19 results found
Haberman N, Huppertz I, Attig J, et al., 2017, Insights into the design and interpretation of iCLIP experiments, GENOME BIOLOGY, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1474-760X
BACKGROUND: Ultraviolet (UV) crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) identifies the sites on RNAs that are in direct contact with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Several variants of CLIP exist, which require different computational approaches for analysis. This variety of approaches can create challenges for a novice user and can hamper insights from multi-study comparisons. Here, we produce data with multiple variants of CLIP and evaluate the data with various computational methods to better understand their suitability. RESULTS: We perform experiments for PTBP1 and eIF4A3 using individual-nucleotide resolution CLIP (iCLIP), employing either UV-C or photoactivatable 4-thiouridine (4SU) combined with UV-A crosslinking and compare the results with published data. As previously noted, the positions of complementary DNA (cDNA)-starts depend on cDNA length in several iCLIP experiments and we now find that this is caused by constrained cDNA-ends, which can result from the sequence and structure constraints of RNA fragmentation. These constraints are overcome when fragmentation by RNase I is efficient and when a broad cDNA size range is obtained. Our study also shows that if RNase does not efficiently cut within the binding sites, the original CLIP method is less capable of identifying the longer binding sites of RBPs. In contrast, we show that a broad size range of cDNAs in iCLIP allows the cDNA-starts to efficiently delineate the complete RNA-binding sites. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the advantage of iCLIP and related methods that can amplify cDNAs that truncate at crosslink sites and we show that computational analyses based on cDNAs-starts are appropriate for such methods.
Hall CE, Yao Z, Choi M, et al., 2017, Progressive Motor Neuron Pathology and the Role of Astrocytes in a Human Stem Cell Model of VCP-Related ALS, CELL REPORTS, Vol: 19, Pages: 1739-1749, ISSN: 2211-1247
Motor neurons (MNs) and astrocytes (ACs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but their interaction and the sequence of molecular events leading to MN death remain unresolved. Here, we optimized directed differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into highly enriched (> 85%) functional populations of spinal cord MNs and ACs. We identify significantly increased cytoplasmic TDP-43 and ER stress as primary pathogenic events in patient-specific valosin-containing protein (VCP)-mutant MNs, with secondary mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Cumulatively, these cellular stresses result in synaptic pathology and cell death in VCP-mutant MNs. We additionally identify a cell-autonomous VCP-mutant AC survival phenotype, which is not attributable to the same molecular pathology occurring in VCP-mutant MNs. Finally, through iterative co-culture experiments, we uncover non-cell-autonomous effects of VCP-mutant ACs on both control and mutant MNs. This work elucidates molecular events and cellular interplay that could guide future therapeutic strategies in ALS.
Ottens F, Boehm V, Sibley CR, et al., 2017, Transcript-specific characteristics determine the contribution of endo- and exonucleolytic decay pathways during the degradation of nonsense-mediated decay substrates, RNA, Vol: 23, Pages: 1224-1236, ISSN: 1355-8382
Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) controls gene expression by eliminating mRNAs with premature or aberrant translation termination. Degradation of NMD substrates is initiated by the central NMD factor UPF1, which recruits the endonuclease SMG6 and the deadenylation-promoting SMG5/7 complex. The extent to which SMG5/7 and SMG6 contribute to the degradation of individual substrates and their regulation by UPF1 remains elusive. Here we map transcriptome-wide sites of SMG6-mediated endocleavage via 3' fragment capture and degradome sequencing. This reveals that endogenous transcripts can have NMD-eliciting features at various positions, including upstream open reading frames (uORFs), premature termination codons (PTCs), and long 3' UTRs. We find that NMD substrates with PTCs undergo constitutive SMG6-dependent endocleavage, rather than SMG7-dependent exonucleolytic decay. In contrast, the turnover of NMD substrates containing uORFs and long 3' UTRs involves both SMG6- and SMG7-dependent endo- and exonucleolytic decay, respectively. This suggests that the extent to which SMG6 and SMG7 degrade NMD substrates is determined by the mRNA architecture.
