Project description:Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several low-penetrance susceptibility alleles in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Nevertheless, these studies scarcely study regions that are implicated in non-coding molecules such as microRNAs (miRNAs). Abnormalities in miRNAs, as altered expression patterns and mutations, have been described in CLL, suggesting their implication in the development of the disease. Genetic variations in miRNAs can affect levels of miRNA expression if present in pre-miRNAs and in miRNA biogenesis genes or alter miRNA function if present in both target mRNA and miRNA sequences. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate whether polymorphisms in pre-miRNAs, and/or miRNA processing genes contribute to predisposition for CLL. A total of 91 SNPs in 107 CLL patients and 350 cancer-free controls were successfully analyzed using TaqMan Open Array technology. We found nine statistically significant associations with CLL risk after FDR correction, seven in miRNA processing genes (rs3805500 and rs6877842 in DROSHA, rs1057035 in DICER1, rs17676986 in SND1, rs9611280 in TNRC6B, rs784567 in TRBP and rs11866002 in CNOT1) and two in pre-miRNAs (rs11614913 in miR196a2 and rs2114358 in miR1206). These findings suggest that polymorphisms in genes involved in miRNAs biogenesis pathway as well as in pre-miRNAs contribute to the risk of CLL. Large-scale studies are needed to validate the current findings.
Project description:Wilms tumour is the most common childhood kidney cancer. Here we report the whole-exome sequencing of 44 Wilms tumours, identifying missense mutations in the microRNA (miRNA)-processing enzymes DROSHA and DICER1, and novel mutations in MYCN, SMARCA4 and ARID1A. Examination of tumour miRNA expression, in vitro processing assays and genomic editing in human cells demonstrates that DICER1 and DROSHA mutations influence miRNA processing through distinct mechanisms. DICER1 RNase IIIB mutations preferentially impair processing of miRNAs deriving from the 5'-arm of pre-miRNA hairpins, while DROSHA RNase IIIB mutations globally inhibit miRNA biogenesis through a dominant-negative mechanism. Both DROSHA and DICER1 mutations impair expression of tumour-suppressing miRNAs, including the let-7 family, important regulators of MYCN, LIN28 and other Wilms tumour oncogenes. These results provide new insights into the mechanisms through which mutations in miRNA biogenesis components reprogramme miRNA expression in human cancer and suggest that these defects define a distinct subclass of Wilms tumours.
Project description:Super-enhancers are an emerging subclass of regulatory regions controlling cell identity and disease genes. However, their biological function and impact on miRNA networks are unclear. Here, we report that super-enhancers drive the biogenesis of master miRNAs crucial for cell identity by enhancing both transcription and Drosha/DGCR8-mediated primary miRNA (pri-miRNA) processing. Super-enhancers, together with broad H3K4me3 domains, shape a tissue-specific and evolutionarily conserved atlas of miRNA expression and function. CRISPR/Cas9 genomics revealed that super-enhancer constituents act cooperatively and facilitate Drosha/DGCR8 recruitment and pri-miRNA processing to boost cell-specific miRNA production. The BET-bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 preferentially inhibits super-enhancer-directed cotranscriptional pri-miRNA processing. Furthermore, super-enhancers are characterized by pervasive interaction with DGCR8/Drosha and DGCR8/Drosha-regulated mRNA stability control, suggesting unique RNA regulation at super-enhancers. Finally, super-enhancers mark multiple miRNAs associated with cancer hallmarks. This study presents principles underlying miRNA biology in health and disease and an unrecognized higher-order property of super-enhancers in RNA processing beyond transcription.
