Identification of Differential Roles of MicroRNA-33a and -33b During Atherosclerosis Progression With Genetically Modified Mice.
ABSTRACT: Background Micro RNA (miR)-33 targets cholesterol transporter ATP -binding cassette protein A1 and other antiatherogenic targets and contributes to atherogenic progression. Its inhibition or deletion is known to result in the amelioration of atherosclerosis in mice. However, mice lack the other member of the miR-33 family, miR-33b, which exists in humans and other large mammals. Thus, precise evaluation and comparison of the responsibilities of these 2 miRs during the progression of atherosclerosis has not been reported, although they are essential. Methods and Results In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the difference between the function of miR-33a and miR-33b using genetically modified mice. We generated 4 strains with or without miR-33a and miR-33b. Comparison between mice with only miR-33a (wild-type mice) and mice with only miR-33b (miR-33a-/-/miR-33b+/+) revealed the dominant expression of miR-33b in the liver. To evaluate the whole body atherogenic potency of miR-33a and miR-33b, we developed apolipoprotein E-deficient/miR-33a+/+/miR-33b-/- mice and apolipoprotein E-deficient/miR-33a-/-/miR-33b+/+ mice. With a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet, the apolipoprotein E-deficient/miR-33a-/-/miR-33b+/+ mice developed increased atherosclerotic plaque versus apolipoprotein E-deficient/miR-33a+/+/miR-33b-/- mice, in line with the predominant expression of miR-33b in the liver and worsened serum cholesterol profile. By contrast, a bone marrow transplantation study showed no significant difference, which was consistent with the relevant expression levels of miR-33a and miR-33b in bone marrow cells. Conclusions The miR-33 family exhibits differences in distribution and regulation and particularly in the progression of atherosclerosis; miR-33b would be more potent than miR-33a.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-protein-coding RNAs that bind to specific mRNAs and inhibit translation or promote mRNA degradation. Recent reports, including ours, indicated that miR-33a located within the intron of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) 2 controls cholesterol homeostasis and can be a possible therapeutic target for treating atherosclerosis. Primates, but not rodents, express miR-33b from an intron of SREBF1. Therefore, humanized mice, in which a miR-33b transgene is inserted within a Srebf1 intron, are required to address its function in vivo. We successfully established miR-33b knock-in (KI) mice and found that protein levels of known miR-33a target genes, such as ABCA1, ABCG1, and SREBP-1, were reduced compared with those in wild-type mice. As a consequence, macrophages from the miR-33b KI mice had a reduced cholesterol efflux capacity via apoA-I and HDL-C. Moreover, HDL-C levels were reduced by almost 35% even in miR-33b KI hetero mice compared with the control mice. These results indicate that miR-33b may account for lower HDL-C levels in humans than those in mice and that miR-33b is possibly utilized for a feedback mechanism to regulate its host gene SREBF1. Our mice will also aid in elucidating the roles of miR-33a/b in different genetic disease models.
