MicroRNA MIMIC binding sites: Minor flanking nucleotide alterations can strongly impact MIMIC silencing efficacy in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: In plants, microRNA (miRNA) target MIMICs (MIMs) have been widely used to inhibit miRNA function. They are based on the Arabidopsis INSENSITIVE TO PHOSPATE STARVATION 1 (IPS1) gene that corresponds to a non-coding RNA containing a miR399 binding site that can be modified to sequester and inhibit any miRNA of interest. However, the efficacy of miRNA inhibition of these different MIMs can vary greatly. Using MIMs that have strong efficacy (MIM159) and poor efficacy (MIM165), we investigate the underlying cause of this variation. Firstly, sequence alignments of IPS1 homologs from the Brassicaceae identified a highly conserved sequence immediately downstream of the miRNA binding site. Mutating this sequence in the context of the MIM159 attenuates its strong efficacy. This conserved flanking region contains a predicted stem-loop structure that is also predicted to be present in most modified MIMs that appear to have a strong efficacy, but not in MIM165 that has a poor efficacy. Restoring this predicted stem-loop in MIM165 via mutation of only three or five nucleotides within the conserved flanking region resulted in MIM165 variants that have very strong efficacies of miRNA inhibition. However, specifically mutating this predicted stem-loop in the MIM159 context failed to significantly reduce efficacy, and additional mutations to restore this predicted stem-loop weakened efficacy further. Although this shows there is no simple correlation between this predicted stem-loop and efficacy, these results add to the growing evidence that the sequence context of miRNA binding sites is important, and that minor nucleotide substitutions to flanking sequences of miRNA binding sites can strongly enhance or attenuate the miRNA-target interaction.
Project description:Background:Small RNAs are sequence-dependent negative regulators of gene expression involved in many relevant plant processes such as development, genome stability, or stress response. Functional characterization of sRNAs in plants typically relies on the modification of the steady state levels of these molecules. State-of-the-art strategies to reduce plant sRNA levels include molecular tools such as Target Mimics (MIMs or TMs), Short Tandem Target Mimic (STTMs), or molecular SPONGES (SPs). Construction of these tools routinely involve many different molecular biology techniques, steps, and reagents rendering such processes expensive, time consuming, and difficult to implement, particularly high-throughput approaches. Results:We have developed a vector and a cloning strategy that significantly reduces the number of steps required for the generation of MIMs against any given small RNA (sRNA). Our pGREEN-based binary expression vector (pGREEN-DLM100) contains the IPS1 gene from A. thaliana bisected by a ccdB cassette that is itself flanked by restriction sites for a type IIS endonuclease. Using a single digestion plus a sticky-end ligation step, the ccdB cassette that functions as a negative (counter) selection system is replaced by a pair of 28 nt self-annealing primers that provide specificity against the selected target miRNA/siRNA. The method considerably reduces the number of steps and the time required to generate the construct, minimizes the errors derived from long-range PCRs, bypasses bottlenecks derived from subcloning steps, and eliminates the need for any additional cloning technics and reagents, overall saving time and reagents. Conclusions:Our streamlined system guarantees a low cost, fast and efficient cloning process that it can be easily implemented into high-throughput strategies, since the same digested plasmid can be used for any given sRNA. We believe this method represents a significant technical improvement on state-of-the-art methods to facilitate the characterization of functional aspects of sRNA biology.
Project description:Manipulation of microRNA (miRNA) levels, including overexpression of mature species, has become an important biological tool, even motivating miRNA-based therapeutics. To assess key determinants of miRNA overexpression in a mammalian system in vivo, we sought to bypass the laborious generation of a transgenic animal by exploiting placental trophoblast-specific gene manipulation using lentiviral vectors, which has been instrumental in elucidating trophoblast biology. We examined the impact of several key components of miRNA stem loops and their flanking sequences on the efficiency of mature miRNA expression in vivo. By combining established and novel approaches for miRNA expression, we engineered lentivirus-driven miRNA expression plasmids, which we tested in the mouse placenta. We found that reverse sense inserts minimized single-strand splicing and degradation, and that maintaining longer, poly-A-containing arms flanking the miRNA stem-loop markedly enhanced transgenic miRNA expression. Additionally, we accomplished overexpression of diverse mammalian, drosophila, or C. elegans miRNAs, either based on native context or using a "cassette" replacement of the mature miRNA sequence. Together, we have identified primary miRNA sequences that are paramount for effective expression of mature miRNAs, and validated their role in mice. Principles established by our findings may guide the design of efficient miRNA vectors for in vivo use.
