Cardiac Disease Status Dictates Functional mRNA Targeting Profiles of Individual MicroRNAs

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Abstract

Background—

MicroRNAs are key players in cardiac stress responses, but the mRNAs, whose abundance and translational potential are primarily affected by changes in cardiac microRNAs, are not well defined. Stimulus-induced, large-scale alterations in the cardiac transcriptome, together with consideration of the law of mass action, further suggest that the mRNAs most substantively targeted by individual microRNAs will vary between unstressed and stressed conditions. To test the hypothesis that microRNA target profiles differ in health and disease, we traced the fate of empirically determined miR-133a and miR-378 targets in mouse hearts undergoing pressure overload hypertrophy.

Methods and Results—

Ago2 immunoprecipitation with RNA sequencing (RNA-induced silencing complex sequencing) was used for unbiased definition of microRNA–dependent and microRNA–independent alterations occurring among ≈13 000 mRNAs in response to transverse aortic constriction (TAC). Of 37 direct targets of miR-133a defined in unstressed hearts (fold change ≥25%, false discovery rate <0.02), only 4 (11%) continued to be targeted by miR-133a during TAC, whereas for miR-378 direct targets, 3 of 32 targets (9%) were maintained during TAC. Similarly, only 16% (for miR-133a) and 53% (for miR-378) of hundreds of indirectly affected mRNAs underwent comparable regulation, demonstrating that the effect of TAC on microRNA direct target selection resulted in widespread alterations of signaling function. Numerous microRNA–mediated regulatory events occurring exclusively during pressure overload revealed signaling networks that may be responsive to the endogenous decreases in miR-133a during TAC.

Conclusions—

Pressure overload–mediated changes in overall cardiac RNA content alter microRNA targeting profiles, reinforcing the need to define microRNA targets in tissue-, cell-, and status-specific contexts.

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