Completed PhD in Biochemistry in 2015 with a focus on microRNA-mediated gene silencing
The role of key protein families Ago & GW182 in miRNA action
Latest update, 5 July 2017:
Argonaute (AGO) proteins mediate posttranscriptional gene silencing through formation of the microRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). Bridge et al. identify LIM-domain-containing proteins as essential for miRISC formation through a phosphorylation-dependent mechanism. This is critical for posttranscriptional gene silencing and reveals that miRISC functionality is maintained by ‘‘AGO switching.’’
Abstract: As core components of the microRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC), Argonaute (AGO) proteins interact with TNRC6 proteins, recruiting other effectors of translational repression/mRNA destabilization. Here, we show that LIMD1 coordinates the assembly of an AGO-TNRC6 containing miRISC complex by binding both proteins simultaneously at distinct interfaces. Phosphorylation of AGO2 at Ser 387 by Akt3 induces LIMD1 binding, which in turn enables AGO2 to interact with TNRC6A and downstream effector DDX6. Conservation of this serine in AGO1 and 4 indicates this mechanism may be a fundamental requirement for AGO function and miRISC assembly. Upon CRISPR-Cas9-mediated knockout of LIMD1, AGO2 miRNA-silencing function is lost and miRNA silencing becomes dependent on a complex formed by AGO3 and the LIMD1 family member WTIP. The switch to AGO3 utilization occurs due to the presence of a glutamic acid residue (E390) on the interaction interface, which allows AGO3 to bind to LIMD1, AJUBA, and WTIP irrespective of Akt signaling.
Pub.: 07 Jul '17, Pinned: 18 Jul '17
Abstract: Due to its widespread incidence, maternal malnutrition remains one of the major non-genetic factors affecting the development of newborn's brain. While all nutrients have certain influence on brain maturation, proteins appear to be the most critical for the development of neurological functions. An increasing number of studies point out that the effects of early-life nutritional inadequacy has long lasting effects on the brain and lead to permanent deficits in learning and behavior. Epigenetic mechanisms provide a potential link between the nutrition status during critical periods and changes in gene expression that may lead to disease phenotypes. Among those epigenetic mechanisms microRNAs (miRNAs) emerge as promising molecules for the link between nutrition and gene expression due to their relevance in many central nervous system functions. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the impact of perinatal protein malnutrition on the development of male and female mice offspring and to analyze the expression of the genes involved in the miRNA biogenesis pathway in different mouse brain structures. We demonstrated that early nutritional stress such as exposition to a protein-deficient diet during gestation and lactation reduced the hippocampal weight, delayed offspring's development and deregulated the expression of Xpo5 and Ago2 genes in hippocampus and hypothalamus of weanling mice. Moreover, an overall increase in mature miRNAs was consistent with the induction of Xpo5 mRNA. Altered miRNA biogenesis could modify the availability and functionality of miRNA becoming a causal factor of the adverse effects of protein malnutrition.
Pub.: 17 Mar '17, Pinned: 22 Apr '17
Abstract: Experimental evidence indicates that about 60% of miRNA-binding activity does not follow the canonical rule about the seed matching between miRNA and target mRNAs, but rather a non-canonical miRNA targeting activity outside the seed or with a seed-like motifs. Here, we propose a new unbiased method to identify canonical and non-canonical miRNA-binding sites from peaks identified by Ago2 Cross-Linked ImmunoPrecipitation associated to high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-seq). Since the quality of peaks is of pivotal importance for the final output of the proposed method, we provide a comprehensive benchmarking of four peak detection programs, namely CIMS, PIPE-CLIP, Piranha and Pyicoclip, on four publicly available Ago2-HITS-CLIP datasets and one unpublished in-house Ago2-dataset in stem cells. We measured the sensitivity, the specificity and the position accuracy toward miRNA binding sites identification, and the agreement with TargetScan. Secondly, we developed a new pipeline, called miRBShunter, to identify canonical and non-canonical miRNA-binding sites based on de novo motif identification from Ago2 peaks and prediction of miRNA::RNA heteroduplexes. miRBShunter was tested and experimentally validated on the in-house Ago2-dataset and on an Ago2-PAR-CLIP dataset in human stem cells. Overall, we provide guidelines to choose a suitable peak detection program and a new method for miRNA-target identification.
