MiRNAmotif-A Tool for the Prediction of Pre-miRNA?Protein Interactions.
ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding post-transcriptional gene regulators. In mammalian cells, mature miRNAs are produced from primary precursors (pri-miRNAs) using canonical protein machinery, which includes Drosha/DGCR8 and Dicer, or the non-canonical mirtron pathway. In plant cells, mature miRNAs are excised from pri-miRNAs by the DICER-LIKE1 (DCL1) protein complex. The involvement of multiple regulatory proteins that bind directly to distinct miRNA precursors in a sequence- or structure-dependent manner adds to the complexity of the miRNA maturation process. Here, we present a web server that enables searches for miRNA precursors that can be recognized by diverse RNA-binding proteins based on known sequence motifs to facilitate the identification of other proteins involved in miRNA biogenesis. The database used by the web server contains known human, murine, and Arabidopsis thaliana pre-miRNAs. The web server can also be used to predict new RNA-binding protein motifs based on a list of user-provided sequences. We show examples of miRNAmotif applications, presenting precursors that contain motifs recognized by Lin28, MCPIP1, and DGCR8 and predicting motifs within pre-miRNA precursors that are recognized by two DEAD-box helicases-DDX1 and DDX17. miRNAmotif is released as an open-source software under the MIT License. The code is available at GitHub (www.github.com/martynaut/mirnamotif). The webserver is freely available at http://mirnamotif.ibch.poznan.pl.
Project description:Drosha is a type III RNase, which plays a critical role in miRNA biogenesis. Drosha and its double-stranded RNA-binding partner protein Pasha/DGCR8 likely recognize and cleave miRNA precursor RNAs or pri-miRNA hairpins cotranscriptionally. To identify RNAs processed by Drosha, we used tiling microarrays to examine transcripts after depletion of drosha mRNA with dsRNA in Drosophila Schneider S2 cells. This strategy identified 137 Drosha-regulated RNAs, including 11 putative pri-miRNAs comprising 15 annotated miRNAs. Most of the identified pri-miRNAs seem extremely large, >10 kb as revealed by both the Drosha knock-down strategy and by RNA PolII chromatin IP followed by Drosophila tiling microarrays. Surprisingly, more than a hundred additional RNAs not annotated as miRNAs are under Drosha control and are likely to be direct targets of Drosha action. This is because many of them encode annotated genes, and unlike bona fide pri-miRNAs, they are not affected by depletion of the miRNA processing factor, dicer-1. Moreover, application of the evofold analysis software indicates that at least 25 of the Drosha-regulated RNAs contain evolutionarily conserved hairpins similar to those recognized by the Drosha-Pasha/DGCR8 complex in pri-miRNAs. One of these hairpins is located in the 5' UTR of both pasha and mammalian DGCR8. These observations suggest that a negative feedback loop acting on pasha mRNA may regulate the miRNA-biogenesis pathway: i.e., excess Drosha cleaves pasha/DGCR8 primary transcripts and leads to a reduction in pasha/DGCR8 mRNA levels and Pasha/DGCR8 synthesis.
Project description:DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8) is essential for primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) processing in the cell nucleus. It specifically combines with Drosha, a nuclear RNase III enzyme, to form the Microprocessor complex (MC) that cleaves pri-miRNA to precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA), which is further processed to mature miRNA by Dicer, a cytoplasmic RNase III enzyme. Increasing evidences suggest that pri-/pre-miRNAs have direct functions in regulation of gene expression, however the underlying mechanism how it is fine-tuned remains unclear. Here we find that DGCR8 is modified by SUMO1 at the major site K(707), which can be promoted by its ERK-activated phosphorylation. SUMOylation of DGCR8 enhances the protein stability by preventing the degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. More importantly, SUMOylation of DGCR8 does not alter its association with Drosha, the MC activity and miRNA biogenesis, but rather influences its affinity with pri-miRNAs. This altered affinity of DGCR8 with pri-miRNAs seems to control the direct functions of pri-miRNAs in recognition and repression of the target mRNAs, which is evidently linked to the DGCR8 function in regulation of tumorigenesis and cell migration. Collectively, our data suggest a novel mechanism that SUMOylation of DGCR8 controls direct functions of pri-miRNAs in gene silencing.