Beltran M, Yates CM, Skalska L, et al., 2016, The interaction of PRC2 with RNA or chromatin is mutually antagonistic, GENOME RESEARCH, Vol: 26, Pages: 896-907, ISSN: 1088-9051
Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) modifies chromatin to maintain genes in a repressed state during development. PRC2 is primarily associated with CpG islands at repressed genes and also possesses RNA binding activity. However, the RNAs that bind PRC2 in cells, the subunits that mediate these interactions, and the role of RNA in PRC2 recruitment to chromatin all remain unclear. By performing iCLIP for PRC2 in comparison with other RNA binding proteins, we show here that PRC2 binds nascent RNA at essentially all active genes. Although interacting with RNA promiscuously, PRC2 binding is enriched at specific locations within RNAs, primarily exon-intron boundaries and the 3' UTR. Deletion of other PRC2 subunits reveals that SUZ12 is sufficient to establish this RNA binding profile. Contrary to prevailing models, we also demonstrate that the interaction of PRC2 with RNA or chromatin is mutually antagonistic in cells and in vitro. RNA degradation in cells triggers PRC2 recruitment to CpG islands at active genes. Correspondingly, the release of PRC2 from chromatin in cells increases RNA binding. Consistent with this, RNA and nucleosomes compete for PRC2 binding in vitro. We propose that RNA prevents PRC2 recruitment to chromatin at active genes and that mutual antagonism between RNA and chromatin underlies the pattern of PRC2 chromatin association across the genome.
Recent improvements in experimental and computational techniques that are used to study the transcriptome have enabled an unprecedented view of RNA processing, revealing many previously unknown non-canonical splicing events. This includes cryptic events located far from the currently annotated exons and unconventional splicing mechanisms that have important roles in regulating gene expression. These non-canonical splicing events are a major source of newly emerging transcripts during evolution, especially when they involve sequences derived from transposable elements. They are therefore under precise regulation and quality control, which minimizes their potential to disrupt gene expression. We explain how non-canonical splicing can lead to aberrant transcripts that cause many diseases, and also how it can be exploited for new therapeutic strategies.
It is generally believed that splicing removes introns as single units from precursor messenger RNA transcripts. However, some long Drosophila melanogaster introns contain a cryptic site, known as a recursive splice site (RS-site), that enables a multi-step process of intron removal termed recursive splicing. The extent to which recursive splicing occurs in other species and its mechanistic basis have not been examined. Here we identify highly conserved RS-sites in genes expressed in the mammalian brain that encode proteins functioning in neuronal development. Moreover, the RS-sites are found in some of the longest introns across vertebrates. We find that vertebrate recursive splicing requires initial definition of an 'RS-exon' that follows the RS-site. The RS-exon is then excluded from the dominant mRNA isoform owing to competition with a reconstituted 5' splice site formed at the RS-site after the first splicing step. Conversely, the RS-exon is included when preceded by cryptic promoters or exons that fail to reconstitute an efficient 5' splice site. Most RS-exons contain a premature stop codon such that their inclusion can decrease mRNA stability. Thus, by establishing a binary splicing switch, RS-sites demarcate different mRNA isoforms emerging from long genes by coupling cryptic elements with inclusion of RS-exons.
Wickramasinghe VO, Gonzalez-Porta M, Perera D, et al., 2015, Regulation of constitutive and alternative mRNA splicing across the human transcriptome by PRPF8 is determined by 5 ' splice site strength, GENOME BIOLOGY, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1474-760X
BACKGROUND: Sequential assembly of the human spliceosome on RNA transcripts regulates splicing across the human transcriptome. The core spliceosome component PRPF8 is essential for spliceosome assembly through its participation in ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes for splice-site recognition, branch-point formation and catalysis. PRPF8 deficiency is linked to human diseases like retinitis pigmentosa or myeloid neoplasia, but its genome-wide effects on constitutive and alternative splicing remain unclear. RESULTS: Here, we show that alterations in RNA splicing patterns across the human transcriptome that occur in conditions of restricted cellular PRPF8 abundance are defined by the altered splicing of introns with weak 5' splice sites. iCLIP of spliceosome components reveals that PRPF8 depletion decreases RNP complex formation at most splice sites in exon-intron junctions throughout the genome. However, impaired splicing affects only a subset of human transcripts, enriched for mitotic cell cycle factors, leading to mitotic arrest. Preferentially retained introns and differentially used exons in the affected genes contain weak 5' splice sites, but are otherwise indistinguishable from adjacent spliced introns. Experimental enhancement of splice-site strength in mini-gene constructs overcomes the effects of PRPF8 depletion on the kinetics and fidelity of splicing during transcription. CONCLUSIONS: Competition for PRPF8 availability alters the transcription-coupled splicing of RNAs in which weak 5' splice sites predominate, enabling diversification of human gene expression during biological processes like mitosis. Our findings exemplify the regulatory potential of changes in the core spliceosome machinery, which may be relevant to slow-onset human genetic diseases linked to PRPF8 deficiency.