Pub.: 22 Jan '17, Pinned: 26 Jan '17
Abstract: MicroRNAs and Argonaute form the microRNA induced silencing complex or miRISC that recruits GW182, causing mRNA degradation and/or translational repression. Despite the clear conservation and molecular significance, it is unknown if miRISC-GW182 interaction is essential for gene silencing during animal development. Using Caenorhabditis elegans to explore this question, we examined the relationship and effect on gene silencing between the GW182 orthologs, AIN-1 and AIN-2, and the microRNA-specific Argonaute, ALG-1. Homology modeling based on human Argonaute structures indicated that ALG-1 possesses conserved Tryptophan-binding Pockets required for GW182 binding. We show in vitro and in vivo that their mutations severely altered the association with AIN-1 and AIN-2. ALG-1 tryptophan-binding pockets mutant animals retained microRNA-binding and processing ability, but were deficient in reporter silencing activity. Interestingly, the ALG-1 tryptophan-binding pockets mutant phenocopied the loss of alg-1 in worms during larval stages, yet was sufficient to rescue embryonic lethality, indicating the dispensability of AINs association with the miRISC at this developmental stage. The dispensability of AINs in miRNA regulation is further demonstrated by the capacity of ALG-1 tryptophan-binding pockets mutant to regulate a target of the embryonic mir-35 microRNA family. Thus, our results demonstrate that the microRNA pathway can act independently of GW182 proteins during C. elegans embryogenesis.
Pub.: 10 Dec '16, Pinned: 20 Dec '16
Abstract: IGF-2 mRNA binding protein 3 (IGF2BP3, IMP-3) is a well-known post-transcriptional regulatory factor of gene expression, mainly involved in embryonic development and oncogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that a subset of IMP-3 targets, such as the mRNAs of cyclins D1, D3 and G1, are positively regulated by IMP-3, and that this regulation depends on nuclear localization of IMP-3. In the present study, we show that as a first step following a knock-down of IMP-3, the protein levels of the cyclins rapidly decrease, while their mRNAs remain stable and associated with the polyribosomes, though not translated. We have elucidated the molecular mechanisms of this regulation, demonstrating that IMP-3 and its protein partners ILF3/NF90 and PTBP1 bind to the 3'UTRs of the cyclin mRNAs and protect them from the translational repression induced by miRNA-dependent recruitment of AGO2/GW182 complex in human cancer cells.
Pub.: 15 Nov '16, Pinned: 28 Nov '16
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short (21-23 nt long) RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression in plants and animals. They are key regulators in all biological processes. In mammalian cells miRNAs are loaded into one of the four members of the Argonaute (Ago) protein family to form the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). RISCs inhibit the translation of mRNAs that share sequence complementarity with their loaded miRNAs. miRNA processing and miRNA-mediated gene regulation are highly regulated processes and involve many RNA-binding proteins as auxiliary factors.
Pub.: 28 Jul '16, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Secretion of RNAs in extracellular vesicles is a newly recognized form of intercellular communication. A potential regulatory protein for microRNA (miRNA) secretion is the critical RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) component Argonaute 2 (Ago2). Here, we use isogenic colon cancer cell lines to show that overactivity of KRAS due to mutation inhibits localization of Ago2 to multivesicular endosomes (MVEs) and decreases Ago2 secretion in exosomes. Mechanistically, inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (MEKs) I and II, but not Akt, reverses the effect of the activating KRAS mutation and leads to increased Ago2-MVE association and increased exosomal secretion of Ago2. Analysis of cells expressing mutant Ago2 constructs revealed that phosphorylation of Ago2 on serine 387 prevents Ago2-MVE interactions and reduces Ago2 secretion into exosomes. Furthermore, regulation of Ago2 exosomal sorting controls the levels of three candidate miRNAs in exosomes. These data identify a key regulatory signaling event that controls Ago2 secretion in exosomes.
