DiGeorge Syndrome Critical Region 8 (DGCR8) Protein-mediated microRNA Biogenesis Is Essential for Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Development in Mice
ABSTRACT DiGeorge Critical Region 8 (DGCR8) is a double-stranded RNA-binding protein that interacts with Drosha and facilitates microRNA (miRNA) maturation. However, the role of DGCR8 in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) is not well understood. To investigate whether DGCR8 contributes to miRNA maturation in VSMCs, we generated DGCR8 conditional knockout (cKO) mice by crossing VSMC-specific Cre mice (SM22-Cre) with DGCR8(loxp/loxp) mice. We found that loss of DGCR8 in VSMCs resulted in extensive liver hemorrhage and embryonic mortality between embryonic days (E) 12.5 and E13.5. DGCR8 cKO embryos displayed dilated blood vessels and disarrayed vascular architecture. Blood vessels were absent in the yolk sac of DGCR8 KOs after E12.5. Disruption of DGCR8 in VSMCs reduced VSMC proliferation and promoted apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. In DGCR8 cKO embryos and knockout VSMCs, differentiation marker genes, including αSMA, SM22, and CNN1, were significantly down-regulated, and the survival pathways of ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT were attenuated. Knockout of DGCR8 in VSMCs has led to down-regulation of the miR-17/92 and miR-143/145 clusters. We further demonstrated that the miR-17/92 cluster promotes VSMC proliferation and enhances VSMC marker gene expression, which may contribute to the defects of DGCR8 cKO mutants. Our results indicate that the DGCR8 gene is required for vascular development through the regulation of VSMC proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation.
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ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that recently emerged as potent regulators of gene expression. The members of the miR-17-92 cluster have been shown to control endothelial cell functions and neovascularization; however, the regulation and function of the cluster in endothelial cell lineage commitment has not been explored. This project aimed to test the role of the miR-17-92 cluster during endothelial differentiation. We demonstrate that miR-17, miR-18, miR-19 and miR-20 are increased upon the induction of endothelial cell differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells. In contrast, miR-92a and the primary miR-17-92 transcript were downregulated. The inhibition of each individual miR of the cluster by cholesterol-modified antagomirs did not affect endothelial marker gene expression. Moreover, the combination of all antagomirs had no effect. These findings illustrate that although the miR-17-92 cluster regulates vascular integrity and angiogenesis, none of the members has a significant impact on the endothelial differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.Journal of Vascular Research 07/2012; 49(5):447-60. DOI:10.1159/000339429 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Decades of studies have shown evolutionarily conserved molecular networks consisting of transcriptional factors, diffusing growth factors, and signaling pathways that regulate proper lung development. Recently, miRNAs, small non-coding regulatory RNAs, have been integrated into these networks. Significant advances have been made in characterizing the developmental stage- or cell type-specific miRNAs during lung development by using approaches such as genome-wide profiling and in situ hybridization. Results from gain or loss of function studies have revealed pivotal roles of protein components of the miRNA pathway and individual miRNAs in regulating proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and morphogenesis during lung development. Aberrant expression or functions of these components have been associated with pulmonary disorders suggesting the involvement of miRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms in pathogenesis of these diseases. Moreover, genetically modified mice generated in these studies have become useful models for the study of human lung diseases. Challenges in this field include characterization of collective function and responsible targets of miRNAs specifically expressed during lung development, and translation of these basic findings into clinically relevant information for better understanding of human diseases. The goal of this review is to discuss the recent progress on the understanding of how the miRNA pathway regulates lung development, how dysregulation of miRNA activities contribute to pathogenesis of related pulmonary diseases, and to identify relevant questions and future directions.American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 09/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2014-0232RT · 4.11 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: RNA editing is an alteration in the primary nucleotide sequences resulting from a chemical change in the base. RNA editing is observed in eukaryotic mRNA, transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, and non-coding RNAs (ncRNA). The most common RNA editing in the mammalian central nervous system is a base modification, where the adenosine residue is base-modified to inosine (A to I). Studies from ADAR (adenosine deaminase that act on RNA) mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila, and mice clearly show that the RNA editing process is an absolute requirement for nervous system homeostasis and normal physiology of the animal. Understanding the mechanisms of editing and findings of edited substrates has provided a better knowledge of the phenotype due to defective and hyperactive RNA editing. A to I RNA editing is catalyzed by a family of enzymes knows as ADARs. ADARs modify duplex RNAs and editing of duplex RNAs formed by ncRNAs can impact RNA functions, leading to an altered regulatory gene network. Such altered functions by A to I editing is observed in mRNAs, microRNAs (miRNA) but other editing of small and long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) has yet to be identified. Thus, ncRNA and RNA editing may provide key links between neural development, nervous system function, and neurological diseases. This review includes a summary of seminal findings regarding the impact of ncRNAs on biological and pathological processes, which may be further modified by RNA editing. NcRNAs are non-translated RNAs classified by size and function. Known ncRNAs like miRNAs, smallRNAs (smRNAs), PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), and lncRNAs play important roles in splicing, DNA methylation, imprinting, and RNA interference. Of note, miRNAs are involved in development and function of the nervous system that is heavily dependent on both RNA editing and the intricate spatiotemporal expression of ncRNAs. This review focuses on the impact of dysregulated A to I editing and ncRNAs in neurodegeneration.Frontiers in Genetics 01/2012; 3:326. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2012.00326