In vitro selection of l-DNA aptamers that bind a structured d-RNA molecule.
ABSTRACT: The development of structure-specific RNA binding reagents remains a central challenge in RNA biochemistry and drug discovery. Previously, we showed in vitro selection techniques could be used to evolve l-RNA aptamers that bind tightly to structured d-RNAs. However, whether similar RNA-binding properties can be achieved using aptamers composed of l-DNA, which has several practical advantages compared to l-RNA, remains unknown. Here, we report the discovery and characterization of the first l-DNA aptamers against a structured RNA molecule, precursor microRNA-155, thereby establishing the capacity of DNA and RNA molecules of the opposite handedness to form tight and specific 'cross-chiral' interactions with each other. l-DNA aptamers bind pre-miR-155 with low nanomolar affinity and high selectivity despite the inability of l-DNA to interact with native d-RNA via Watson-Crick base pairing. Furthermore, l-DNA aptamers inhibit Dicer-mediated processing of pre-miRNA-155. The sequence and structure of l-DNA aptamers are distinct from previously reported l-RNA aptamers against pre-miR-155, indicating that l-DNA and l-RNA interact with the same RNA sequence through unique modes of recognition. Overall, this work demonstrates that l-DNA may be pursued as an alternative to l-RNA for the generation of RNA-binding aptamers, providing a robust and practical approach for targeting structured RNAs.
Project description:In vitro selection was used to obtain l-RNA aptamers that bind the distal stem-loop of various precursor microRNAs (pre-miRs). These l-aptamers, termed "aptamiRs", bind their corresponding pre-miR target through highly specific tertiary interactions rather than Watson-Crick pairing. Formation of a pre-miR-aptamiR complex inhibits Dicer-mediated processing of the pre-miR, which is required to form the mature functional microRNA. One of the aptamiRs, which was selected to bind oncogenic pre-miR-155, inhibits Dicer processing under simulated physiological conditions, with an IC50 of 87 nM. Given that l-RNAs are intrinsically resistant to nuclease degradation, these results suggest that aptamiRs might be pursued as a new class of miR inhibitors.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through RNA interference. Human miRNAs are generated through a series of enzymatic processing steps. The precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA) is recognized and cleaved by a complex containing Dicer and several non-catalytic accessory proteins. HIV TAR element binding protein (TRBP) is a constituent of the Dicer complex, which augments complex stability and potentially functions in substrate recognition and product transfer to the RNA-induced silencing complex. Here we have analysed the interaction between the RNA-binding region of TRBP and an oncogenic human miRNA, miR-155, at different stages in the biogenesis pathway. We show that the region of TRBP that binds immature miRNAs comprises two independent double-stranded RNA-binding domains connected by a 60-residue flexible linker. No evidence of contact between the two double-stranded RNA-binding domains was observed either in the apo- or RNA-bound state. We establish that the RNA-binding region of TRBP interacts with both pre-miR-155 and the miR-155/miR-155* duplex through the same binding surfaces and with similar affinities, and that two protein molecules can simultaneously interact with each immature miRNA. These data suggest that TRBP could play a role before and after processing of pre-miRNAs by Dicer.
Project description:RNA aptamers are structured motifs that bind to specific molecules. A growing number of RNAs bearing aptamer elements, whose functions are modulated by direct binding of metabolites, have been found in living cells. Recent studies have suggested that more small RNAs binding to metabolites likely exist and may be involved in diverse cellular processes. However, conventional methods are not necessarily suitable for the discovery of such RNA aptamer elements in small RNAs with lengths ranging from 50 to 200 nucleotides, due to the far more abundant tRNAs in this size range. Here, we describe a new in vitro selection method to uncover naturally occurring small RNAs capable of binding to a ligand of interest, referred to as small RNA transcriptomic SELEX (smaRt-SELEX). By means of this method, we identified a motif in human precursor microRNA 125a (hsa-pre-miR-125a) that interacts with folic acid. Mutation studies revealed that the terminal loop region of hsa-pre-miR-125a is important for this binding interaction. This method has potential for the discovery of new RNA aptamer elements or catalytic motifs in biological small RNA fractions.