Pub.: 28 Apr '16, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally by base pairing to the target mRNAs in animal cells.KRas, an oncogene known to be repressed by let-7a miRNAs, is expressed and needed for the differentiation of mammalian sympathetic neurons and PC12 cells. We documented a loss of let-7a activity during this differentiation process without any significant change in the cellular level of let-7a miRNA. However, the level of Ago2, an essential component that is associated with miRNAs to form RNP-specific miRNA (miRNP) complexes, shows an increase with neuronal differentiation. In this study, differentiation-induced phosphorylation and the subsequent loss of miRNA from Ago2 were noted, and these accounted for the loss of miRNA activity in differentiating neurons. Neuronal differentiation induces the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 and the downstream kinase mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 (MSK1). This in turn upregulates the phosphorylation of Ago2 and ensures the dissociation of miRNA from Ago2 in neuronal cells. MSK1-mediated miRNP inactivation is a prerequisite for the differentiation of neuronal cells, where let-7a miRNA gets unloaded from Ago2 to ensure the upregulation ofKRas, a target of let-7a. We noted that the inactivation of let-7a is both necessary and sufficient for the differentiation of sympathetic neurons.
Pub.: 10 Feb '16, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Oncogenic mutations in RAS provide a compelling yet intractable therapeutic target. Using co-immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry, we uncovered an interaction between RAS and Argonaute 2 (AGO2). Endogenously, RAS and AGO2 co-sediment and co-localize in the endoplasmic reticulum. The AGO2 N-terminal domain directly binds the Switch II region of KRAS, agnostic of nucleotide (GDP/GTP) binding. Functionally, AGO2 knockdown attenuates cell proliferation in mutant KRAS-dependent cells and AGO2 overexpression enhances KRAS(G12V)-mediated transformation. Using AGO2-/- cells, we demonstrate that the RAS-AGO2 interaction is required for maximal mutant KRAS expression and cellular transformation. Mechanistically, oncogenic KRAS attenuates AGO2-mediated gene silencing. Overall, the functional interaction with AGO2 extends KRAS function beyond its canonical role in signaling.
Pub.: 09 Feb '16, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: The abundance of miR-132 ranges from constitutively high in the brain where it is necessary for neuronal development and function, to inducible expression in haematopoietic and endothelial cells where it controls angiogenesis and immune activation. We show that expression of AGO2, a protein central to miRNA-mediated gene silencing and miRNA biogenesis, is negatively regulated by miR-132. Using HeLa cells, we demonstrate that miR-132 interacts with the AGO2 mRNA 3'UTR and suppresses AGO2 expression and AGO2-dependent small RNA-mediated silencing. Similarly, miR-132 over-expression leads to AGO2 suppression in primary human dermal lymphatic endothelial cells (HDLECs). During phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-activation of HDLECs, miR-132 is induced in a CREB-dependent manner and inhibition of miR-132 results in increased AGO2 expression. In agreement with the role of AGO2 in maintenance of miRNA expression, AGO2 suppression by miR-132 affects the steady state levels of miR-221 and miR-146a, two miRNAs involved in angiogenesis and inflammation, respectively. Our data demonstrate that the miRNA-silencing machinery is subject to autoregulation during primary cell activation through direct suppression of AGO2 by miR-132.
Pub.: 18 Oct '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: GW182 family proteins play important roles in microRNA (miRNA)-mediated RNA silencing. They directly interact with Argonaute (Ago) proteins in processing bodies (P bodies), cytoplasmic foci involved in mRNA degradation and storage. Recently, we revealed that a human GW182 family protein, TNRC6A, is a nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling protein, and its subcellular localization is regulated by its own nuclear localization signal and nuclear export signal. Regarding the further controlling mechanism of TNRC6A subcellular localization, we found that TNRC6A protein is tethered in P bodies by direct interaction with Ago2 under Ago2 overexpression condition in HeLa cells. Furthermore, it was revealed that such Ago proteins might be strongly tethered in the P bodies through Ago-bound small RNAs. Thus, our results indicate that TNRC6A subcellular localization is substantially controlled by the interaction with Ago proteins. Furthermore, it was also revealed that the TNRC6A subcellular localization affects the RNA silencing activity.