Project description:To determine transcriptomic changes in cellular targets induced by MCV-miR-M1. Briefly, HEK293 cells were transfected with either MCV-miR-M1-5p, MCV-miR-M1-3p or control mimic (Thermo Fisher Scientific) prior to RNA extraction and confirmation of MCV miRNA 5p and 3p expression via stem loop qRT-PCR. Total RNA libraries were prepared using TruSeq Stranded Total RNA Sample Prep Kit (Illumina, USA) and the TruSeq cDNA libraries were analysed via Illumina HiSeq2500 paired end 100bp.
Project description:The Ewing Sarcoma protein (EWS) is a multifaceted RNA binding protein (RBP) with established roles in transcription, pre-mRNA processing and DNA damage response. By generating high quality EWS-RNA interactome, we uncovered its specific and prevalent interaction with a large subset of primary microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) in mammalian cells. Knockdown of EWS reduced, whereas overexpression enhanced, the expression of its target miRNAs. Biochemical analysis revealed that multiple elements in target pri-miRNAs, including the sequences flanking the stem-loop region, contributed to high affinity EWS binding and sequence swap experiments between target and non-target demonstrated that the flanking sequences provided the specificity for enhanced pri-miRNA processing by the Microprocessor Drosha/DGCR8. Interestingly, while repressing Drosha expression, as reported earlier, we found that EWS was able to enhance the recruitment of Drosha to chromatin. Together, these findings suggest that EWS may positively and negatively regulate miRNA biogenesis via distinct mechanisms, thus providing a new foundation to understand the function of EWS in development and disease.
Project description:MicroRNA (miRNA) biogenesis follows a conserved succession of processing steps, beginning with the recognition and liberation of an miRNA-containing precursor miRNA hairpin from a large primary miRNA transcript (pri-miRNA) by the Microprocessor, which consists of the nuclear RNase III Drosha and the double-stranded RNA-binding domain protein DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region protein 8). Current models suggest that specific recognition is driven by DGCR8 detection of single-stranded elements of the pri-miRNA stem-loop followed by Drosha recruitment and pri-miRNA cleavage. Because countless RNA transcripts feature single-stranded-dsRNA junctions and DGCR8 can bind hundreds of mRNAs, we explored correlations between RNA binding properties of DGCR8 and specific pri-miRNA substrate processing. We found that DGCR8 bound single-stranded, double-stranded, and random hairpin transcripts with similar affinity. Further investigation of DGCR8/pri-mir-16 interactions by NMR detected intermediate exchange regimes over a wide range of stoichiometric ratios. Diffusion analysis of DGCR8/pri-mir-16 interactions by pulsed field gradient NMR lent further support to dynamic complex formation involving free components in exchange with complexes of varying stoichiometry, although in vitro processing assays showed exclusive cleavage of pri-mir-16 variants bearing single-stranded flanking regions. Our results indicate that DGCR8 binds RNA nonspecifically. Therefore, a sequential model of DGCR8 recognition followed by Drosha recruitment is unlikely. Known RNA substrate requirements are broad and include 70-nucleotide hairpins with unpaired flanking regions. Thus, specific RNA processing is likely facilitated by preformed DGCR8-Drosha heterodimers that can discriminate between authentic substrates and other hairpins.
Project description:Many computational methods have been used to predict novel non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), but none, to our knowledge, have explicitly investigated the impact of integrating existing cDNA-based Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) data that flank structural RNA predictions. To determine whether flanking EST data can assist in microRNA (miRNA) prediction, we identified genomic sites encoding putative miRNAs by combining functional RNA predictions with flanking ESTs data in a model consistent with miRNAs undergoing cleavage during maturation. In both human and mouse genomes, we observed that the inclusion of flanking ESTs adjacent to and not overlapping predicted miRNAs significantly improved the performance of various methods of miRNA prediction, including direct high-throughput sequencing of small RNA libraries. We analyzed the expression of hundreds of miRNAs predicted to be expressed during myogenic differentiation using a customized microarray and identified several known and predicted myogenic miRNA hairpins. Our results indicate that integrating ESTs flanking structural RNA predictions improves the quality of cleaved miRNA predictions and suggest that this strategy can be used to predict other non-coding RNAs undergoing cleavage during maturation.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in regulating gene expression. Since miRNAs are often evolutionarily conserved and their precursors can be folded into stem-loop hairpins, many miRNAs have been predicted. Yet experimental confirmation is difficult since miRNA expression is often specific to particular tissues and developmental stages.Analysis of 29 human and 230 mouse longSAGE libraries revealed the expression of 22 known and 10 predicted mammalian miRNAs. Most were detected in embryonic tissues. Four SAGE tags detected in human embryonic stem cells specifically match a cluster of four human miRNAs (mir-302a, b, c&d) known to be expressed in embryonic stem cells. LongSAGE data also suggest the existence of a mouse homolog of human and rat mir-493.The observation that some orphan longSAGE tags uniquely match miRNA precursors provides information about the expression of some known and predicted miRNAs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plasmids of Borrelia species are dynamic structures that contain a large number of repetitive genes, gene fragments, and gene fusions. In addition, the transposable element IS605/200 family, as well as degenerate forms of this IS element, are prevalent. In Helicobacter pylori, flanking regions of the IS605 transposase gene contain sequences that fold into identical small stem loops. These function in transposition at the single-stranded DNA level. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In work reported here, bioinformatics techniques were used to scan Borrelia plasmid genomes for IS605 transposable element specific stem loop sequences. Two variant stem loop motifs are found in the left and right flanking regions of the transposase gene. Both motifs appear to have dispersed in plasmid genomes and are found "free-standing" and phylogenetically conserved without the associated IS605 transposase gene or the adjacent flanking sequence. Importantly, IS605 specific stem loop sequences are also found at the 3' ends of lipoprotein genes (PFam12 and PFam60), however the left and right sequences appear to develop their own evolutionary patterns. The lipoprotein gene-linked left stem loop sequences maintain the IS605 stem loop motif in orthologs but only at the RNA level. These show mutations whereby variants fold into phylogenetically conserved RNA-type stem loops that contain the wobble non-Watson-Crick G-U base-pairing. The right flanking sequence is associated with the family lipoprotein-1 genes. A comparison of homologs shows that the IS605 stem loop motif rapidly dissipates, but a more elaborate secondary structure appears to develop in its place. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Stem loop sequences specific to the transposable element IS605 are present in plasmid regions devoid of a transposase gene and significantly, are found linked to lipoprotein genes in Borrelia plasmids. These sequences are evolutionarily conserved and/or structurally developed in an RNA format. The findings show that IS605 stem loop sequences are multifaceted and are selectively conserved during evolution when the transposable element dissipates.
Project description:BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short non-coding, endogenous RNAs that play key roles in many biological processes in both animals and plants. Although many miRNAs have been identified in a large number of organisms, the miRNAs in foxtail millet (Setaria italica) have, until now, been poorly understood. RESULTS: In this study, two replicate small RNA libraries from foxtail millet shoots were sequenced, and 40 million reads representing over 10 million unique sequences were generated. We identified 43 known miRNAs, 172 novel miRNAs and 2 mirtron precursor candidates in foxtail millet. Some miRNA*s of the known and novel miRNAs were detected as well. Further, eight novel miRNAs were validated by stem-loop RT-PCR. Potential targets of the foxtail millet miRNAs were predicted based on our strict criteria. Of the predicted target genes, 79% (351) had functional annotations in InterPro and GO analyses, indicating the targets of the miRNAs were involved in a wide range of regulatory functions and some specific biological processes. A total of 69 pairs of syntenic miRNA precursors that were conserved between foxtail millet and sorghum were found. Additionally, stem-loop RT-PCR was conducted to confirm the tissue-specific expression of some miRNAs in the four tissues identified by deep-sequencing. CONCLUSIONS: We predicted, for the first time, 215 miRNAs and 447 miRNA targets in foxtail millet at a genome-wide level. The precursors, expression levels, miRNA* sequences, target functions, conservation, and evolution of miRNAs we identified were investigated. Some of the novel foxtail millet miRNAs and miRNA targets were validated experimentally.
Project description:The DNA damage response network stimulates microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis to coordinate repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and apoptosis. The multistep process of miRNA biogenesis involves the cleavage of primary miRNAs by the microprocessor complex composed of the ribonuclease Drosha and the RNA binding protein DGCR8. We found that the tyrosine kinase ABL phosphorylated DGCR8, a modification that was required for the induction of a subset of miRNAs after DNA damage. Focusing on the miR-34 family, ABL stimulated the production of miR-34c, but not miR-34a, through Drosha/DGCR8-dependent processing of primary miR-34c (pri-miR-34c). This miRNA-selective effect of ABL required the sequences flanking the precursor miR-34c (pre-miR-34c) stem-loop. In pri-miRNA processing, DGCR8 binds the pre-miR stem-loop and recruits Drosha to the miRNA. RNA cross-linking assays showed that DGCR8 and Drosha interacted with pri-miR-34c, but we found an inverse correlation between ABL-stimulated processing and DGCR8 association with pri-miR-34c. When coexpressed in HEK293T cells, ABL phosphorylated DGCR8 at Tyr(267). Ectopic expression of a Y267F-DGCR8 mutant reduced the recruitment of Drosha to pri-miR-34c and prevented ABL or Drosha from stimulating the processing of pri-miR-34c. In mice engineered to express a nuclear import-defective mutant of ABL, miR-34c, but not miR-34a, expression was reduced in the kidney, and apoptosis of the renal epithelial cells was impaired in response to cisplatin. These results reveal a new pathway in the DNA damage response wherein ABL-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of DGCR8 stimulates the processing of selective primary miRNAs.