NAR Top Articles - RNA
Large-scale prediction of long non-coding RNA functions in a coding-non-coding gene co-expression network
Liao, Q; Liu, CN; Yuan, XY; Kang, SL; Miao, RY; Xiao, H; Zhao, GG; Luo, HT; Bu, DC; Zhao, HT; Skogerbo, G; Wu, ZD; Zhao, Y
Nucleic Acids Res. (2011) 39 (9): 3864-3878
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Although accumulating evidence has provided insight into the various functions of long-non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), the exact functions of the majority of such transcripts are still unknown. Here, we report the first computational annotation of lncRNA functions based on public microarray expression profiles. A coding-non-coding gene co-expression (CNC) network was constructed from re-annotated Affymetrix Mouse Genome Array data. Probable functions for altogether 340 lncRNAs were predicted based on topological or other network characteristics, such as module sharing, association with network hubs and combinations of co-expression and genomic adjacency. The functions annotated to the lncRNAs mainly involve organ or tissue development (e.g. neuron, eye and muscle development), cellular transport (e.g. neuronal transport and sodium ion, acid or lipid transport) or metabolic processes (e.g. involving macromolecules, phosphocreatine and tyrosine).
MicroRNA-26a/b and their host genes cooperate to inhibit the G1/S transition by activating the pRb protein
Zhu, Y; Lu, Y; Zhang, Q; Liu, JJ; Li, TJ; Yang, JR; Zeng, CX; Zhuang, SM
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (10): 4615-4625
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The functional association between intronic miRNAs and their host genes is still largely unknown. We found that three gene loci, which produced miR-26a and miR-26b, were embedded within introns of genes coding for the proteins of carboxy-terminal domain RNA polymerase II polypeptide A small phosphatase (CTDSP) family, including CTDSPL, CTDSP2 and CTDSP1. We conducted serum starvation-stimulation assays in primary fibroblasts and two-thirds partial-hepatectomies in mice, which revealed that miR-26a/b and CTDSP1/2/L were expressed concomitantly during the cell cycle process. Specifically, they were increased in quiescent cells and decreased during cell proliferation. Furthermore, both miR-26 and CTDSP family members were frequently downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues. Gain- and loss-of-function studies showed that miR-26a/b and CTDSP1/2/L synergistically decreased the phosphorylated form of pRb (ppRb), and blocked G1/S-phase progression. Further investigation disclosed that miR-26a/b directly suppressed the expression of CDK6 and cyclin E1, which resulted in reduced phosphorylation of pRb...
Characterization of extracellular circulating microRNA
Turchinovich, A; Weiz, L; Langheinz, A; Burwinkel, B
Nucleic Acids Res. (2011) 39 (16): 7223-7233
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of post-transcriptional gene expression regulators, have recently been detected in human body fluids, including peripheral blood plasma as extracellular nuclease resistant entities. However, the origin and function of extracellular circulating miRNA remain essentially unknown. Here, we confirmed that circulating mature miRNA in contrast to mRNA or snRNA is strikingly stable in blood plasma and cell culture media. Furthermore, we found that most miRNA in plasma and cell culture media completely passed through 0.22 mu m filters but remained in the supernatant after ultracentrifugation at 110 000g indicating the non-vesicular origin of the extracellular miRNA. Furthermore, western blot immunoassay revealed that extracellular miRNA ultrafiltrated together with the 96 kDa Ago2 protein, a part of RNA-induced silencing complex. Moreover, miRNAs in both blood plasma and cell culture media co-immunoprecipited with anti-Ago2 antibody in a detergent free environment. This is the first study to show that extracellular miRNAs are predominantly exosomes/microvesicles free and are associated with Ago proteins...
Clustering RNA structural motifs in ribosomal RNAs using secondary structural alignment
Zhong, CC; Zhang, SJ
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (3): 1307-1317
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RNA structural motifs are the building blocks of the complex RNA architecture. Identification of non-coding RNA structural motifs is a critical step towards understanding of their structures and functionalities. In this article, we present a clustering approach for de novo RNA structural motif identification. We applied our approach on a data set containing 5S, 16S and 23S rRNAs and rediscovered many known motifs including GNRA tetraloop, kink-turn, C-loop, sarcin-ricin, reverse kink-turn, hook-turn, E-loop and tandem-sheared motifs, with higher accuracy than the state-of-the-art clustering method. We also identified a number of potential novel instances of GNRA tetraloop, kink-turn, sarcin-ricin and tandem-sheared motifs. More importantly, several novel structural motif families have been revealed by our clustering analysis. We identified a highly asymmetric bulge loop motif that resembles the rope sling. We also found an internal loop motif that can significantly increase the twist of the helix. Finally, we discovered a subfamily of hexaloop motif, which has significantly different geometry comparing to the currently known hexaloop motif...
A twist in the tail: SHAPE mapping of long-range interactions and structural rearrangements of RNA elements involved in HCV replication
Tuplin, A; Struthers, M; Simmonds, P; Evans, DJ
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (14): 6908-6921
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The RNA structure and long-range interactions of the SL9266 cis-acting replication element located within the NS5B coding region of hepatitis C virus (HCV) were determined using selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analysed by primer extension. Marked differences were found in the long-range interactions of SL9266 when the two widely used genotype 2a JFH-1 (HCVcc) and genotype 1b Con1b sub-genomic replicon systems were compared. In both genomes, there was evidence for interaction of the sub-terminal bulge loop of SL9266 and sequences around nucleotide 9110, though the replication phenotype of genomes bearing mutations that disrupted this interaction was fundamentally different. In contrast, a 'kissing loop' interaction between the terminal loop of SL9266 and sequences in the 3'-untranslated X-tail was only detectable in JFH-1-based genomes. In the latter, where both long-range interactions are present, they were independent, implying that SL9266 forms the core of an extended pseudoknot. The presence of the 'kissing loop' interaction inhibited the formation of SL9571 in the 3'-X-tail, an RNA structure implicated in genome replication...