Huppertz I, Attig J, D'Ambrogio A, et al., 2014, iCLIP: Protein-RNA interactions at nucleotide resolution, METHODS, Vol: 65, Pages: 274-287, ISSN: 1046-2023
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are key players in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Precise knowledge about their binding sites is therefore critical to unravel their molecular function and to understand their role in development and disease. Individual-nucleotide resolution UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP) identifies protein-RNA crosslink sites on a genome-wide scale. The high resolution and specificity of this method are achieved by an intramolecular cDNA circularization step that enables analysis of cDNAs that truncated at the protein-RNA crosslink sites. Here, we describe the improved iCLIP protocol and discuss critical optimization and control experiments that are required when applying the method to new RBPs.
Sibley CR, Sibley CR, Sibley CR, et al., 2014, Regulation of gene expression through production of unstable mRNA isoforms, BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS, Vol: 42, Pages: 1196-1205, ISSN: 0300-5127
Alternative splicing is universally accredited for expanding the information encoded within the transcriptome. In recent years, several tightly regulated alternative splicing events have been reported which do not lead to generation of protein products, but lead to unstable mRNA isoforms. Instead these transcripts are targets for NMD (nonsense-mediated decay) or retained in the nucleus and degraded. In the present review I discuss the regulation of these events, and how many have been implicated in control of gene expression that is instrumental to a number of developmental paradigms. I further discuss their relevance to disease settings and conclude by highlighting technologies that will aid identification of more candidate events in future.
Modic M, Ule J, Sibley CR, et al., 2013, CLIPing the brain: Studies of protein-RNA interactions important for neurodegenerative disorders, MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE, Vol: 56, Pages: 429-435, ISSN: 1044-7431
The fate of an mRNA is largely determined by its interactions with RNA binding proteins (RBPs). Post-transcriptional processing, RNA stability, localisation and translation are some of the events regulated by the plethora of RBPs present within cells. Mutations in various RBPs cause several diseases of the central nervous system, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fragile X syndrome. Here we review the studies that integrated UV-induced cross-linked immunoprecipitation (CLIP) with other genome-wide methods to comprehensively characterise the function of diverse RBPs in the brain. We discuss the technical challenges of these studies and review the strategies that can be used to reliably identify the RNAs bound and regulated by an RBP. We conclude by highlighting how CLIP and related techniques have been instrumental in addressing the role of RBPs in neurologic diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA and splicing regulation in neurodegeneration.
Post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) via RNA interference (RNAi) is a vital gene regulatory mechanism for fine-tuning gene expression. RNAi effectors termed microRNAs (miRNAs) are implicated in various aspects of animal development and normal physiological function, while dysregulation has been linked to several pathologies. Several atypical miRNA biogenesis pathways have been identified, yet in most cases the reasons for their emergence remain unclear. One of these atypical pathways is the mirtron pathway, where short introns are excised by splicing to generate intermediates of the RNAi pathway, with no cleavage by the microprocessor. Closely related pathways involving tailed-mirtron and simtron biogenesis have also been described. There is extensive evidence that mirtrons function as miRNAs, and while some are evolutionarily conserved across similar species, others appear to have emerged relatively recently. In addition, through exploitation of the potent and sequence-specific silencing capabilities of RNAi, synthetic mirtrons may have potential for overcoming certain therapeutic challenges.
Patani R, Sibley CR, Chandran S, et al., 2012, Using human pluripotent stem cells to study post-transcriptional mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, BRAIN RESEARCH, Vol: 1462, Pages: 129-138, ISSN: 0006-8993
Post-transcriptional regulation plays a major role in the generation of cell type diversity. In particular, alternative splicing increases diversification of transcriptome between tissues, in different cell types within a tissue, and even in different compartments of the same cell. The complexity of alternative splicing has increased during evolution. With increasing sophistication, however, comes greater potential for malfunction of these intricate processes. Indeed, recent years have uncovered a wealth of disease-causing mutations affecting RNA-binding proteins and non-coding regions on RNAs, highlighting the importance of studying disease mechanisms that act at the level of RNA processing. For instance, mutations in TARDBP and FUS, or a repeat expansion in the intronic region of the C9ORF72 gene, can all cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We discuss how interspecies differences highlight the necessity for human model systems to complement existing non-human approaches to study neurodegenerative disorders. We conclude by discussing the improvements that could further increase the promise of human pluripotent stem for cell-based disease modeling. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "RNA-Binding Proteins".