Project description:Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality in westernized countries, despite optimum medical therapy to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-associated cholesterol. The pursuit of novel therapies to target the residual risk has focused on raising the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-associated cholesterol in order to exploit its atheroprotective effects. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as important post-transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism and are thus a new class of target for therapeutic intervention. MicroRNA-33a and microRNA-33b (miR-33a/b) are intronic miRNAs whose encoding regions are embedded in the sterol-response-element-binding protein genes SREBF2 and SREBF1 (refs 3-5), respectively. These miRNAs repress expression of the cholesterol transporter ABCA1, which is a key regulator of HDL biogenesis. Recent studies in mice suggest that antagonizing miR-33a may be an effective strategy for raising plasma HDL levels and providing protection against atherosclerosis; however, extrapolating these findings to humans is complicated by the fact that mice lack miR-33b, which is present only in the SREBF1 gene of medium and large mammals. Here we show in African green monkeys that systemic delivery of an anti-miRNA oligonucleotide that targets both miR-33a and miR-33b increased hepatic expression of ABCA1 and induced a sustained increase in plasma HDL levels over 12 weeks. Notably, miR-33 antagonism in this non-human primate model also increased the expression of miR-33 target genes involved in fatty acid oxidation (CROT, CPT1A, HADHB and PRKAA1) and reduced the expression of genes involved in fatty acid synthesis (SREBF1, FASN, ACLY and ACACA), resulting in a marked suppression of the plasma levels of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-associated triglycerides, a finding that has not previously been observed in mice. These data establish, in a model that is highly relevant to humans, that pharmacological inhibition of miR-33a and miR-33b is a promising therapeutic strategy to raise plasma HDL and lower VLDL triglyceride levels for the treatment of dyslipidaemias that increase cardiovascular disease risk.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have linked IGF2BP2 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Mice overexpressing mIGF2BP2 have elevated cholesterol levels when fed a diet that induces hepatic steatosis. These and other studies suggest an important role for insulin growth factor 2 mRNA binding protein 2 (IGF2BP2) in the initiation and progression of several metabolic disorders. The ATPase binding cassette protein ABCA1 initiates nascent high-density apolipoprotein (HDL) biogenesis by transferring phospholipid and cholesterol to delipidated apolipoprotein AI (ApoAI). Individuals with mutational ablation of ABCA1 have Tangier disease, which is characterized by a complete loss of HDL. MicroRNA 33a and 33b (miR-33a/b) bind to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of ABCA1 and repress its posttranscriptional gene expression. Here, we show that IGF2BP2 works together with miR-33a/b in repressing ABCA1 expression. Our data suggest that IGF2BP2 is an accessory protein of the argonaute (AGO2)-miR-33a/b-RISC complex, as it directly binds to miR-33a/b, AGO2, and the 3' UTR of ABCA1 Finally, we show that mice overexpressing human IGF2BP2 have decreased ABCA1 expression, increased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and cholesterol blood levels, and elevated SREBP-dependent signaling. Our data support the hypothesis that IGF2BP2 has an important role in maintaining lipid homeostasis through its modulation of ABCA1 expression, as its overexpression or loss leads to dyslipidemia.
Project description:As an important regulator of macrophage cholesterol efflux and HDL biogenesis, miR-33 is a promising target for treatment of atherosclerosis, and numerous studies demonstrate that inhibition of miR-33 increases HDL levels and reduces plaque burden. However, important questions remain about how miR-33 impacts atherogenesis, including whether this protection is primarily due to direct effects on plaque macrophages or regulation of lipid metabolism in the liver. We demonstrate that miR-33 deficiency in Ldlr-/- mice promotes obesity, insulin resistance, and hyperlipidemia but does not impact plaque development. We further assess how loss of miR-33 or addition of miR-33b in macrophages and other hematopoietic cells impact atherogenesis. Macrophage-specific loss of miR-33 decreases lipid accumulation and inflammation under hyperlipidemic conditions, leading to reduced plaque burden. Therefore, the pro-atherogenic effects observed in miR-33-deficient mice are likely counterbalanced by protective effects in macrophages, which may be the primary mechanism through which anti-miR-33 therapies reduce atherosclerosis.
Project description:Cellular imbalances of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism result in pathological processes, including atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome. Recent work from our group and others has shown that the intronic microRNAs hsa-miR-33a and hsa-miR-33b are located within the sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 and -1 genes, respectively, and regulate cholesterol homeostasis in concert with their host genes. Here, we show that miR-33a and -b also regulate genes involved in fatty acid metabolism and insulin signaling. miR-33a and -b target key enzymes involved in the regulation of fatty acid oxidation, including carnitine O-octaniltransferase, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A, hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase, Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6), and AMP kinase subunit-?. Moreover, miR-33a and -b also target the insulin receptor substrate 2, an essential component of the insulin-signaling pathway in the liver. Overexpression of miR-33a and -b reduces both fatty acid oxidation and insulin signaling in hepatic cell lines, whereas inhibition of endogenous miR-33a and -b increases these two metabolic pathways. Together, these data establish that miR-33a and -b regulate pathways controlling three of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome, namely levels of HDL, triglycerides, and insulin signaling, and suggest that inhibitors of miR-33a and -b may be useful in the treatment of this growing health concern.
