Most RNAs generated by the human genome have no protein-coding ability and are termed non-coding RNAs. Among these include circular RNAs, which include exonic circular RNAs (circRNA), mainly found in the cytoplasm, and intronic RNAs (ciRNA), predominantly detected in the nucleus. The biological functions of circular RNAs remain largely unknown, although ciRNAs have been reported to promote gene transcription, while circRNAs may function as microRNA sponges. We demonstrate that the circular RNA circ-Foxo3 was highly expressed in non-cancer cells and were associated with cell cycle progression. Silencing endogenous circ-Foxo3 promoted cell proliferation. Ectopic expression of circ-Foxo3 repressed cell cycle progression by binding to the cell cycle proteins cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (also known as cell division protein kinase 2 or CDK2) and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1 (or p21), resulting in the formation of a ternary complex. Normally, CDK2 interacts with cyclin A and cyclin E to facilitate cell cycle entry, while p21works to inhibit these interactions and arrest cell cycle progression. The formation of this circ-Foxo3-p21-CDK2 ternary complex arrested the function of CDK2 and blocked cell cycle progression.
Circular RNAs are a class of non-coding RNAs that are receiving extensive attention. Despite reports showing circular RNAs acting as microRNA sponges, the biological functions of circular RNAs remain largely unknown. We show that in patient tumor samples and in a panel of cancer cells, circ-Foxo3 was minimally expressed. Interestingly, during cancer cell apoptosis, the expression of circ-Foxo3 was found to be significantly increased. We found that silencing endogenous circ-Foxo3 enhanced cell viability, whereas ectopic expression of circ-Foxo3 triggered stress-induced apoptosis and inhibited the growth of tumor xenografts. Also, expression of circ-Foxo3 increased Foxo3 protein levels but repressed p53 levels. By binding to both, circ-Foxo3 promoted MDM2-induced p53 ubiquitination and subsequent degradation, resulting in an overall decrease of p53. With low binding affinity to Foxo3 protein, circ-Foxo3 prevented MDM2 from inducing Foxo3 ubiquitination and degradation, resulting in increased levels of Circular RNAs are a large class of non-coding RNAs that are circularized by joining free 3'-to 5'-ends, forming a circular structure. 1-4Although circular RNAs were initially characterized over 30 years ago, their functions in mammalian cells are still largely unknown. Most circular RNAs are predominantly found in the cytoplasm and contain exons, known as circRNAs.5 A relatively smaller group of circular RNAs that contain both exons and introns are known as EIciRNAs, and are predominantly found in the nucleus. 6 Recent studies have indicated that some circular RNAs contain miRNA binding sites and may function as sponges to arrest miRNA functions. 7,8 It has further been reported that EIciRNAs increase the transcription of their parental genes.9 Recently, we showed that the circular RNA circ-Foxo3 could function by binding to proteins in related signal pathways. 10,11 In the present study, we used computational approach to elucidate the interaction of circ-Foxo3 with MDM2 and p53. The RING-finger domain in the carboxyl terminal of the MDM2 is known to bind RNA specifically in a sequence-specific manner, 12 whereas p53 interacts with RNA via its C-terminal regulatory domain. 13 Our study comprised of computer-aided RNA structure modeling of circ-Foxo3 employing minimum free energy algorithm and machine translation system followed by its molecular interaction with MDM2 (RING-finger domain) and p53 (C-terminal regulatory domain) that includes docking, scoring, clustering, and refinement of the most promising models. The interaction was further confirmed by an approach of molecular experiments to explicate the biological functions of circ-Foxo3. ResultsDecreased expression of circ-Foxo3 in tumors and cancer cells. Downregulation of Foxo3 is often observed in cancer development.14,15 Both circ-Foxo3 and Foxo3 mRNA are encoded by the FOXO3 gene. 16 We found that the levels of circ-Foxo3 in tumor specimen were significantly lower than in the adjacent benign tissue (Figure 1a). We examined circ-Foxo3 expression and detected s...
Circular RNAs have been identified as naturally occurring RNAs that are highly represented in the eukaryotic transcriptome. Although a large number of circRNAs have been reported, circRNA functions remain largely unknown. CircRNAs can function as miRNA sponges, thereby reducing their ability to target mRNAs. We hypothesize that circRNAs may bind, store, sort, and sequester proteins to particular subcellular locations, and act as dynamic scaffolding molecules that modulate protein-protein interactions. Here, we review the biological implication and function of circRNA-protein interaction, and reveal a dynamic model of the interaction in various tissues, development stages and physiological conditions. Improved techniques to identify and characterize the dynamic RNA-protein interactions may elucidate the molecular mechanisms associated with the expression and functional diversity of circRNAs.