Project description:Global mature microRNA (miRNA) expression is downregulated in cancers, and impaired miRNA processing enhances cancer cell proliferation. These findings indicate that the miRNA system generally serves as a negative regulator during cancer progression. In this study, we investigated the role of the miRNA system in cancer cell invasion by determining the effect of damaging miRNA processing on invasion-essential urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) expression in breast cancer cells. Short hairpin RNAs specific for Drosha, DGCR8, and Dicer, key components of miRNA processing machinery, were introduced into 2 breast cancer cell lines with high uPA expression and 2 lines with poor uPA expression. Knockdown of Drosha, DGCR8, or Dicer led to even higher uPA expression in cells with high uPA expression, while it was unable to increase uPA level in cells with poor uPA expression, suggesting that the miRNA system most likely impacts uPA expression as a facilitator. In cells with high uPA expression, knockdown of Drosha, DGCR8, or Dicer substantially increased in vitro invasion, and depleting uPA abrogated enhanced invasion. These results thus link the augmented invasion conferred by impaired miRNA processing to upregulated uPA expression. uPA mRNA was a direct target of miR-193a/b and miR-181a, and a higher uPA level in cells with impaired miRNA processing resulted from less mature miR-193a/b and miR-181a processed from their respective primary miRNAs. Importantly, the levels of mature miR-193a, miR-193b, and miR-181a, but not their respective primary miRNAs, were lower in high uPA-expressing cells compared to cells with low uPA expression, and this apparently attributed to lower Drosha/DGCR8 expression in high uPA-expressing cells. This study suggests that less efficient miRNA processing can be a mechanism responsible for reduced levels of mature forms of tumor-suppressive miRNAs frequently detected in cancers.
Project description:Drosha is a key enzyme in microRNA biogenesis, generating the precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA) by excising the stem-loop embedded in the primary transcripts (pri-miRNA). The specificity for the pri-miRNAs and determination of the cleavage site are provided by its binding partner DGCR8, which is necessary for efficient processing. The crucial Drosha domains for pri-miRNA cleavage are the middle part, the two enzymatic RNase III domains (RIIID), and the dsRNA binding domain (dsRBD) in the C-terminus. Here, we identify alternatively spliced transcripts in human melanoma and NT2 cell lines, encoding C-terminally truncated Drosha proteins lacking part of the RIIIDb and the entire dsRBD. Proteins generated from these alternative splice variants fail to bind to DGCR8 but still interact with Ewing sarcoma protein (EWS). In vitro as well as in vivo, the Drosha splice variants are deficient in pri-miRNA processing. However, the aberrant transcripts in melanoma cells do not consistently reduce mature miRNA levels compared with melanoma cell lines lacking those splice variants, possibly owing to their limited abundance. Our findings show that alternative processing-deficient Drosha splice variants exist in melanoma cells. In elevated amounts, these alternatively spliced transcripts could provide one potential mechanism accounting for the deregulation of miRNAs in cancer cells. On the basis of our results, the search for alternative inactive splice variants might be fruitful in different tumor entities to unravel the molecular basis of the previously observed decreased microRNA processing efficiency in cancer.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate key biological processes and their aberrant expression may lead to cancer. The primary transcript of canonical miRNAs is sequentially cleaved by the RNase III enzymes, Drosha and Dicer, which generate 5' monophosphate ends that are important for subsequent miRNA functions. In particular, the recognition of the 5' monophosphate of pre-miRNAs by Dicer is important for precise and effective biogenesis of miRNAs. Here, we identify a RNA-methyltransferase, BCDIN3D, that O-methylates this 5' monophosphate and negatively regulates miRNA maturation. Specifically, we show that BCDIN3D phospho-dimethylates pre-miR-145 both in vitro and in vivo and that phospho-dimethylated pre-miR-145 displays reduced processing by Dicer in vitro. Consistently, BCDIN3D depletion leads to lower pre-miR-145 and concomitantly increased mature miR-145 levels in breast cancer cells, which suppresses their tumorigenic phenotypes. Together, our results uncover a miRNA methylation pathway potentially involved in cancer that antagonizes the Dicer-dependent processing of miR-145 as well as other miRNAs.