Pub.: 09 Oct '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: DNA damage transactivates tumour protein p53 (TP53)-regulated surveillance, crucial in suppressing tumorigenesis. TP53 mediates this process directly by transcriptionally modulating gene and microRNA (miRNA) expression and indirectly by regulating miRNA biogenesis. However, the role of TP53 in regulating miRNA-AGO2 loading and global changes in AGO2 binding to its gene targets in response to DNA damage are unknown. These processes might be novel mechanisms by which TP53 regulates miRNAs in response to DNA damage.To show the network of miRNA-mRNA interactions that occur in response to DNA damage, we stimulated TP53 wild-type and null cell-lines with doxorubicin and performed RNA sequencing from total RNA (RNA-Seq) and AGO2-immunoprecipitated RNA (AGO2-RIP-Seq). We used a combined AGO2 RIP-seq and AGO2 PAR-CLIP-seq (photoactivatable-ribonucleoside-enhanced cross-linking and immunoprecipitation) approach to determine the exact sites of interaction between the AGO2-bound miRNAs and their mRNA targets.TP53 directly associated with AGO2, and induced and reduced loading of a subset of miRNAs, including the lethal 7 (let-7) miRNA family members, onto AGO2 in response to DNA damage. Although mutated TP53 maintained its capacity to interact with AGO2, it mediated unloading instead of loading of let-7 family miRNAs, thereby reducing their activity. We determined the miRNA-mRNA interaction networks involved in the response to DNA damage both in the presence and absence of TP53. Furthermore, we showed that miRNAs whose cellular abundance or differential loading onto AGO2 was regulated by TP53 were involved in an intricate network of regulatory feedback and feedforward circuits that fine-tuned gene expression levels in response to DNA damage to permit the repair of DNA damage or initiation of programmed cell death.Control of AGO2 loading by TP53 is a new mechanism of miRNA regulation in carcinogenesis.UK Medical Research Council, Action Against Cancer.
Pub.: 28 Aug '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been considered as oncogenes, tumor suppressors, or modulators involved in the tumorigenesis and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) today. As miRNA induces mRNA degradation or translation inhibition in RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), the changes in RISC and its interacted proteins might contribute to the functional alternations of miRNA. To explore the molecular function of RISC in HCC, we co-purified RISC interacted proteins by anti-AGO2 antibody and identified 12 AGO2 binding proteins by mass spectrometry. Among them, we found PABPC1 was over-expressed in HCC, especially in high grade HCC. Further studies showed PABPC1 interacted with AGO2 in the cytoplasm of HCC cells. This interaction increased the recruitment of mRNA to RISC and enhanced the inhibition efficiency of miRNA. In general, PABPC1 acted as an oncogene in HCC as it induced cell proliferation by promoting entry into the S phase and enhanced the anchorage independent growth. Our study identified a novel method by which the activities of miRNA could be enhanced with the increase of PABPC1 in HCC and could explain why several miRNAs play critical roles in HCC progression without clear level changes. This finding would benefit the diagnosis and treatment of HCC.
Pub.: 19 Jul '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: The GW182 proteins are a key component of the miRNA-dependent post-transcriptional silencing pathway in animals. They function as scaffold proteins to mediate the interaction of Argonaute (AGO)-containing complexes with cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding proteins (PABP) and PAN2-PAN3 and CCR4-NOT deadenylases. The AGO-GW182 complexes mediate silencing of the target mRNA through induction of translational repression and/or mRNA degradation. Although the GW182 proteins are a subject of extensive experimental research in the recent years, very little is known about their origin and evolution. Here, based on complex functional annotation and phylogenetic analyses, we reveal 448 members of the GW182 protein family from the earliest animals to humans. Our results indicate that a single-copy GW182/TNRC6C progenitor gene arose with the emergence of multicellularity and it multiplied in the last common ancestor of vertebrates in 2 rounds of whole genome duplication (WGD) resulting in 3 genes. Before the divergence of vertebrates, both the AGO- and CCR4-NOT-binding regions of GW182s showed significant acceleration in the accumulation of amino acid changes, suggesting functional adaptation toward higher specificity to the molecules of the silencing complex. We conclude that the silencing ability of the GW182 proteins improves with higher position in the taxonomic classification and increasing complexity of the organism. The first reconstruction of the molecular journey of GW182 proteins from the ancestral metazoan protein to the current mammalian configuration provides new insight into development of the miRNA-dependent post-transcriptional silencing pathway in animals.
