AGO2 Mediates MYC mRNA Stability in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: Deregulated RNA-binding proteins (RBP), such as Argonaute 2 (AGO2), mediate tumor-promoting transcriptomic changes during carcinogenesis, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). While AGO2 is well characterized as a member of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), which represses gene expression through miRNAs, its role as a bona fide RBP remains unclear. In this study, we investigated AGO2's role as an RBP that regulates the MYC transcript to promote HCC. Using mRNA and miRNA arrays from patients with HCC, we demonstrate that HCCs with elevated AGO2 levels are more likely to have the mRNA transcriptome deregulated and are associated with poor survival. Moreover, AGO2 overexpression stabilizes the MYC transcript independent of miRNAs. These observations provide a novel mechanism of gene regulation by AGO2 and provide further insights into the potential functions of AGO2 as an RBP in addition to RISC. IMPLICATIONS: Authors demonstrate that the RBP Argonaute 2 stabilizes the MYC transcript to promote HCC.
Project description:Argonaute, the core component of the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC), binds to mature miRNAs and regulates gene expression at transcriptional or post-transcriptional level. We recently reported that Argonaute 2 (Ago2) also assembles into complexes with miRNA precursors (pre-miRNAs). These Ago2:pre-miRNA complexes are catalytically active in vitro and constitute non-canonical RISCs.The use of pre-miRNAs as guides by Ago2 bypasses Dicer activity and complicates in vitro RISC reconstitution. In this work, we characterized Ago2:pre-miRNA complexes and identified RNAs that are targeted by miRNAs but not their corresponding pre-miRNAs. Using these target RNAs we were able to recapitulate in vitro pre-miRNA processing and canonical RISC loading, and define the minimal factors required for these processes.Our results indicate that Ago2 and Dicer are sufficient for processing and loading of miRNAs into RISC. Furthermore, our studies suggest that Ago2 binds primarily to the 5'- and alternatively, to the 3'-end of select pre-miRNAs.
Project description:Mammalian Argonaute 2 (Ago2) protein associates with microRNAs (miRNAs) or small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) forming RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs/miRNPs). In the present work, we characterize the RNA-binding and nucleolytic activity of recombinant mouse Ago2. Our studies show that recombinant mouse Ago2 binds efficiently to miRNAs forming active RISC. Surprisingly, we find that recombinant mouse Ago2 forms active RISC using pre-miRNAs or long unstructured single stranded RNAs as guides. Furthermore, we demonstrate that, in vivo, endogenous human Ago2 binds directly to pre-miRNAs independently of Dicer, and that Ago2:pre-miRNA complexes are found both in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus of human cells.
Project description:Eukaryotic gene expression is tightly regulated post-transcriptionally by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNAs. The RBP AU-rich-binding factor 1 (AUF1) isoform p37 was found to have high affinity for the microRNA let-7b in vitro (Kd = ? 6 nM) in cells. Ribonucleoprotein immunoprecipitation, in vitro association, and single-molecule-binding analyses revealed that AUF1 promoted let-7b loading onto Argonaute 2 (AGO2), the catalytic component of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). In turn, AGO2-let-7 triggered target mRNA decay. Our findings uncover a novel mechanism by which AUF1 binding and transfer of microRNA let-7 to AGO2 facilitates let-7-elicited gene silencing.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are generated by a two-step processing pathway to yield RNA molecules of approximately 22 nucleotides that negatively regulate target gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Primary miRNAs are processed to precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) by the Microprocessor complex. These pre-miRNAs are cleaved by the RNase III Dicer to generate mature miRNAs that direct the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) to messenger RNAs with complementary sequence. Here we show that TRBP (the human immunodeficiency virus transactivating response RNA-binding protein), which contains three double-stranded, RNA-binding domains, is an integral component of a Dicer-containing complex. Biochemical analysis of TRBP-containing complexes revealed the association of Dicer-TRBP with Argonaute 2 (Ago2), the catalytic engine of RISC. The physical association of Dicer-TRBP and Ago2 was confirmed after the isolation of the ternary complex using Flag-tagged Ago2 cell lines. In vitro reconstitution assays demonstrated that TRBP is required for the recruitment of Ago2 to the small interfering RNA (siRNA) bound by Dicer. Knockdown of TRBP results in destabilization of Dicer and a consequent loss of miRNA biogenesis. Finally, depletion of the Dicer-TRBP complex via exogenously introduced siRNAs diminished RISC-mediated reporter gene silencing. These results support a role of the Dicer-TRBP complex not only in miRNA processing but also as a platform for RISC assembly.
Project description:Targeted gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) requires loading of a short guide RNA (small interfering RNA (siRNA) or microRNA (miRNA)) onto an Argonaute protein to form the functional center of an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). In humans, Argonaute2 (AGO2) assembles with the guide RNA-generating enzyme Dicer and the RNA-binding protein TRBP to form a RISC-loading complex (RLC), which is necessary for efficient transfer of nascent siRNAs and miRNAs from Dicer to AGO2. Here, using single-particle EM analysis, we show that human Dicer has an L-shaped structure. The RLC Dicer's N-terminal DExH/D domain, located in a short 'base branch', interacts with TRBP, whereas its C-terminal catalytic domains in the main body are proximal to AGO2. A model generated by docking the available atomic structures of Dicer and Argonaute homologs into the RLC reconstruction suggests a mechanism for siRNA transfer from Dicer to AGO2.
