rich in Arabidopsis lines expressing these miRNAs displayed MIR2911 in the bloodstream but no detectable levels of the transgenic miRNAs.These preliminary results imply digestive stability and high expression levels of miRNAs in plants do not readily equate to bioavailability. This initial work suggests novel engineering strategies be employed to enhance miRNA bioavailability when attempting to use transgenic foods as a delivery platform.
Project description:The mechanisms of delivery of plant small RNAs to consumers must be investigated in order to harness this technology to positively impact biotechnology. Two groups have used honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) feeding regimes to detect a plant-based small RNA, termed MIR2911, in sera. Meanwhile, numerous groups have failed to detect dietary plant-based small RNAs in consumers. Here we catalog levels of MIR2911 in different herbs, and suggest that in particular herb MIR2911 levels are elevated. Feeding these different herb-based diets to mice, we found MIR2911 levels in the sera and urine were associated with dietary intake levels. Abundance was not the sole determinate of apparent RNA bioavailability, as gavage-feeding large-doses of synthetic MIR2911 permitted only small transient increases in serum levels. Dietary MIR2911 were not modified in circulation by association with the host's RNA-induced silencing complex, as the RNA did not co-immunoprecipitate with AGO2. The stability of dietary MIR2911 in circulation differed from synthesized small RNAs, as tail vein administration of various synthetic plant-based small RNAs resulted in rapid clearance. However, synthetic MIR2911 appeared to be more stable than the other plant miRNAs tested. Notably, this uptake of dietary MIR2911 was not related to perturbations in the host's microbiome or gut permeability. We suggest dietary uptake of MIR2911 is commonplace in healthy consumers, and reproducible detection of plant-based small RNAs in consumers depends on dietary abundance, RNA stability and digestion from within the food-matrix.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Plants contain significant quantities of small RNAs (sRNAs) derived from various sRNA biogenesis pathways. Many of these sRNAs play regulatory roles in plants. Previous analysis revealed that numerous sRNAs in corn, rice and soybean seeds have high sequence similarity to animal genes. However, exogenous RNA is considered to be unstable within the gastrointestinal tract of many animals, thus limiting potential for any adverse effects from consumption of dietary RNA. A recent paper reported that putative plant miRNAs were detected in animal plasma and serum, presumably acquired through ingestion, and may have a functional impact in the consuming organisms. RESULTS: To address the question of how common this phenomenon could be, we searched for plant miRNAs sequences in public sRNA datasets from various tissues of mammals, chicken and insects. Our analyses revealed that plant miRNAs were present in the animal sRNA datasets, and significantly miR168 was extremely over-represented. Furthermore, all or nearly all (>96%) miR168 sequences were monocot derived for most datasets, including datasets for two insects reared on dicot plants in their respective experiments. To investigate if plant-derived miRNAs, including miR168, could accumulate and move systemically in insects, we conducted insect feeding studies for three insects including corn rootworm, which has been shown to be responsive to plant-produced long double-stranded RNAs. CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses suggest that the observed plant miRNAs in animal sRNA datasets can originate in the process of sequencing, and that accumulation of plant miRNAs via dietary exposure is not universal in animals.
Project description:The report that exogenous plant miRNAs are able to cross the mammalian gastrointestinal tract and exert gene-regulation mechanism in mammalian tissues has yielded a lot of controversy, both in the public press and the scientific literature. Despite the initial enthusiasm, reproducibility of these results was recently questioned by several authors. To analyze the causes of this unease, we searched for diet-derived miRNAs in deep-sequencing libraries performed by ourselves and others. We found variable amounts of plant miRNAs in publicly available small RNA-seq data sets of human tissues. In human spermatozoa, exogenous RNAs reached extreme, biologically meaningless levels. On the contrary, plant miRNAs were not detected in our sequencing of human sperm cells, which was performed in the absence of any known sources of plant contamination. We designed an experiment to show that cross-contamination during library preparation is a source of exogenous RNAs. These contamination-derived exogenous sequences even resisted oxidation with sodium periodate. To test the assumption that diet-derived miRNAs were actually contamination-derived, we sought in the literature for previous sequencing reports performed by the same group which reported the initial finding. We analyzed the spectra of plant miRNAs in a small RNA sequencing study performed in amphioxus by this group in 2009 and we found a very strong correlation with the plant miRNAs which they later reported in human sera. Even though contamination with exogenous sequences may be easy to detect, cross-contamination between samples from the same organism can go completely unnoticed, possibly affecting conclusions derived from NGS transcriptomics.