Pub.: 25 Jun '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: MicroRNA (miRNA) biogenesis and miRNA-guided RNA interference (RNAi) are essential for gene expression in eukaryotes. Here we report that translation initiation factor eIF1A directly interacts with Ago2 and promotes Ago2 activities in RNAi and miR-451 biogenesis. Biochemical and NMR analyses demonstrate that eIF1A binds to the MID domain of Ago2 and this interaction does not impair translation initiation. Alanine mutation of the Ago2-facing Lys56 in eIF1A impairs RNAi activities in human cells and zebrafish. The eIF1A-Ago2 assembly facilitates Dicer-independent biogenesis of miR-451, which mediates erythrocyte maturation. Human eIF1A (heIF1A), but not heIF1A(K56A), rescues the erythrocyte maturation delay in eif1axb knockdown zebrafish. Consistently, miR-451 partly compensates erythrocyte maturation defects in zebrafish with eif1axb knockdown and eIF1A(K56A) expression, supporting a role of eIF1A in miRNA-451 biogenesis in this model. Our results suggest that eIF1A is a novel component of the Ago2-centred RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs) and augments Ago2-dependent RNAi and miRNA biogenesis.
Pub.: 29 May '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) are widely used for gene knockdown by inducing the RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism, both for research and therapeutic purposes. The shRNA precursor is processed by the RNase III-like enzyme Dicer into biologically active small interfering RNA (siRNA). This effector molecule subsequently targets a complementary mRNA for destruction via the Argonaute 2 (AGO2) complex. The cellular role of Dicer concerns the processing of pre-miRNAs into mature microRNA (miRNA). Recently, a non-canonical pathway was reported for the biogenesis of miR-451, which bypasses Dicer and is processed instead by the slicer activity of AGO2, followed by the regular AGO2-mediated mRNA targeting step. Interestingly, shRNA designs that are characterized by a relatively short basepaired stem also bypass Dicer to be processed by AGO2. We named this design AgoshRNA as these molecules depend on AGO2 both for processing and silencing activity. In this study, we investigated diverse mechanistic aspects of this new class of AgoshRNA molecules. We probed the requirements for AGO2-mediated processing of AgoshRNAs by modification of the proposed cleavage site in the hairpin. We demonstrate by deep sequencing that AGO2-processed AgoshRNAs produce RNA effector molecules with more discrete ends than the products of the regular shRNA design. Furthermore, we tested whether trimming and tailing occurs upon AGO2-mediated processing of AgoshRNAs, similar to what has been described for miR-451. Finally, we tested the prediction that AgoshRNA activity, unlike that of regular shRNAs, is maintained in Dicer-deficient cell types. These mechanistic insights could aid in the design of optimised AgoshRNA tools and therapeutics.
Pub.: 01 Apr '15, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Relatively large amounts of transfected siRNA can compete for Ago proteins and thus compromise endogenous miRNA function, potentially leading to toxicities. Here, we show that shRNA can also perturb endogenous miRNA function similarly. More importantly, we also show that the problem can be solved by designing shRNAs in the context of pre-miR-451 structure with completely complementary stem, which significantly improves the Ago2 specificity. This shRNA was shown to be Ago2-specific, and maintain target-silencing ability while avoiding competition with endogenous miRNAs by not competing for Agos 1, 3, and 4. We conclude that modified pre-miR-451 structure provides a general platform to design shRNAs that significantly reduce perturbation of miRNA function.
Pub.: 16 Jul '14, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Argonaute proteins are often credited for their cytoplasmic activities in which they function as central mediators of the RNAi platform and microRNA (miRNA)-mediated processes. They also facilitate heterochromatin formation and establishment of repressive epigenetic marks in the nucleus of fission yeast and plants. However, the nuclear functions of Ago proteins in mammalian cells remain elusive. In the present study, we combine ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with massively parallel sequencing) with biochemical assays to show that nuclear Ago1 directly interacts with RNA Polymerase II and is widely associated with chromosomal loci throughout the genome with preferential enrichment in promoters of transcriptionally active genes. Additional analyses show that nuclear Ago1 regulates the expression of Ago1-bound genes that are implicated in oncogenic pathways including cell cycle progression, growth, and survival. Our findings reveal the first landscape of human Ago1-chromosomal interactions, which may play a role in the oncogenic transcriptional program of cancer cells.
