Dual role of Lin28a in the regulation of miRNA biogenesis during neuronal differentiation
Nowak, Jakub Stanislaw
Many cellular functions depend on the tightly regulated expression of various proteins. Canonical control of the protein expression is associated with transcriptional regulation. However, the small non-coding RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs) were identified as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. In a typical manner, miRNAs originate similarly to the coding RNAs and are processed in a multi-step maturation process. It has been shown that miRNAs are very important for the proper functioning of tissues. Interestingly, the human nervous system contains over 70% of all miRNAs; thus, the maturation process has to be tightly regulated. However, despite the important role of miRNAs, little is known about the mechanisms regulating their biogenesis. In my PhD project, I showed that during early stages of neuronal differentiation, Lin28a controls levels of neuro-specific miRNA-9. I demonstrated that Lin28a binds to the conserved terminal loop (CTL) of pre-miRNA-9 and decreases the cellular levels of miRNA-9 during retinoic acid-mediated neuronal differentiation of mouse teratocarcinoma P19 cells. I revealed that the Lin28a-mediated inhibition of miRNA-9 production was uridylation-independent. Furthermore, constitutive expression of GFP-tagged Lin28a reduced the levels of let-7a but not miRNA-9, whereas untagged Lin28a inhibited both miR-9 and let-7a during the course of neuronal differentiation. Using small RNAseq analysis of P19 cells with constitutive expression of Lin28a I showed that it controls many more miRNAs than previously recognised. Intriguingly, many miRNAs were upregulated by Lin28a overexpression. I demonstrated with high-throughput, the limited function of GFP-tagged Lin28a results, and I also showed that untagged Lin28a inhibits the production of a number of brain-specific miRNAs including miRNA-9. Finally, I revealed that 3’-5’exoribonuclease Dis3l2 was responsible for uridylation-independent degradation of pre-miRNA-9. Altogether, my results provided evidence that Lin28a has both positive and negative roles in the regulation of miRNA production and has a dual role in triggering pre-miRNA degradation.
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