Seow Y, Sibley CR, Wood MJA, et al., 2012, Artificial mirtron-mediated gene knockdown: Functional DMPK silencing in mammalian cells, RNA-A PUBLICATION OF THE RNA SOCIETY, Vol: 18, Pages: 1328-1337, ISSN: 1355-8382
Mirtrons are introns that form pre-miRNA hairpins after splicing to produce RNA interference (RNAi) effectors distinct from Drosha-dependent intronic miRNAs. Here we present a design algorithm for artificial mirtrons and demonstrate, for the first time, efficient gene knockdown of myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) target sequences in Renilla luciferase 3' UTR and subsequently pathogenic DMPK mRNA, causative of Type I myotonic dystrophy, using artificial mirtrons cloned as eGFP introns. Deep sequencing of artificial mirtrons suggests that functional mature transcripts corresponding to the designed sequence were produced in high abundance. They were further shown to be splicing-dependent, Drosha-independent, and partially dependent on exportin-5, resulting in the precise generation of pre-miRNAs. In a murine myoblast line containing a pathogenic copy of human DMPK with more than 500 CUG repeats, the DMPK artificial mirtron corrected DM1-associated splicing abnormalities of the Serca-1 mRNA, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of mirtron-mediated RNAi. Thus, further development and exploitation of the unique properties of mirtrons will benefit future research and therapeutic RNAi applications as an alternative to conventional RNAi strategies.
Sibley CR, Attig J, Ule J, et al., 2012, The greatest catch: big game fishing for mRNA-bound proteins, GENOME BIOLOGY, Vol: 13, Pages: 163-163, ISSN: 1465-6906
Sibley CR, Seow Y, Curtis H, et al., 2012, Silencing of Parkinson's disease-associated genes with artificial mirtron mimics of miR-1224, NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, Vol: 40, Pages: 9863-9875, ISSN: 0305-1048
Mirtrons are a recently described category of microRNA (miRNA) relying on splicing rather than processing by the microprocessor complex to generate pre-miRNA precursors of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. Their discovery and subsequent verification provides important information about a distinct class of miRNA and inherent advantages that could be exploited to silence genes of interest. These include micro-processor-independent biogenesis, pol-II-dependent transcription, accurate species generation and the delivery of multiple artificial mirtrons as introns within a single host transcript. Here we determined the sequence motifs required for correct processing of the mmu-miR-1224 mirtron and incorporated these into artificial mirtrons targeting Parkinson's disease-associated LRRK2 and α-synuclein genes. By incorporating these rules associated with processing and splicing, artificial mirtrons could be designed and made to silence complementary targets either at the mRNA or protein level. We further demonstrate with a LRRK2 targeting artificial mirtron that neuronal-specific silencing can be directed under the control of the human synapsin promoter. Finally, multiple mirtrons were co-delivered within a single host transcript, an eGFP reporter, to allow simultaneous targeting of two or more targets in a combinatorial approach. Thus, the unique characteristics of artificial mirtrons make this an attractive approach for future RNAi applications.
Sibley CR, Seow Y, Saayman S, et al., 2012, The biogenesis and characterization of mammalian microRNAs of mirtron origin, NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, Vol: 40, Pages: 438-448, ISSN: 0305-1048
Mirtrons, short hairpin pre-microRNA (miRNA) mimics directly produced by intronic splicing, have recently been identified and experimentally confirmed in invertebrates. While there is evidence to suggest several mammalian miRNAs have mirtron origins, this has yet to be experimentally demonstrated. Here, we characterize the biogenesis of mammalian mirtrons by ectopic expression of splicing-dependent mirtron precursors. The putative mirtrons hsa-miR-877, hsa-miR-1226 and mmu-miR-1224 were designed as introns within eGFP. Correct splicing and function of these sequences as introns was shown through eGFP fluorescence and RT-PCR, while all mirtrons suppressed perfectly complementary luciferase reporter targets to levels similar to that of corresponding independently expressed pre-miRNA controls. Splicing-deficient mutants and disruption of key steps in miRNA biogenesis demonstrated that mirtron-mediated gene knockdown was splicing-dependent, Drosha-independent and had variable dependence on RNAi pathway elements following pre-miRNA formation. The silencing effect of hsa-miR-877 was further demonstrated to be mediated by the generation of short anti-sense RNA species expressed with low abundance. Finally, the mammalian mirtron hsa-miR-877 was shown to reduce mRNA levels of an endogenous transcript containing hsa-miR-877 target sites in neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. This work confirms the mirtron origins of three mammalian miRNAs and suggests that they are a functional class of splicing-dependent miRNAs which are physiologically active.