Small RNA deep sequencing reveals a distinct miRNA signature released in exosomes from prion-infected neuronal cells
Bellingham, SA; Coleman, BM; Hill, AF
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (21): 10937-10949
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Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders affecting both humans and animals. The cellular prion protein, PrPC, and the abnormal infectious form, PrPSc, are found associated with exosomes, which are small 50-130nm vesicles released from cells. Exosomes also contain microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of non-coding RNA, and have been utilized to identify miRNA signatures for diagnosis of disease. While some miRNAs are deregulated in prion-infected brain tissue, the role of miRNA in circulating exosomes released during prion disease is unknown. Here, we investigated the miRNA profile in exosomes released from prion-infected neuronal cells. We performed the first small RNA deep sequencing study of exosomes and demonstrated that neuronal exosomes contain a diverse range of RNA species including retroviral RNA repeat regions, messenger RNA fragments, transfer RNA fragments, non-coding RNA, small nuclear RNA, small nucleolar RNA, small cytoplasmic RNA, silencing RNA as well as known and novel candidate miRNA...
Structural architecture of the human long non-coding RNA, steroid receptor RNA activator
Novikova, IV; Hennelly, SP; Sanbonmatsu, KY
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (11): 5034-5051
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While functional roles of several long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been determined, the molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we report the first experimentally derived secondary structure of a human lncRNA, the steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA), 0.87 kB in size. The SRA RNA is a non-coding RNA that coactivates several human sex hormone receptors and is strongly associated with breast cancer. Coding isoforms of SRA are also expressed to produce proteins, making the SRA gene a unique bifunctional system. Our experimental findings (SHAPE, in-line, DMS and RNase V1 probing) reveal that this lncRNA has a complex structural organization, consisting of four domains, with a variety of secondary structure elements. We examine the coevolution of the SRA gene at the RNA structure and protein structure levels using comparative sequence analysis across vertebrates. Rapid evolutionary stabilization of RNA structure, combined with frame-disrupting mutations in conserved regions, suggests that evolutionary pressure preserves the RNA structural core rather than its translational product...
Widespread occurrence of 5-methylcytosine in human coding and non-coding RNA
Squires, JE; Patel, HR; Nousch, M; Sibbritt, T; Humphreys, DT; Parker, BJ; Suter, CM; Preiss, T
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (11): 5023-5033
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The modified base 5-methylcytosine (m(5)C) is well studied in DNA, but investigations of its prevalence in cellular RNA have been largely confined to tRNA and rRNA. In animals, the two m(5)C methyltransferases NSUN2 and TRDMT1 are known to modify specific tRNAs and have roles in the control of cell growth and differentiation. To map modified cytosine sites across a human transcriptome, we coupled bisulfite conversion of cellular RNA with next-generation sequencing. We confirmed 21 of the 28 previously known m(5)C sites in human tRNAs and identified 234 novel tRNA candidate sites, mostly in anticipated structural positions. Surprisingly, we discovered 10 275 sites in mRNAs and other non-coding RNAs. We observed that distribution of modified cytosines between RNA types was not random; within mRNAs they were enriched in the untranslated regions and near Argonaute binding regions. We also identified five new sites modified by NSUN2, broadening its known substrate range to another tRNA, the RPPH1 subunit of RNase P and two mRNAs...
An archaeal sRNA targeting cis- and trans-encoded mRNAs via two distinct domains
Jager, D; Pernitzsch, SR; Richter, AS; Backofen, R; Sharma, CM; Schmitz, RA
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (21): 10964-10979
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We report on the characterization and target analysis of the small (s) RNA(162) in the methanoarchaeon Methanosarcina mazei. Using a combination of genetic approaches, transcriptome analysis and computational predictions, the bicistronic MM2441-MM2440 mRNA encoding the transcription factor MM2441 and a protein of unknown function was identified as a potential target of this sRNA, which due to processing accumulates as three stabile 5' fragments in late exponential growth. Mobility shift assays using various mutants verified that the non-structured single-stranded linker region of sRNA(162) (SLR) base-pairs with the MM2440-MM2441 mRNA internally, thereby masking the predicted ribosome binding site of MM2441. This most likely leads to translational repression of the second cistron resulting in dis-coordinated operon expression. Analysis of mutant RNAs in vivo confirmed that the SLR of sRNA(162) is crucial for target interactions. Furthermore, our results indicate that sRNA(162)-controlled MM2441 is involved in regulating the metabolic switch between the carbon sources methanol and methylamine...
Quantitative mass spectrometry and PAR-CLIP to identify RNA-protein interactions
Scheibe, M; Butter, F; Hafner, M; Tuschl, T; Mann, M
Nucleic Acids Res. (2012) 40 (19): 9897-9902
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Systematic analysis of the RNA-protein interactome requires robust and scalable methods. We here show the combination of two completely orthogonal, generic techniques to identify RNA-protein interactions: PAR-CLIP reveals a collection of RNAs bound to a protein whereas SILAC-based RNA pull-downs identify a group of proteins bound to an RNA. We investigated binding sites for five different proteins (IGF2BP1-3, QKI and PUM2) exhibiting different binding patterns. We report near perfect agreement between the two approaches. Nevertheless, they are non-redundant, and ideally complement each other to map the RNA-protein interaction network.
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