skip to main content

Title: Characterization of a G-Quadruplex Structure in Pre-miRNA-1229 and in Its Alzheimer’s Disease-Associated Variant rs2291418: Implications for miRNA-1229 Maturation
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common age-related neurodegenerative disease, is associated with various forms of cognitive and functional impairment that worsen with disease progression. AD is typically characterized as a protein misfolding disease, in which abnormal plaques form due to accumulation of tau and β-amyloid (Aβ) proteins. An assortment of proteins is responsible for the processing and trafficking of Aβ, including sortilin-related receptor 1 (SORL1). Recently, a genome-wide association study of microRNA-related variants found that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2291418 within premature microRNA-1229 (pre-miRNA-1229) is significantly associated with AD. Moreover, the levels of the mature miRNA-1229-3p, which has been shown to regulate the SORL1 translation, are increased in the rs2291418 pre-miRNA-1229 variant. In this study we used various biophysical techniques to show that pre-miRNA-1229 forms a G-quadruplex secondary structure that coexists in equilibrium with the canonical hairpin structure, potentially controlling the production of the mature miR-1229-3p, and furthermore, that the AD-associated SNP rs2291418 pre-miR-1229 changes the equilibrium between these structures. Thus, the G-quadruplex structure we identified within pre-miRNA-1229 could potentially act as a novel therapeutic target in AD.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Understanding the molecular and physiological processes underlying biting behavior in vector mosquitoes has important implications for developing novel strategies to suppress disease transmission. Here, we conduct small-RNA sequencing and qRT-PCR to identify differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) in the head tissues of two subspecies of Culex pipiens that differ in biting behavior and the ability to produce eggs without blood feeding. We identified eight differentially expressed miRNAs between biting C. pipiens pipiens (Pipiens) and non-biting C. pipiens molestus (Molestus); six of these miRNAs have validated functions or predicted targets related to energy utilization (miR8-5-p, miR-283, miR-2952-3p, miR-1891), reproduction (miR-1891), and immunity (miR-2934-3p, miR-92a, miR8-5-p). Although miRNAs regulating physiological processes associated with blood feeding have previously been shown to be differentially expressed in response to a blood meal, our results are the first to demonstrate differential miRNA expression in anticipation of a blood meal before blood is actually imbibed. We compare our current miRNA results to three previous studies of differential messenger RNA expression in the head tissues of mosquitoes. Taken together, the combined results consistently show that biting mosquitoes commit to specific physiological processes in anticipation of a blood meal, while non-biting mosquitoes mitigate these anticipatory costs.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the necessity for a more fundamental understanding of the coronavirus life cycle. The causative agent of the disease, SARS-CoV-2, is being studied extensively from a structural standpoint in order to gain insight into key molecular mechanisms required for its survival. Contained within the untranslated regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome are various conserved stem-loop elements that are believed to function in RNA replication, viral protein translation, and discontinuous transcription. While the majority of these regions are variable in sequence, a 41-nucleotide s2m element within the genome 3′ untranslated region is highly conserved among coronaviruses and three other viral families. In this study, we demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 s2m element dimerizes by forming an intermediate homodimeric kissing complex structure that is subsequently converted to a thermodynamically stable duplex conformation. This process is aided by the viral nucleocapsid protein, potentially indicating a role in mediating genome dimerization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the s2m element interacts with multiple copies of host cellular microRNA (miRNA) 1307-3p. Taken together, our results highlight the potential significance of the dimer structures formed by the s2m element in key biological processes and implicate the motif as a possible therapeutic drug target for COVID-19 and other coronavirus-related diseases.

    more » « less
  3. Summary

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 20‐24 nucleotides (nt) small RNAs functioning in eukaryotes. The length and sequence of miRNAs are not only related to the biogenesis of miRNAs but are also important for downstream physiological processes like ta‐siRNA production. To investigate these roles, it is informative to create small mutations within mature miRNA sequences. We used both TALENs (transcription activator‐like effector nucleases) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR‐associated protein 9 (Cas9) to introduce heritable base pair mutations in mature miRNA sequences. For rice, TALEN constructs were built targeting five different mature miRNA sequences and yielding heritable mutations. Among the resulting mutants,mir390mutant showed a severe defect in the shoot apical meristem (SAM), a shootless phenotype, which could be rescued by the wild‐typeMIR390. Small RNA sequencing showed the two base pair deletion inmir390substantially interfered with miR390 biogenesis. In Arabidopsis, CRISPR/Cas9‐mediated editing of the miR160* strand confirmed that the asymmetric structure of miRNA is not a necessary determinant for secondary siRNA production. CRISPR/Cas9 with double‐guide RNAs successfully generatedmir160anull mutants with fragment deletions, at a higher efficiency than a single‐guide RNA. The difference between the phenotypic severity ofmiR160amutants in Col‐0 versus Ler backgrounds highlights a diverged role for miR160a in different ecotypes. Overall, we demonstrated that TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9 are both effective in modifying miRNA precursor structure, disrupting miRNA processing and generating miRNA null mutant plants.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract Background

    Circulating miRNAs (c-miRNAs) are found in most, if not all, biological fluids and are becoming well-established non-invasive biomarkers of many human pathologies. However, their features in non-pathological contexts and whether their expression profiles reflect normal life history events have received little attention, especially in non-mammalian species. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential of c-miRNAs to serve as biomarkers of reproductive and metabolic states in fish.


    The blood plasma was sampled throughout the reproductive cycle of female rainbow trout subjected to two different feeding regimes that triggered contrasting metabolic states. In addition, ovarian fluid was sampled at ovulation, and all samples were subjected to small RNA-seq analysis, leading to the establishment of a comprehensive miRNA repertoire (i.e., miRNAome) and enabling subsequent comparative analyses to a panel of RNA-seq libraries from a wide variety of tissues and organs. We showed that biological fluid miRNAomes are complex and encompass a high proportion of the overall rainbow trout miRNAome. While sharing a high proportion of common miRNAs, the blood plasma and ovarian fluid miRNAomes exhibited strong fluid-specific signatures. We further revealed that the blood plasma miRNAome significantly changed depending on metabolic and reproductive states. We subsequently identified three evolutionarily conserved muscle-specific miRNAs or myomiRs (miR-1-1/2-3p, miR-133a-1/2-3p, and miR-206-3p) that accumulated in the blood plasma in response to high feeding rates, making these myomiRs strong candidate biomarkers of active myogenesis. We also identified miR-202-5p as a candidate biomarker for reproductive success that could be used to predict ovulation and/or egg quality.


    Together, these promising results reveal the high potential of c-miRNAs, including evolutionarily conserved myomiRs, as physiologically relevant biomarker candidates and pave the way for the use of c-miRNAs for non-invasive phenotyping in various fish species.

    more » « less
  5. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is rapidly becoming one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and with its high mortality rate, there is a pressing need to develop sensitive and robust methods for detection. Exosomal biomarker panels provide a promising avenue for PDAC screening since exosomes are highly stable and easily harvested from body fluids. PDAC-associated miRNAs packaged within these exosomes could be used as diagnostic markers. We analyzed a series of 18 candidate miRNAs via RT-qPCR to identify the differentially expressed miRNAs (p < 0.05, t-test) between plasma exosomes harvested from PDAC patients and control patients. From this analysis, we propose a four-marker panel consisting of miR-93-5p, miR-339-3p, miR-425-5p, and miR-425-3p with an area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operator characteristic curve (ROC) of 0.885 with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 94.7%, which is comparable to the CA19-9 standard PDAC marker diagnostic. 
    more » « less