Project description:DGCR8 (DiGeorge Critical Region 8) is an essential microRNA (miRNA) processing protein that recognizes primary transcripts of miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) and triggers their cleavage by the Drosha nuclease. We previously found that Fe(III) heme binds and activates DGCR8. Here we report that in HeLa cells, DGCR8 undergoes two proteolytic events that produce two C-terminal fragments called DGCR8(C1) and DGCR8(C2) , respectively. DGCR8(C2) accumulates during apoptosis and is generated through cleavage by a caspase. The caspase cleavage site is located in the central loop of the heme-binding domain. Cleavage of DGCR8 by caspase-3 in vitro results in loss of the otherwise tightly bound Fe(III) heme cofactor, dissociation of the N- and C-terminal proteolytic fragments, and inhibition of the pri-miRNA processing activity. These results reveal an intrinsic mechanism in the DGCR8 protein that seems to have evolved for regulating miRNA processing via association with Fe(III) heme and proteolytic cleavage by caspases. Decreased expression of miRNAs has been observed in apoptotic cells, and this change was attributed to caspase-mediated cleavage of a down-stream miRNA processing nuclease Dicer. We suggest that both the Drosha and Dicer cleavage steps of the miRNA maturation pathway may be inhibited in apoptosis and other biological processes where caspases are activated.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate translational repression or degradation of their target messenger RNAs by RNA interference (RNAi). The primary transcripts of miRNA genes (pri-miRNAs) are sequentially processed by the nuclear Drosha-DGCR8 complex to approximately 60-70 nucleotide (nt) intermediates (pre-miRNAs) and then by the cytoplasmic Dicer-TRBP complex to approximately 20-22 nt mature miRNAs. Certain pri-miRNAs are subject to RNA editing that converts adenosine to inosine (A --> I RNA editing); however, the fate of edited pri-miRNAs is mostly unknown. Here, we provide evidence that RNA editing of pri-miR-151 results in complete blockage of its cleavage by Dicer and accumulation of edited pre-miR-151 RNAs. Our results indicate that A --> I conversion at two specific positions of the pre-miRNA foldback structure can affect its interaction with the Dicer-TRBP complex, showing a new regulatory role of A --> I RNA editing in miRNA biogenesis.
Project description:Canonical primary microRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) are characterized by a ?30 bp hairpin flanked by single-stranded regions. These pri-miRNAs are recognized and cleaved by the Microprocessor complex consisting of the Drosha nuclease and its obligate RNA-binding partner DGCR8. It is not well understood how the Microprocessor specifically recognizes pri-miRNA substrates. Here, we show that in addition to the well-known double-stranded RNA-binding domains, DGCR8 uses a dimeric heme-binding domain to directly contact pri-miRNAs. This RNA-binding heme domain (Rhed) directs two DGCR8 dimers to bind each pri-miRNA hairpin. The two Rhed-binding sites are located at both ends of the hairpin. The Rhed and its RNA-binding surface are important for pri-miRNA processing activity. Additionally, the heme cofactor is required for formation of processing-competent DGCR8-pri-miRNA complexes. Our study reveals a unique protein-RNA interaction central to pri-miRNA recognition. We propose a unifying model in which two DGCR8 dimers clamp a pri-miRNA hairpin using their Rheds.
Project description:The Microprocessor complex, consisting of an RNase III DROSHA and the DGCR8 dimer, cleaves primary microRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) to initiate microRNA (miRNA) maturation. Pri-miRNAs are stem-loop RNAs, and ∼79% of them contain at least one of the three major and conserved RNA motifs, UG, UGU, and CNNC. We recently demonstrated that the basal UG and apical UGU motifs of pri-miRNAs interact with DROSHA and DGCR8, respectively. They help orient Microprocessor on pri-miRNA in a proper direction in which DROSHA and DGCR8 localize to the basal and apical pri-miRNA junctions, respectively. In addition, CNNC, located at ∼17 nucleotides (nt) from the Microprocessor cleavage site, interacts with SRSF3 (SRp20) to stimulate Microprocessor to process pri-miRNAs. The mechanism underlying this stimulation, however, is unknown. In this study, we discovered that SRSF3 recruits DROSHA to the basal junction in a CNNC-dependent manner, thereby enhancing Microprocessor activity. Furthermore, by generating various pri-miRNA substrates containing CNNC at different locations, we demonstrated that such stimulation only occurs when CNNC is located at ∼17 nt from the Microprocessor cleavage site. Our findings reveal the molecular mechanism of SRSF3 in pri-miRNA processing and support the previously proposed explanation for the highly conserved position of CNNC in SRSF3-enhanced pri-miRNA processing.