Project description:RNA research and therapy relies primarily on synthetic RNAs. We employed recombinant RNA technology toward large-scale production of pre-miRNA agents in bacteria, but found the majority of target RNAs were not or negligibly expressed. We thus developed a novel strategy to achieve consistent high-yield biosynthesis of chimeric RNAs carrying various small RNAs (e.g. miRNAs, siRNAs and RNA aptamers), which was based upon an optimal noncoding RNA scaffold (OnRS) derived from tRNA fusion pre-miR-34a (tRNA/mir-34a). Multi-milligrams of chimeric RNAs (e.g. OnRS/miR-124, OnRS/GFP-siRNA, OnRS/Neg (scrambled RNA) and OnRS/MGA (malachite green aptamer)) were readily obtained from 1 l bacterial culture. Deep sequencing analyses revealed that mature miR-124 and target GFP-siRNA were selectively released from chimeric RNAs in human cells. Consequently, OnRS/miR-124 was active in suppressing miR-124 target gene expression and controlling cellular processes, and OnRS/GFP-siRNA was effective in knocking down GFP mRNA levels and fluorescent intensity in ES-2/GFP cells and GFP-transgenic mice. Furthermore, the OnRS/MGA sensor offered a specific strong fluorescence upon binding MG, which was utilized as label-free substrate to accurately determine serum RNase activities in pancreatic cancer patients. These results demonstrate that OnRS-based bioengineering is a common, robust and versatile strategy to assemble various types of small RNAs for broad applications.
Project description:G-quadruplexes (G4s) are noncanonical DNA/RNA structures formed by guanine-rich sequences. Recently, G4s have been found not only in aptamers but also in the genomic DNA and transcribed RNA. In this study, we identified new RNA oligonucleotides working as aptamers by focusing on G4-forming RNAs located within the pre-mRNA. We showed that the G4 in the 5' UTR and first intron of VEGFA bound to the protein encoded in VEGFA gene, VEGF165, with high affinity. Moreover, G4-forming RNAs located within the PDGFA and the PDGFB introns bound to PDGF-AA and PDGF-BB, respectively, indicating that G4 in the pre-mRNA could be an aptamer. It had been reported that the putative G4-forming RNA sequences are located in some parts of most genes, thus our strategy for aptamer identification could be applicable to other proteins. It has been reported that some G4-forming RNAs in 5' UTRs are involved in translation control; however, G4-forming excised intronic RNA function has not been revealed previously. Therefore, these findings could not only contribute to the identification of RNA aptamers but also provide new insights into the biological functioning of G4-forming RNAs located within intronic RNA sequences.
Project description:Fluorogenic RNA aptamers provide a powerful tool for study of RNA analogous to green fluorescent protein for the study of proteins. Spinach and Broccoli are RNAs selected in vitro or in vivo respectively to bind to an exogenous chromophore. They can be genetically inserted into an RNA of interest for live-cell imaging. Spinach aptamer has been altered to increase thermal stability and stabilize the desired folding. How well these fluorogenic RNA aptamers behave when inserted into structured cellular RNAs and how aptamer properties might be affected remains poorly characterized. Here, we report a study of the performance of distinct RNA Spinach and Broccoli aptamer sequences in isolation or inserted into the small subunit of the bacterial ribosome. We found that the ribosomal context helped maintaining the yield of the folded Baby Spinach aptamer; other versions of Spinach did not perform well in the context of ribosomes. In vivo, two aptamers clearly stood out. Baby Spinach and Broccoli aptamers yielded fluorescence levels markedly superior to all previous Spinach sequences including the super-folder tRNA scaffolded tSpinach2. Overall, the results suggest the use of Broccoli and Baby Spinach aptamers for live cell imaging of structured RNAs.