Project description:Targeted gene silencing by RNAi requires the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), whose core component is the protein Argonaute (Ago) bound to a microRNA (miRNA) or an siRNA. In humans, Ago2 is loaded with miRNAs by the action of a specialized assembly called the RISC-loading complex (RLC), comprising the proteins Ago2, Dicer, and TRBP. Here we show that the human RLC assembles spontaneously in vitro from purified components. No cofactors or chaperones are required for the complex to form. The reconstituted RLC, containing one copy of each protein, has the dicing, slicing, guide-strand selection, and Ago2-loading activities observed for the endogenous RLC. Furthermore, once Ago2 is loaded with an miRNA, it tends to dissociate from the rest of the complex. These results lay the groundwork for future structural and functional dissection of RISC loading in humans.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are typically generated as ~22-nucleotide double-stranded RNAs via the processing of precursor hairpins by the ribonuclease III enzyme Dicer, after which they are loaded into Argonaute (Ago) proteins to form an RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). However, the biogenesis of miR-451, an erythropoietic miRNA conserved in vertebrates, occurs independently of Dicer and instead requires cleavage of the 3' arm of the pre-miR-451 precursor hairpin by Ago2. The 3' end of the Ago2-cleaved pre-miR-451 intermediate is then trimmed to the mature length by an unknown nuclease. Here, using a classical chromatographic approach, we identified poly(A)-specific ribonuclease (PARN) as the enzyme responsible for the 3'-5' exonucleolytic trimming of Ago2-cleaved pre-miR-451. Surprisingly, our data show that trimming of Ago2-cleaved precursor miRNAs is not essential for target silencing, indicating that RISC is functional with miRNAs longer than the mature length. Our findings define the maturation step in the miRNA biogenesis pathway that depends on Ago2-mediated cleavage.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short RNA molecules responsible for post-transcriptional gene silencing by the degradation or translational inhibition of their target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). This process of gene silencing, known as RNA interference (RNAi), is mediated by highly conserved Argonaute (Ago) proteins which are the key components of the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC). In humans, Ago2 is responsible for the endonuclease cleavage of targeted mRNA and it interacts with the mRNA-binding protein GW182, which is a marker for cytoplasmic foci referred to as GW bodies (GWBs). We demonstrated that the anti-Ago2 monoclonal antibody 4F9 recognized GWBs in a cell cycle dependent manner and was capable of capturing miRNAs associated with Ago2. Since Ago2 protein is the effector protein of RNAi, anti-Ago2 monoclonal antibody may be useful in capturing functional miRNAs.
Project description:microRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate mRNA stability and translation through the action of the RNAi-induced silencing complex (RISC). Our current understanding of miRNA function is inferred largely from studies of the effects of miRNAs on steady-state mRNA levels and from seed match conservation and context in putative targets. Here we have taken a more direct approach to these issues by comprehensively assessing the miRNAs and mRNAs that are physically associated with Argonaute 2 (Ago2), which is a core RISC component. We transfected HEK293T cells with epitope-tagged Ago2, immunopurified Ago2 together with any associated miRNAs and mRNAs, and quantitatively determined the levels of these RNAs by microarray analyses. We found that Ago2 immunopurified samples contained a representative repertoire of the cell's miRNAs and a select subset of the cell's total mRNAs. Transfection of the miRNAs miR-1 and miR-124 caused significant changes in the association of scores of mRNAs with Ago2. The mRNAs whose association with Ago2 increased upon miRNA expression were much more likely to contain specific miRNA seed matches and to have their overall mRNA levels decrease in response to the miRNA transfection than expected by chance. Hundreds of mRNAs were recruited to Ago2 by each miRNA via seed sequences in 3'-untranslated regions and coding sequences and a few mRNAs appear to be targeted via seed sequences in 5'-untranslated regions. Microarray analysis of Ago2 immunopurified samples provides a simple, direct method for experimentally identifying the targets of miRNAs and for elucidating roles of miRNAs in cellular regulation.
Project description:AGO2 (Argonaute RISC Catalytic Component 2) plays an important role in small RNA-guided gene silencing processes. It has been implied in tumorigenesis of different types of tumors. In this study, we found that AGO2 expression was remarkably increased in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues when compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues. High expression of AGO2 was associated with poor prognosis in HCC patients. The CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of AGO2 in SMMC-7721 cells inhibited cell proliferation and induced significant G1 phase arrest of cell cycle. Inhibition of cell migration was also observed in SMMC-7721 AGO2 -/- cells. In vivo experiments showed that tumors grew slower in nude mice transplanted with AGO2 -/- cells than in SMMC-7721 cell-derived xenograft mice. Microarray analysis and western blot analysis revealed that AGO2 depletion decreased expression of Survivin, Vimentin, and Snail. Overexpression of AGO2 in SMMC-7721 and Huh-7 cells could reverse the knockout-induced inhibition effects on either cell behaviors or expression of Survivin, Vimentin, and Snail Therefore, our data demonstrated that AGO2 might facilitate HCC tumorigenesis and metastasis through modulating expression of Survivin, Vimentin, and Snail.