Project description:Impactful dietary RNA delivery requires improving uptake and enhancing digestive stability. In mouse feeding regimes, we have demonstrated that a plant-based ribosomal RNA (rRNA), MIR2911, is more bioavailable than synthetic MIR2911 or canonical microRNAs (miRNAs). Here mutagenesis was used to discern if MIR2911 has a distinctive sequence that aids stability and uptake. Various mutations had modest impacts while one scrambled sequence displayed significantly enhanced digestive stability, serum stability, and bioavailability. To assess if small RNA (sRNA) bioavailability in mice could be improved by increasing gut permeability, various diets, genetic backgrounds and pharmacological methods were surveyed. An intraperitoneal injection of anti-CD3 antibody enhanced gut permeability which correlated with improved uptake of the digestively stable scrambled MIR2911 variant. However, the bioavailability of canonical miRNAs was not enhanced. Similarly, interleukin-10 (IL-10)-deficient mice and mice treated with aspirin displayed enhanced gut permeability that did not enhance uptake of most plant-based sRNAs. This work supports a model where dietary RNAs are vulnerable to digestion and altering gut permeability alone will not impact apparent bioavailability. We suggest that some dietary sRNA may be more digestively stable and methods to broadly increase sRNA uptake requires delivery vehicles to optimize gut and serum stability in the consumer.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a set of short (19?24 nt) non-coding RNAs that play significant roles as posttranscriptional regulators in animals and plants. The ab initio prediction methods show excellent performance for discovering new pre-miRNAs. While most of these methods can distinguish real pre-miRNAs from pseudo pre-miRNAs, few can predict the positions of miRNAs. Among the existing methods that can also predict the miRNA positions, most of them are designed for mammalian miRNAs, including human and mouse. Minority of methods can predict the positions of plant miRNAs. Accurate prediction of the miRNA positions remains a challenge, especially for plant miRNAs. This motivates us to develop MaturePred, a machine learning method based on support vector machine, to predict the positions of plant miRNAs for the new plant pre-miRNA candidates.A miRNA:miRNA* duplex is regarded as a whole to capture the binding characteristics of miRNAs. We extract the position-specific features, the energy related features, the structure related features, and stability related features from real/pseudo miRNA:miRNA* duplexes. A set of informative features are selected to improve the prediction accuracy. Two-stage sample selection algorithm is proposed to combat the serious imbalance problem between real and pseudo miRNA:miRNA* duplexes. The prediction method, MaturePred, can accurately predict plant miRNAs and achieve higher prediction accuracy compared with the existing methods. Further, we trained a prediction model with animal data to predict animal miRNAs. The model also achieves higher prediction performance. It further confirms the efficiency of our miRNA prediction method.The superior performance of the proposed prediction model can be attributed to the extracted features of plant miRNAs and miRNA*s, the selected training dataset, and the carefully selected features. The web service of MaturePred, the training datasets, the testing datasets, and the selected features are freely available at http://nclab.hit.edu.cn/maturepred/.
Project description:Inconsistent detection of plant-based dietary small RNAs in circulation has thwarted the use of dietary RNA therapeutics. Here we demonstrate mice consuming diets rich in vegetables displayed enhanced serum levels of the plant specific small RNA MIR2911. Differential centrifugation, size-exclusion chromatography, and proteinase K treatment of plant extracts suggest this RNA resides within a proteinase K-sensitive complex. Plant derived MIR2911 was more bioavailable than the synthetic RNA. Furthermore, MIR2911 exhibited unusual digestive stability compared with other synthetic plant microRNAs. The characteristics of circulating MIR2911 were also unusual as it was not associated with exosomes and fractionated as a soluble complex that was insensitive to proteinase K treatment, consistent with MIR2911 being stabilized by modifications conferred by the host. These results indicate that intrinsic stability and plant-based modifications orchestrate consumer uptake of this anomalous plant based small RNA and invite revisiting plant-based microRNA therapeutic approaches.
Project description:The endogenous small non-coding micro RNAs (miRNAs), which are typically ~21-24 nt nucleotides, play a crucial role in regulating the intrinsic normal growth of cells and development of the plants as well as in maintaining the integrity of genomes. These small non-coding RNAs function as the universal specificity factors in post-transcriptional gene silencing. Discovering miRNAs, identifying their targets, and further inferring miRNA functions is a routine process to understand normal biological processes of miRNAs and their roles in the development of plants. Comparative genomics based approach using expressed sequence tags (EST) and genome survey sequences (GSS) offer a cost-effective platform for identification and characterization of miRNAs and their target genes in plants. Despite the fact that sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is an important staple food source for poor small farmers throughout the world, the role of miRNA in various developmental processes remains largely unknown. In this paper, we report the computational identification of miRNAs and their target genes in sweet potato from their ESTs. Using comparative genomics-based approach, 8 potential miRNA candidates belonging to miR168, miR2911, and miR156 families were identified from 23 406 ESTs in sweet potato. A total of 42 target genes were predicted and their probable functions were illustrated. Most of the newly identified miRNAs target transcription factors as well as genes involved in plant growth and development, signal transduction, metabolism, defense, and stress response. The identification of miRNAs and their targets is expected to accelerate the pace of miRNA discovery, leading to an improved understanding of the role of miRNA in development and physiology of sweet potato, as well as stress response.
Project description:Wheat is one of the main food sources worldwide; large amount studies have been conducted to improve wheat production. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) with about 20-30 nucleotide are a class of regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs), which could regulate gene expression through sequence-specific base pairing with target mRNAs, playing important roles in plant growth. An ideal plant architecture (IPA) is crucial to enhance yield in bread wheat. In this study, the high-yield wheat strain Yunong 3114 was EMS-mutagenesis from the wild-type strain Yunong 201, exhibiting a preferable plant structure compared with the wild-type strain. We constructed small RNA and degradome libraries from Yunong 201 and Yunong 3114, and performed small RNA sequencing of these libraries in order identify miRNAs and their targets related to IPA in wheat. Totally, we identified 488 known and 837 novel miRNAs from Yunong 3114 and 391 known and 533 novel miRNAs from Yunong 201. The number of miRNAs in the mutant increased. A total of 37 known and 432 putative novel miRNAs were specifically expressed in the mutant strain; furthermore, 23 known and 159 putative novel miRNAs were specifically expressed in the wild-type strain. A total of 150 known and 100 novel miRNAs were differentially expressed between mutant and wild-type strains. Among these differentially expressed novel miRNAs, 4 and 8 predict novel miRNAs were evidenced by degradome sequencing and showed up-regulated and down-regulated expressions in the mutant strain Yunong 3114, respectively. Targeted gene annotation and previous results indicated that this set of miRNAs is related to plant structure. Our results further suggested that miRNAs may be necessary to obtain an optimal wheat structure.