Sibley CR, Wood MJA, Sibley CR, et al., 2011, The miRNA pathway in neurological and skeletal muscle disease: implications for pathogenesis and therapy, JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE-JMM, Vol: 89, Pages: 1065-1077, ISSN: 0946-2716
RNA interference (RNAi) represents a powerful post-transcriptional gene silencing network which fine-tunes gene expression in all eukaryotic cells. The endogenous triggers of RNAi, microRNAs (miRNAs), are proposed to regulate expression of up to a third of all protein-coding genes, and have been shown to have critical roles in developmental processes including in the central nervous system and skeletal muscle. Further, many have been reported to display differential expression in various disease states. Here we describe present understanding of the biogenesis and function of miRNAs, review current knowledge of miRNA abnormalities in both human neurological and skeletal muscle disease and discuss their potential as novel disease biomarkers. Finally, we highlight the many ways in which the miRNA pathway may be targeted for therapeutic benefit.
Sibley CR, Wood MJA, Sibley CR, et al., 2011, Identification of Allele-Specific RNAi Effectors Targeting Genetic Forms of Parkinson's Disease, PLOS ONE, Vol: 6, Pages: e26194-e26194, ISSN: 1932-6203
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder affecting an estimated 5-10 million people worldwide. Recent evidence has implicated several genes that directly cause or increase susceptibility to PD. As well as advancing understanding of the genetic aetiology of PD these findings suggest new ways to modify the disease course, in some cases through genetic manipulation. Here we generated a 'walk-through' series of RNA Pol III-expressed shRNAs targeting both the α-synuclein A30P and LRRK2 G2019S PD-associated mutations. Allele-specific discrimination of the α-synuclein A30P mutation was achieved with alignments at position 10, 13 and 14 in two model systems, including a heterozygous model mimicking the disease setting, whilst 5'RACE was used to confirm stated alignments. Discrimination of the most common PD-linked LRRK2 G2019S mutation was assessed in hemizygous dual-luciferase assays and showed that alignment of the mutation opposite position 4 of the antisense species produced robust discrimination of alleles at all time points studied. Discrimination at this position was subsequently confirmed using siRNAs, where up to 10-fold discrimination was seen. The results suggest that RNAi-mediated silencing of PD-associated autosomal dominant genes could be a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of the relevant clinical cases of PD in future.
Sibley CR, Seow Y, Wood MJA, et al., 2010, Novel RNA-based Strategies for Therapeutic Gene Silencing, MOLECULAR THERAPY, Vol: 18, Pages: 466-476, ISSN: 1525-0016
The past decade has seen intense scientific interest in non-coding RNAs. In particular, the discovery and subsequent exploitation of gene silencing via RNA interference (RNAi) has revolutionized the way in which gene expression is now studied and understood. It is now well established that post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) by the microRNA (miRNA) and other RNAi-associated pathways represents an essential layer of complexity to gene regulation. Gene silencing using RNAi additionally demonstrates huge potential as a therapeutic strategy for eliminating pathogenic gene expression. Yet despite the early promise and excitement of gene-specific silencing, several critical hurdles remain to be overcome before widespread clinical adoption. These include off-target effects, toxicity due to saturation of the endogenous RNAi functions, limited duration of silencing, and effective targeted delivery. In recent years, a range of novel strategies for producing RNA-mediated silencing have been developed that can circumvent many of these hurdles, including small internally segmented interfering RNAs, tandem hairpin RNAs, and pri-miRNA cluster mimics. This review discusses RNA-mediated silencing in light of this recent research, and highlights the benefits and limitations conferred by these novel gene-silencing strategies.
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