Project description:The c-Myc oncogenic transcription factor is known to regulate microRNA (miRNA) expression at the transcriptional level. However, little is known about the function of c-Myc in miRNA processing. Here, we report that Drosha, one of the most important components of the miRNA processing machinery, is a c-Myc target gene. c-Myc transactivates drosha mRNA expression, thus upregulating the Drosha protein level. A chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiment revealed that c-Myc binds directly to the E-box of the drosha promoter. Both in vitro and in vivo microRNA processing assays demonstrated that c-Myc promotes miRNA processing by upregulating the Drosha expression level. Overall, our study reveals a previously unrecognised function of c-Myc in miRNA processing and provides valuable insight into a new aspect of how c-Myc regulates microRNA expression.
Project description:Genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNAs (miRNA) or in the miRNA binding sites may affect the miRNA dependent gene expression regulation, which has been implicated in various cancers, including breast cancer, and may alter individual susceptibility to cancer. We investigated associations between miRNA related SNPs and breast cancer risk. First we evaluated 2,196 SNPs in a case-control study combining nine genome wide association studies (GWAS). Second, we further investigated 42 SNPs with suggestive evidence for association using 41,785 cases and 41,880 controls from 41 studies included in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Combining the GWAS and BCAC data within a meta-analysis, we estimated main effects on breast cancer risk as well as risks for estrogen receptor (ER) and age defined subgroups. Five miRNA binding site SNPs associated significantly with breast cancer risk: rs1045494 (odds ratio (OR) 0.92; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88-0.96), rs1052532 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95-0.99), rs10719 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94-0.99), rs4687554 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95-0.99, and rs3134615 (OR 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01-1.05) located in the 3' UTR of CASP8, HDDC3, DROSHA, MUSTN1, and MYCL1, respectively. DROSHA belongs to miRNA machinery genes and has a central role in initial miRNA processing. The remaining genes are involved in different molecular functions, including apoptosis and gene expression regulation. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether the miRNA binding site SNPs are the causative variants for the observed risk effects.
Project description:Recent studies suggest that the microprocessor (Drosha-DGCR8) complex can be recruited to chromatin to catalyze co-transcriptional processing of primary microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) in mammalian cells. However, the molecular mechanism of co-transcriptional miRNA processing is poorly understood. Here we find that HP1BP3, a histone H1-like chromatin protein, specifically associates with the microprocessor and promotes global miRNA biogenesis in human cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies reveal genome-wide co-localization of HP1BP3 and Drosha and HP1BP3-dependent Drosha binding to actively transcribed miRNA loci. Moreover, HP1BP3 specifically binds endogenous pri-miRNAs and facilitates the Drosha/pri-miRNA association in vivo. Knockdown of HP1BP3 compromises pri-miRNA processing by causing premature release of pri-miRNAs from the chromatin. Taken together, these studies suggest that HP1BP3 promotes co-transcriptional miRNA processing via chromatin retention of nascent pri-miRNA transcripts. This work significantly expands the functional repertoire of the H1 family of proteins and suggests the existence of chromatin retention factors for widespread co-transcriptional miRNA processing.
Project description:Wilms tumour (WT) is an embryonal kidney neoplasia for which very few driver genes have been identified. Here we identify DROSHA mutations in 12% of WT samples (26/222) using whole-exome sequencing and targeted sequencing of 10 microRNA (miRNA)-processing genes. A recurrent mutation (E1147K) affecting a metal-binding residue of the RNase IIIb domain is detected in 81% of the DROSHA-mutated tumours. In addition, we identify non-recurrent mutations in other genes of this pathway (DGCR8, DICER1, XPO5 and TARBP2). By assessing the miRNA expression pattern of the DROSHA-E1147K-mutated tumours and cell lines expressing this mutation, we determine that this variant leads to a predominant downregulation of a subset of miRNAs. We confirm that the downregulation occurs exclusively in mature miRNAs and not in primary miRNA transcripts, suggesting that the DROSHA E1147K mutation affects processing of primary miRNAs. Our data underscore the pivotal role of the miRNA biogenesis pathway in WT tumorigenesis, particularly the major miRNA-processing gene DROSHA.