Pub.: 03 Oct '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) guide Argonaute (Ago) proteins to target mRNAs, leading to gene silencing. However, Ago proteins are not the actual mediators of gene silencing but interact with a member of the GW182 protein family (also known as GW proteins), which coordinates all downstream steps in gene silencing. GW proteins contain an N-terminal Ago-binding domain that is characterized by multiple GW repeats and a C-terminal silencing domain with several globular domains. Within the Ago-binding domain, Trp residues mediate the direct interaction with the Ago protein. Here, we have characterized the interaction of Ago proteins with GW proteins in molecular detail. Using biochemical and NMR experiments, we show that only a subset of Trp residues engage in Ago interactions. The Trp residues are located in intrinsically disordered regions, where flanking residues mediate additional weak interactions, that might explain the importance of specific tryptophans. Using cross-linking followed by mass spectrometry, we map the GW protein interactions with Ago2, which allows for structural modeling of Ago-GW182 interaction. Our data further indicate that the Ago-GW protein interaction might be a two-step process involving the sequential binding of two tryptophans separated by a spacer with a minimal length of 10 aa.
Pub.: 18 Sep '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: The PAN2-PAN3 deadenylase complex functions in general and miRNA-mediated mRNA degradation and is specifically recruited to miRNA targets by GW182/TNRC6 proteins. We describe the PAN3 adaptor protein crystal structure that, unexpectedly, forms intertwined and asymmetric homodimers. Dimerization is mediated by a coiled coil that links an N-terminal pseudokinase to a C-terminal knob domain. The PAN3 pseudokinase binds ATP, and this function is required for mRNA degradation in vivo. We further identified conserved surfaces required for mRNA degradation, including the binding surface for the PAN2 deadenylase on the knob domain. The most remarkable structural feature is the presence of a tryptophan-binding pocket at the dimer interface, which mediates binding to TNRC6C in human cells. Together, our data reveal the structural basis for the interaction of PAN3 with PAN2 and the recruitment of the PAN2-PAN3 complex to miRNA targets by TNRC6 proteins.
Pub.: 13 Aug '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Argonaute proteins interact with small RNAs and facilitate small RNA-guided gene-silencing processes. Small RNAs guide Argonaute proteins to distinct target sites on mRNAs where Argonaute proteins interact with members of the GW182 protein family (also known as GW proteins). In subsequent steps, GW182 proteins mediate the downstream steps of gene silencing. The present mini-review summarizes and discusses our current knowledge of the molecular basis of Argonaute-GW182 protein interactions.
Pub.: 19 Jul '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: When adapting to environmental stress, cells attenuate and reprogram their translational output. In part, these altered translation profiles are established through changes in the interactions between RNA-binding proteins and mRNAs. The Argonaute 2 (Ago2)/microRNA (miRNA) machinery has been shown to participate in stress-induced translational up-regulation of a particular mRNA, CAT-1; however, a detailed, transcriptome-wide understanding of the involvement of Ago2 in the process has been lacking. Here, we profiled the overall changes in Ago2-mRNA interactions upon arsenite stress by cross-linking immunoprecipitation (CLIP) followed by high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-seq). Ago2 displayed a significant remodeling of its transcript occupancy, with the majority of 3' untranslated region (UTR) and coding sequence (CDS) sites exhibiting stronger interaction. Interestingly, target sites that were destined for release from Ago2 upon stress were depleted in miRNA complementarity signatures, suggesting an alternative mode of interaction. To compare the changes in Ago2-binding patterns across transcripts with changes in their translational states, we measured mRNA profiles on ribosome/polysome gradients by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Increased Ago2 occupancy correlated with stronger repression of translation for those mRNAs, as evidenced by a shift toward lighter gradient fractions upon stress, while release of Ago2 was associated with the limited number of transcripts that remained translated. Taken together, these data point to a role for Ago2 and the mammalian miRNAs in mediating the translational component of the stress response.
Pub.: 05 Jul '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are generated by two-step processing to yield small RNAs that negatively regulate target gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Deregulation of miRNAs has been linked to diverse pathological processes, including cancer. Recent studies have also implicated miRNAs in the regulation of cellular response to a spectrum of stresses, such as hypoxia, which is frequently encountered in the poorly angiogenic core of a solid tumour. However, the upstream regulators of miRNA biogenesis machineries remain obscure, raising the question of how tumour cells efficiently coordinate and impose specificity on miRNA expression and function in response to stresses. Here we show that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is the product of a well-characterized oncogene in human cancers, suppresses the maturation of specific tumour-suppressor-like miRNAs in response to hypoxic stress through phosphorylation of argonaute 2 (AGO2) at Tyr 393. The association between EGFR and AGO2 is enhanced by hypoxia, leading to elevated AGO2-Y393 phosphorylation, which in turn reduces the binding of Dicer to AGO2 and inhibits miRNA processing from precursor miRNAs to mature miRNAs. We also identify a long-loop structure in precursor miRNAs as a critical regulatory element in phospho-Y393-AGO2-mediated miRNA maturation. Furthermore, AGO2-Y393 phosphorylation mediates EGFR-enhanced cell survival and invasiveness under hypoxia, and correlates with poorer overall survival in breast cancer patients. Our study reveals a previously unrecognized function of EGFR in miRNA maturation and demonstrates how EGFR is likely to function as a regulator of AGO2 through novel post-translational modification. These findings suggest that modulation of miRNA biogenesis is important for stress response in tumour cells and has potential clinical implications.
