Adenosine-to-Inosine Editing of MicroRNA-487b Alters Target Gene Selection After Ischemia and Promotes Neovascularization

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Adenosine-to-inosine editing of microRNAs has the potential to cause a shift in target site selection. 2′-O-ribose-methylation of adenosine residues, however, has been shown to inhibit adenosine-to-inosine editing.


To investigate whether angiomiR miR487b is subject to adenosine-to-inosine editing or 2′-O-ribose-methylation during neovascularization.

Methods and Results:

Complementary DNA was prepared from C57BL/6-mice subjected to hindlimb ischemia. Using Sanger sequencing and endonuclease digestion, we identified and validated adenosine-to-inosine editing of the miR487b seed sequence. In the gastrocnemius muscle, pri-miR487b editing increased from 6.7±0.4% before to 11.7±1.6% (P=0.02) 1 day after ischemia. Edited pri-miR487b is processed into a novel microRNA, edited miR487b, which is also upregulated after ischemia. We confirmed editing of miR487b in multiple human primary vascular cell types. Short interfering RNA–mediated knockdown demonstrated that editing is adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 and 2 dependent. Using reverse-transcription at low dNTP concentrations followed by quantitative-PCR, we found that the same adenosine residue is methylated in mice and human primary cells. In the murine gastrocnemius, the estimated methylation fraction increased from 32.8±14% before to 53.6±12% 1 day after ischemia. Short interfering RNA knockdown confirmed that methylation is fibrillarin dependent. Although we could not confirm that methylation directly inhibits editing, we do show that adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 and 2 and fibrillarin negatively influence each other’s expression. Using multiple luciferase reporter gene assays, we could demonstrate that editing results in a complete switch of target site selection. In human primary cells, we confirmed the shift in miR487b targeting after editing, resulting in a edited miR487b targetome that is enriched for multiple proangiogenic pathways. Furthermore, overexpression of edited miR487b, but not wild-type miR487b, stimulates angiogenesis in both in vitro and ex vivo assays.


MiR487b is edited in the seed sequence in mice and humans, resulting in a novel, proangiogenic microRNA with a unique targetome. The rate of miR487b editing, as well as 2′-O-ribose-methylation, is increased in murine muscle tissue during postischemic neovascularization. Our findings suggest miR487b editing plays an intricate role in postischemic neovascularization.

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