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Caley D.P.,Oxford Brookes University | Pink R.C.,Cranfield University | Trujillano D.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | Carter D.R.F.,Oxford Brookes University
TheScientificWorldJournal | Year: 2010

The way in which the genome of a multicellular organism can orchestrate the differentiation of trillions of cells and many organs, all from a single fertilized egg, is the subject of intense study. Different cell types can be defined by the networks of genes they express. This differential expression is regulated at the epigenetic level by chromatin modifications, such as DNA and histone methylation, which interact with structural and enzymatic proteins, resulting in the activation or silencing of any given gene. While detailed mechanisms are emerging on the role of different chromatin modifications and how these functions are effected at the molecular level, it is still unclear how their deposition across the epigenomic landscape is regulated in different cells. A raft of recent evidence is accumulating that implicates long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in these processes. Most genomes studied to date undergo widespread transcription, the majority of which is not translated into proteins. In this review, we will describe recent work suggesting that lncRNAs are more than transcriptional "noise", but instead play a functional role by acting as tethers and guides to bind proteins responsible for modifying chromatin and mediating their deposition at specific genomic locations. We suggest that lncRNAs are at the heart of developmental regulation, determining the epigenetic status and transcriptional network in any given cell type, and that they provide a means to integrate external differentiation cues with dynamic nuclear responses through the regulation of a metastable epigenome. Better characterization of the lncRNA-protein "interactome" may eventually lead to a new molecular toolkit, allowing researchers and clinicians to modulate the genome at the epigenetic level to treat conditions such as cancer. ©2010 with author. Published by TheScientificWorld.

Marti E.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | Marti E.,University of Barcelona | Pantano L.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | Pantano L.,University of Barcelona | And 11 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2010

Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects neurons of the forebrain. We have applied the Illumina massively parallel sequencing to deeply analyze the small RNA populations of two different forebrain areas, the frontal cortex (FC) and the striatum (ST) of healthy individuals and individuals with HD. More than 80% of the small-RNAs were annotated as microRNAs (miRNAs) in all samples. Deep sequencing revealed length and sequence heterogeneity (IsomiRs) for the vast majority of miRNAs. Around 80-90% of the miRNAs presented modifications in the 3'-terminus mainly in the form of trimming and/or as nucleotide addition variants, while the 5'-terminus of the miRNAs was specially protected from changes. Expression profiling showed strong miRNA and isomiR expression deregulation in HD, most being common to both FC and ST. The analysis of the upstream regulatory regions in co-regulated miRNAs suggests a role for RE1-Silencing Transcription Factor (REST) and P53 in miRNAs downregulation in HD. The putative targets of deregulated miRNAs and seed-region IsomiRs strongly suggest that their altered expression contributes to the aberrant gene expression in HD. Our results show that miRNA variability is a ubiquitous phenomenon in the adult human brain, which may influence gene expression in physiological and pathological conditions. © The Author(s) 2010.

Minones-Moyano E.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | Minones-Moyano E.,University of Barcelona | Porta S.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | Porta S.,University of Barcelona | And 10 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional gene expression regulators, playing key roles in neuronal development, plasticity and disease. Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by the presence of protein inclusions or Lewy bodies and a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Here, we have evaluated miRNA expression deregulation in PD brain samples. MiRNA expression profiling revealed decreased expression of miR-34b and miR-34c in brain areas with variable neuropathological affectation at clinical (motor) stages (Braak stages 4 and 5) of the disease, including the amygdala, frontal cortex, substantia nigra and cerebellum. Furthermore, misregulation of miR-34b/c was detected in pre-motor stages (stages 1-3) of the disease, and thus in cases that did not receive any PD-related treatment during life. Depletion of miR-34b or miR-34c in differentiated SH-SY5Y dopaminergic neuronal cells resulted in a moderate reduction in cell viability that was accompanied by altered mitochondrial function and dynamics, oxidative stress and reduction in total cellular adenosin triphosphate content. MiR-34b/c downregulation was coupled to a decrease in the expression of DJ1 and Parkin, two proteins associated to familial forms of PD that also have a role in idiopathic cases. Accordingly, DJ1 and Parkin expression was reduced in PD brain samples displaying strong miR-34b/c downregulation. We propose that early deregulation of miR-34b/c in PD triggers downstream transcriptome alterations underlying mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, which ultimately compromise cell viability. A better understanding of the cellular pathways controlling and/or controlled by miR-34b/c should allow identification of targets for development of therapeutic approaches. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Alvarez-Mora M.I.,CIBER ISCIII | Alvarez-Mora M.I.,IDIBAPS Institute dInvestigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer | Rodriguez-Revenga L.,CIBER ISCIII | Rodriguez-Revenga L.,IDIBAPS Institute dInvestigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer | And 12 more authors.
Genes, Brain and Behavior | Year: 2013

Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder associated with FMR1 gene premutation alleles (55-200 CGG repeats). Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome clinical core features include action tremor, gait ataxia, cognitive deficits progressing to dementia, and frequently parkinsonism. Although the pathogenic molecular mechanism of FXTAS is not completely understood, the restriction of the phenotype to the FMR1 premutation range has given rise to a model based on a RNA toxic gain-of-function. Since the identification of the first microRNAs (miRNAs) and their role in normal development, several studies have associated them with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson, Alzheimer and Huntington diseases, suggesting that they play a key role in brain development, as well as in its morphogenesis. Herein, we present the characterization of miRNA expression profiles in FXTAS male patients using deep sequencing-based technologies and microarray technology. Deep sequencing analysis evidenced 83 miRNAs that were significantly deregulated whereas microarray analysis showed 31. When comparing these results, 14 miRNAs were found deregulated in FXTAS patients. MiR-424 and miR-574-3p showed significant fold change adjusted P-values in both platforms in FXTAS patients. MiR-424 has been founded substantially and specifically enriched in human cerebral cortical white matter of Alzheimer disease patients, which, together with cerebral atrophy, is a prominent imaging finding in individuals with FXTAS. The study provides the first systematic evidence of differential miRNA expression changes in FXTAS blood samples. Although further studies are necessary to better characterize the miRNA function in FXTAS disorder, our results suggest that they might contribute to its pathogenesis. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.

Llorens F.,Institute Of Bioenginyeria Of Catalonia Ibec | Llorens F.,University of Barcelona | Llorens F.,CIBER ISCIII | Banez-Coronel M.,Genetic Causes of Disease Group | And 11 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2013

Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding regulatory RNAs that control gene expression usually producing translational repression and gene silencing. High-throughput sequencing technologies have revealed heterogeneity at length and sequence level for the majority of mature miRNAs (IsomiRs). Most isomiRs can be explained by variability in either Dicer1 or Drosha cleavage during miRNA biogenesis at 5' or 3' of the miRNA (trimming variants). Although isomiRs have been described in different tissues and organisms, their functional validation as modulators of gene expression remains elusive. Here we have characterized the expression and function of a highly abundant miR-101 5'-trimming variant (5'-isomiR-101).Results: The analysis of small RNA sequencing data in several human tissues and cell lines indicates that 5'-isomiR-101 is ubiquitously detected and a highly abundant, especially in the brain. 5'-isomiR-101 was found in Ago-2 immunocomplexes and complementary approaches showed that 5'-isomiR-101 interacted with different members of the silencing (RISC) complex. In addition, 5'-isomiR-101 decreased the expression of five validated miR-101 targets, suggesting that it is a functional variant. Both the binding to RISC members and the degree of silencing were less efficient for 5'-isomiR-101 compared with miR-101. For some targets, both miR-101 and 5'-isomiR-101 significantly decreased protein expression with no changes in the respective mRNA levels. Although a high number of overlapping predicted targets suggest similar targeted biological pathways, a correlation analysis of the expression profiles of miR-101 variants and predicted mRNA targets in human brains at different ages, suggest specific functions for miR-101- and 5'-isomiR-101.Conclusions: These results suggest that isomiRs are functional variants and further indicate that for a given miRNA, the different isomiRs may contribute to the overall effect as quantitative and qualitative fine-tuners of gene expression. © 2013 Llorens et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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