Pub.: 03 May '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: GW182 family proteins interact with Argonaute proteins and are required for the translational repression, deadenylation and decay of miRNA targets. To elicit these effects, GW182 proteins interact with poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) and the CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex. Although the mechanism of miRNA target deadenylation is relatively well understood, how GW182 proteins repress translation is not known. Here, we demonstrate that GW182 proteins decrease the association of eIF4E, eIF4G and PABP with miRNA targets. eIF4E association is restored in cells in which miRNA targets are deadenylated, but decapping is inhibited. In these cells, eIF4G binding is not restored, indicating that eIF4G dissociates as a consequence of deadenylation. In contrast, PABP dissociates from silenced targets in the absence of deadenylation. PABP dissociation requires the interaction of GW182 proteins with the CCR4-NOT complex. Accordingly, NOT1 and POP2 cause dissociation of PABP from bound mRNAs in the absence of deadenylation. Our findings indicate that the recruitment of the CCR4-NOT complex by GW182 proteins releases PABP from the mRNA poly(A) tail, thereby disrupting mRNA circularization and facilitating translational repression and deadenylation.
Pub.: 07 Mar '13, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: GW182 is an 182 kDa protein with multiple glycine/tryptophan repeats (GW or WG) playing a central role in siRNA- and miRNA-mediated gene silencing. GW182 interacts with its functional partner Argonaute proteins (AGO) via multiple domains to exert its silencing activity in both pathways. In siRNA-mediated silencing, knockdown either GW182 or Ago2 causes loss of silencing activity correlating with the disassembly of GWBs. In contrast, GW182 and its longer isoform TNGW1 appear to be downstream repressors that function independent of Ago2, whereas the Ago2-GW182 interaction is critical for the localization of Ago2 in the cytoplasmic foci and its repression function. GW182 contains two non-overlapping repression domains that can trigger translational repression with mild effect on mRNA decay. Collectively, GW182 plays a critical role in miRNA-mediated gene silencing.
Pub.: 12 Dec '12, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: GW182 family proteins are essential for microRNA-mediated gene silencing in animal cells. They are recruited to miRNA targets through direct interactions with Argonaute proteins and promote target silencing. They do so by repressing translation and enhancing mRNA turnover. Although the precise mechanism of action of GW182 proteins is not fully understood, these proteins have been shown to interact with the cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) and with the PAN2-PAN3 and CCR4-NOT deadenylase complexes. These findings suggest that GW182 proteins function as scaffold proteins for the assembly of the multiprotein complex that silences miRNA targets.
Pub.: 12 Dec '12, Pinned: 08 Sep '16
Abstract: Animal miRNAs silence the expression of mRNA targets through translational repression, deadenylation and subsequent mRNA degradation. Silencing requires association of miRNAs with an Argonaute protein and a GW182 family protein. In turn, GW182 proteins interact with poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) and the PAN2-PAN3 and CCR4-NOT deadenylase complexes. These interactions are required for the deadenylation and decay of miRNA targets. Recent studies have indicated that miRNAs repress translation before inducing target deadenylation and decay; however, whether translational repression and deadenylation are coupled or represent independent repressive mechanisms is unclear. Another remaining question is whether translational repression also requires GW182 proteins to interact with both PABP and deadenylases. To address these questions, we characterized the interaction of Drosophila melanogaster GW182 with deadenylases and defined the minimal requirements for a functional GW182 protein. Functional assays in D. melanogaster and human cells indicate that miRNA-mediated translational repression and degradation are mechanistically linked and are triggered through the interactions of GW182 proteins with PABP and deadenylases.
Pub.: 23 Nov '12, Pinned: 08 Sep '16