It has been reported that the miR-106bB25 cluster, a paralog of the miR-17B92 cluster, possesses oncogenic activities. However, the precise role of each microRNA (miRNA) in the miR-106bB25 cluster is not yet known. In this study, we examined the function of miR-93, one of the microRNAs within the miR-106bB25 cluster, in angiogenesis and tumor formation. We found that miR-93 enhanced cell survival, promoted sphere formation and augmented tumor growth. Most strikingly, when miR-93-overexpressing U87 cells were co-cultured with endothelial cells, they supported endothelial cell spreading, growth, migration and tube formation. In vivo studies revealed that miR-93-expressing cells induced blood vessel formation, allowing blood vessels to extend to tumor tissues in high densities. Angiogenesis promoted by miR-93 in return facilitated cell survival, resulting in enhanced tumor growth. We further showed that integrinb8 is a target of miR-93. Higher levels of integrin-b8 are associated with cell death in tumor mass and in human glioblastoma. Silencing of integrin-b8 expression using small interfering RNA promoted cell proliferation, whereas ectopic expression of integrin-b8 decreased cell growth. These findings showed that miR-93 promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis by suppressing, at least in part, integrin-b8 expression. Our results suggest that inhibition of miR-93 function may be a feasible approach to suppress angiogenesis and tumor growth.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded regulatory RNAs, frequently expressed as clusters. Previous studies have demonstrated that the six-miRNA cluster miR-17~92 has important roles in tissue development and cancers. However, the precise role of each miRNA in the cluster is unknown. Here we show that overexpression of miR-17 results in decreased cell adhesion, migration and proliferation. Transgenic mice overexpressing miR-17 showed overall growth retardation, smaller organs and greatly reduced haematopoietic cell lineages. We found that fibronectin and the fibronectin type-III domain containing 3A (FNDC3A) are two targets that have their expression repressed by miR-17, both in vitro and in transgenic mice. Several lines of evidence support the notion that miR-17 causes cellular defects through its repression of fibronectin expression. Our single miRNA expression assay may be evolved to allow the manipulation of individual miRNA functions in vitro and in vivo. We anticipate that this could serve as a model for studying gene regulation by miRNAs in the development of gene therapy.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) precursor (pre-miRNA) molecules can be processed to release a miRNA/miRNA* duplex. In the canonical model of miRNA biogenesis, one strand of the duplex is thought to be the biologically active miRNA, whereas the other strand is thought to be inactive and degraded as a carrier or passenger strand called miRNA* (miRNA star). However, recent studies have revealed that miRNA* strands frequently play roles in the regulatory networks of miRNA target molecules. Our recent study indicated that miR-17 transgenic mice could abundantly express both the mature miR-17-5p and the passenger strand miR-17-3p. Here, we showed that miR-17 enhanced prostate tumor growth and invasion by increasing tumor cell proliferation, colony formation, cell survival and invasion. miRNA target analysis showed that both miR-17-5p and miR-17-3p repressed TIMP metallopeptidase inhibitor 3 (TIMP3) expression. Silencing with small interfering RNA against TIMP3 promoted cell survival and invasion. Ectopic expression of TIMP3 decreased cell invasion and cell survival. Our results demonstrated that mature miRNA can function coordinately with its passenger strand, enhancing the repressive ability of a miRNA by binding the same target. Within an intricate regulatory network, this may be among the mechanisms by which miRNA can augment their regulatory capacity.
Here we report that miR-93, a miRNA in the miR-106B~25 cluster, a paralog of the miR-17–92 cluster, was significantly upregulated in human breast carcinoma tissues. We stably expressed miR-93 in the MT-1 human breast carcinoma cell line and found that tumors formed by the miR-93 cells contained more blood vessels than those formed by the control cells. Co-culture experiments indicated that the MT-1 cells displayed a high activity of adhesion with endothelial cells and could form larger and more tube-like structures with endothelial cells. Lung metastasis assays were performed in a mouse metastatic model, and it was found that expression of miR-93 promoted tumor cell metastasis to lung tissue. In cell culture, expression of miR-93 enhanced cell survival and invasion. We examined the potential target that mediated miR-93’s effects and found that the large tumor suppressor, homology 2 (LATS2) was a target of miR-93. Higher levels of LATS2 were associated with cell death in the tumor mass. Silencing LATS2 expression promoted cell survival, tube formation and invasion, while ectopic expression of LATS2 decreased cell survival and invasion. These findings demonstrated that miR-93 promoted tumor angiogenesis and metastasis by suppressing LATS2 expression. Our results suggest that the inhibition of miR-93 function may be a feasible approach to repress tumor metastasis.
Circular RNAs are a large group of noncoding RNAs that are widely expressed in mammalian cells. Genome-wide analyses have revealed abundant and evolutionarily conserved circular RNAs across species, which suggest specific physiological roles of these species. Using a microarray approach, we detected increased expression of a circular RNA circ-Dnmt1 in eight breast cancer cell lines and in patients with breast carcinoma. Silencing circ-Dnmt1 inhibited cell proliferation and survival. Ectopic circ-Dnmt1 increased the proliferative and survival capacities of breast cancer cells by stimulating cellular autophagy. We found that circ-Dnmt1-mediated autophagy was essential in inhibiting cellular senescence and increasing tumor xenograft growth. We further found that ectopically expressed circ-Dnmt1 could interact with both p53 and AUF1, promoting the nuclear translocation of both proteins. Nuclear translocation of p53 induced cellular autophagy while AUF1 nuclear translocation reduced Dnmt1 mRNA instability, resulting in increased Dnmt1 translation. From here, functional Dnmt1 could then translocate into the nucleus, inhibiting p53 transcription. Computational algorithms revealed that both p53 and AUF1 could bind to different regions of circ-Dnmt1 RNA. Our results showed that the highly expressed circular RNA circ-Dnmt1 could bind to and regulate oncogenic proteins in breast cancer cells. Thus circ-Dnmt1 appears to be an oncogenic circular RNA with potential for further preclinical research.
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