Project description:mir-33a and mir-33b are co-transcribed with the SREBF2 and SREBF1 transcription factors, respectively. The main role of SREBF1 is the regulation of genes involved in fatty acid metabolism, while SREBF2 regulates genes participating in cholesterol biosynthesis and uptake. Our objective was to study the expression of both miR-33a and miR-33b, together with their host SREBF genes, in liver, adipose tissue and muscle to better understand the role of miR-33a/b in the lipid metabolism of pigs. In our study, the expression of miR-33a, miR-33b and SREBF2 in liver, adipose tissue, and muscle was studied in 42 BC1_LD (25% Iberian x 75% Landrace backcross) pigs by RT-qPCR. In addition, the expression of in-silico predicted target genes and fatty acid composition traits were correlated with the miR-33a/b expression. We observed different tissue expression patterns for both miRNAs. In adipose tissue and muscle a high correlation between miR-33a and miR-33b expression was found, whereas a lower correlation was observed in liver. The expression analysis of in-silico predicted target-lipid related genes showed negative correlations between miR-33b and CPT1A expression in liver. Conversely, positive correlations between miR-33a and PPARGC1A and USF1 gene expression in liver were observed. Lastly, positive and negative correlations between miR-33a/b expression and saturated fatty acid (SFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content, respectively, were identified. Overall, our results suggested that both miRNAs are differentially regulated and have distinct functions in liver, in contrast to muscle and adipose tissue. Furthermore, the correlations between miR-33a/b expression both with the expression of in-silico predicted target-lipid related genes and with fatty acid composition, opens new avenues to explore the role of miR33a/b in the regulation of lipid metabolism.
Project description:Atherosclerosis is a disease of large- and medium-sized arteries that is caused by cholesterol accumulation in arterial intimal cells, including macrophages and smooth muscle cells (SMC). Cholesterol accumulation in these cells can be prevented or reversed in preclinical models-and atherosclerosis reduced-by transgenesis that increases expression of molecules that control cholesterol efflux, including apolipoprotein AI (apoAI) and ATP-binding cassette subfamily A, member 1 (ABCA1). In a previous work, we showed that transduction of arterial endothelial cells (EC)-with a helper-dependent adenovirus (HDAd) expressing apoAI-enhanced EC cholesterol efflux <i>in vitro</i> and decreased atherosclerosis <i>in vivo</i>. Similarly, overexpression of ABCA1 in cultured EC increased cholesterol efflux and decreased inflammatory gene expression. These EC-targeted gene-therapy strategies might be improved by concurrent upregulation of cholesterol-efflux pathways in other intimal cell types. Here, we report modification of this strategy to enable delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids to cells of the sub-endothelium. We constructed an HDAd (HDAdXMoAntimiR33a5p) that expresses an antagomiR directed at miR-33a-5p (a microRNA that suppresses cholesterol efflux by silencing ABCA1). HDAdXMoAntimiR33a5p contains a sequence motif that enhances uptake of anti-miR-33a-5p into exosomes. Cultured EC release exosomes containing small RNA, including miR-33a-5p. After transduction with HDAdXMoAntimiR33a5p, EC-derived exosomes containing anti-miR-33a-5p accumulate in conditioned medium (CM). When this CM is added to macrophages or SMC, anti-miR-33a-5p is detected in these target cells. Exosome-mediated transfer of anti-miR-33a-5p reduces miR-33a-5p by ?65-80%, increases ABCA1 protein by 1.6-2.2-fold, and increases apoAI-mediated cholesterol efflux by 1.4-1.6-fold (all <i>p</i>???0.01). These effects were absent in macrophages and SMC incubated in exosome-depleted CM. EC transduced with HDAdXMoAntimiR33a5p release exosomes that can transfer anti-miR-33a-5p to other intimal cell types, upregulating cholesterol efflux from these cells. This strategy provides a platform for genetic modification of intimal and medial cells, using a vector that transduces only EC.