Project description:All metazoan eukaryotes express microRNAs (miRNAs), roughly 22-nucleotide regulatory RNAs that can repress the expression of messenger RNAs bearing complementary sequences. Several DNA viruses also express miRNAs in infected cells, suggesting a role in viral replication and pathogenesis. Although specific viral miRNAs have been shown to autoregulate viral mRNAs or downregulate cellular mRNAs, the function of most viral miRNAs remains unknown. Here we report that the miR-K12-11 miRNA encoded by Kaposi's-sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) shows significant homology to cellular miR-155, including the entire miRNA 'seed' region. Using a range of assays, we show that expression of physiological levels of miR-K12-11 or miR-155 results in the downregulation of an extensive set of common mRNA targets, including genes with known roles in cell growth regulation. Our findings indicate that viral miR-K12-11 functions as an orthologue of cellular miR-155 and probably evolved to exploit a pre-existing gene regulatory pathway in B cells. Moreover, the known aetiological role of miR-155 in B-cell transformation suggests that miR-K12-11 may contribute to the induction of KSHV-positive B-cell tumours in infected patients.
Project description:RNA aptamers can be expressed in cells to influence and image cellular processes. Aptamer folding is maintained by inserting the aptamers into highly structured RNA scaffolds. Here, we show that commonly used RNA scaffolds exhibit unexpected instability and cleavage in bacterial and mammalian cells. Using an in-gel staining approach for rapid and simple detection of Spinach- or Broccoli-tagged RNAs in cells, we monitored the processing of RNAs tagged with scaffolded aptamers, revealing endonucleolytic cleavage, RNA instability, and poor expression. We reengineered a natural three-way junction structure to generate an alternative scaffold that enables stable aptamer expression in cells. This scaffold was used to create cassettes containing up to four Broccoli units, markedly enhancing the brightness of mammalian cells expressing cassette-tagged RNAs. These experiments describe methods for screening RNA cleavage events in cells and identify cell-compatible scaffolds that enable efficient tagging of RNAs with aptamers for cellular expression.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been associated with bladder cancer (BC), but the specific underlying molecular mechanism of their association with BC development has not been fully explored. METHODS:Levels of Circ_0008532, MTGR1 and miR-155-5p/miR-330-5p in bladder cancer cell lines and tissues were determined with quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting assays. In vitro and in vivo assays were performed to investigate the function of circ_0008532 in tumorigenesis in bladder cancer cells. The relationships of Circ_0008532, MTGR1 and miR-155-5p/miR-330-5p were predicted using bioinformatic tools and verified by RNA-FISH, RIP and luciferase assays. The effects of circ_0008532 on the Notch signaling pathway were determined by GSEA analysis and western blotting assay. RESULTS:We found that circ_0008532 is upregulated in BC cell lines and tissues. Moreover, overexpression of circ_0008532 promotes, and silencing of circ_0008532 inhibits the capacity for invasive in BC cells. In addition, circ_0008532 can directly interact with miR-155-5p and miR-330-5p as an miRNA sponge which mediates the expression of the miR-155-5p/miR-330-5p target gene MTGR1 and downstream Notch signaling. CONCLUSIONS:Circ_0008532 may act as an oncogene in BC through a novel circ_0008532/miR-155-5p, miR-330-5p /MTGR1/Notch pathway axis, which in turn may provide potential biomarkers and a therapeutic target for the management of bladder cancer.
Project description:Over billions of years of evolution, nature has embraced proteins as the major workhorse molecules of the cell. However, nearly every aspect of metabolism is dependent upon how structured RNAs interact with proteins, ligands, and other nucleic acids. Key processes, including telomere maintenance, RNA processing, and protein synthesis, require large RNAs that assemble into elaborate three-dimensional shapes. These RNAs can (i) act as flexible scaffolds for protein subunits, (ii) participate directly in substrate recognition, and (iii) serve as catalytic components. Here, we juxtapose the near atomic level interactions of three ribonucleoprotein complexes: ribonuclease P (involved in 5' pre-tRNA processing), the spliceosome (responsible for pre-mRNA splicing), and telomerase (an RNA-directed DNA polymerase that extends the ends of chromosomes). The focus of this perspective is profiling the structural and dynamic roles of RNAs at the core of these enzymes, highlighting how large RNAs contribute to molecular recognition and catalysis.