Project description:microRNAs (miRNAs) are a large family of 21- to 22-nucleotide non-coding RNAs that interact with target mRNAs at specific sites to induce cleavage of the message or inhibit translation. miRNAs are excised in a stepwise process from primary miRNA (pri-miRNA) transcripts. The Drosha-Pasha/DGCR8 complex in the nucleus cleaves pri-miRNAs to release hairpin-shaped precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs). These pre-miRNAs are then exported to the cytoplasm and further processed by Dicer to mature miRNAs. Here we show that Drosophila Dicer-1 interacts with Loquacious, a double-stranded RNA-binding domain protein. Depletion of Loquacious results in pre-miRNA accumulation in Drosophila S2 cells, as is the case for depletion of Dicer-1. Immuno-affinity purification experiments revealed that along with Dicer-1, Loquacious resides in a functional pre-miRNA processing complex, and stimulates and directs the specific pre-miRNA processing activity. These results support a model in which Loquacious mediates miRNA biogenesis and, thereby, the expression of genes regulated by miRNAs.
Project description:Recent evidence indicates that the miRNA biogenesis factors DROSHA, DGCR8, and DICER exert non-overlapping functions, and have also roles in miRNA-independent regulatory mechanisms. However, it is currently unknown whether miRNA-independent functions of DGCR8 play any role in the maintenance of neuronal progenitors and during corticogenesis. Here, by phenotypic comparison of cortices from conditional Dgcr8 and Dicer knockout mice, we show that Dgcr8 deletion, in contrast to Dicer depletion, leads to premature differentiation of neural progenitor cells and overproduction of TBR1-positive neurons. Remarkably, depletion of miRNAs upon DCGR8 loss is reduced compared to DICER loss, indicating that these phenotypic differences are mediated by miRNA-independent functions of DGCR8. We show that Dgcr8 mutations induce an earlier and stronger phenotype in the developing nervous system compared to Dicer mutants and that miRNA-independent functions of DGCR8 are critical for corticogenesis. Finally, our data also suggest that the Microprocessor complex, with DROSHA and DGCR8 as core components, directly regulates the Tbr1 transcript, containing evolutionarily conserved hairpins that resemble miRNA precursors, independently of miRNAs.
Project description:Primary transcripts of certain microRNA (miRNA) genes (pri-miRNAs) are subject to RNA editing that converts adenosine to inosine (A-->I RNA editing). However, the frequency of the pri-miRNA editing and the fate of edited pri-miRNAs remain largely to be determined. Examination of already known pri-miRNA editing sites indicated that adenosine residues of the UAG triplet sequence might be edited more frequently. In the present study, therefore, we conducted a large-scale survey of human pri-miRNAs containing the UAG triplet sequence. By direct sequencing of RT-PCR products corresponding to pri-miRNAs, we examined 209 pri-miRNAs and identified 43 UAG and also 43 non-UAG editing sites in 47 pri-miRNAs, which were highly edited in human brain. In vitro miRNA processing assay using recombinant Drosha-DGCR8 and Dicer-TRBP (the human immuno deficiency virus transactivating response RNA-binding protein) complexes revealed that a majority of pri-miRNA editing is likely to interfere with the miRNA processing steps. In addition, four new edited miRNAs with altered seed sequences were identified by targeted cloning and sequencing of the miRNAs that would be processed from edited pri-miRNAs. Our studies predict that approximately 16% of human pri-miRNAs are subject to A-->I editing and, thus, miRNA editing could have a large impact on the miRNA-mediated gene silencing.
Project description:DGCR8/Pasha is an essential cofactor for Drosha, a nuclear RNase III that cleaves the local hairpin structures embedded in long primary microRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) in eukaryotes. Although our knowledge of pri-miRNA processing has significantly advanced in recent years, the precise role of DGCR8 in this pathway remains unclear. In our present study, we dissect the domains in DGCR8 that contribute to the processing of pri-miRNAs and the subcellular localization of DGCR8. Drosha is stabilized through an interaction between its middle domain and the conserved C-terminal domain of DGCR8. Furthermore, DGCR8, but not Drosha, can directly and stably interact with pri-miRNAs, and the tandem dsRNA-binding domains (dsRBDs) in DGCR8 are responsible for this recognition. Moreover, the DGCR8 N-terminal region upstream of its dsRBDs is unnecessary for pri-miRNA processing but is critical for nuclear localization. Our study thus provides further insights into the mechanism of action of the Drosha-DGCR8 complex in pri-miRNA processing.