Project description:White adipose tissue (WAT) is essential for maintaining metabolic function, especially during obesity. The intronic microRNAs miR-33a and miR-33b, located within the genes encoding sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP-2) and SREBP-1, respectively, are transcribed in concert with their host genes and function alongside them to regulate cholesterol, fatty acid, and glucose metabolism. SREBP-1 is highly expressed in mature WAT and plays a critical role in promoting in vitro adipocyte differentiation. It is unknown whether miR-33b is induced during or involved in adipogenesis. This is in part due to loss of miR-33b in rodents, precluding in vivo assessment of the impact of miR-33b using standard mouse models. This work demonstrates that miR-33b is highly induced upon differentiation of human preadipocytes, along with SREBP-1. We further report that miR-33b is an important regulator of adipogenesis, as inhibition of miR-33b enhanced lipid droplet accumulation. Conversely, overexpression of miR-33b impaired preadipocyte proliferation and reduced lipid droplet formation and the induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?) target genes during differentiation. These effects may be mediated by targeting of HMGA2, cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6), and other predicted miR-33b targets. Together, these findings demonstrate a novel role of miR-33b in the regulation of adipocyte differentiation, with important implications for the development of obesity and metabolic disease.
Project description:hsa-miR-33a and hsa-miR-33b, intronic microRNAs (miRNAs) located within the sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 and 1 genes (Srebp-2 and -1), respectively, have recently been shown to regulate lipid homeostasis in concert with their host genes. Although the functional role of miR-33a and -b has been highly investigated, the role of their passenger strands, miR-33a* and -b*, remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that miR-33a* and -b* accumulate to steady-state levels in human, mouse, and nonhuman primate tissues and share a similar lipid metabolism target gene network as their sister strands. Analogous to miR-33, miR-33* represses key enzymes involved in cholesterol efflux (ABCA1 and NPC1), fatty acid metabolism (CROT and CPT1a), and insulin signaling (IRS2). Moreover, miR-33* also targets key transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism, including SRC1, SRC3, NFYC, and RIP140. Importantly, inhibition of either miR-33 or miR-33* rescues target gene expression in cells overexpressing pre-miR-33. Consistent with this, overexpression of miR-33* reduces fatty acid oxidation in human hepatic cells. Altogether, these data support a regulatory role for the miRNA* species and suggest that miR-33 regulates lipid metabolism through both arms of the miR-33/miR-33* duplex.
Project description:The nuclear hormone receptor pregnane X receptor (PXR; also called SXR) functions as a xenobiotic sensor to coordinately regulate xenobiotic metabolism via transcriptional regulation of xenobiotic-detoxifying enzymes and transporters. Although many clinically relevant PXR ligands have been shown to affect cholesterol levels, the role of PXR in cholesterol homeostasis and atherosclerosis has not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we report that activation of PXR by feeding the PXR agonist pregnenolone 16alpha-carbonitrile (0.02%) for 2 weeks to wild-type (WT) mice significantly increased total cholesterol levels and atherogenic lipoproteins VLDL and LDL levels, but had no effect in PXR knockout (PXR(-/-)) mice. Chronic PXR activation in atherosclerosis prone apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mice was found to decrease HDL levels and increase atherosclerotic cross-sectional lesion area at both the aortic root and in the brachiocephalic artery by 54% (P < 0.001) and 116% (P < 0.01), respectively. PXR activation significantly regulated genes in the liver involved in lipoprotein transportation and cholesterol metabolism, including CD36, ApoA-IV, and CYP39A1, in both WT and ApoE(-/-) mice. Furthermore, PXR activation can increase CD36 expression and lipid accumulation in peritoneal macrophages of ApoE(-/-) mice. In summary, PXR activation in WT mice increases levels of the atherogenic lipoproteins VLDL and LDL, whereas in ApoE(-/-) mice, PXR increases atherosclerosis, perhaps by diminishing levels of the antiatherogenic ApoA-IV and increasing lipid accumulation in macrophages.