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See detailCross-Linking Ligation and Sequencing of Hybrids (qCLASH) Reveals an Unpredicted miRNA Targetome in Melanoma Cells
Kozar, Ines UL; Philippidou, Demetra UL; Margue, Christiane UL et al

in Cancers (2021)

MicroRNAs are key post-transcriptional gene regulators often displaying aberrant expression patterns in cancer. As microRNAs are promising disease-associated biomarkers and modulators of responsiveness to ... [more ▼]

MicroRNAs are key post-transcriptional gene regulators often displaying aberrant expression patterns in cancer. As microRNAs are promising disease-associated biomarkers and modulators of responsiveness to anti-cancer therapies, a solid understanding of their targetome is crucial. Despite enormous research efforts, the success rates of available tools to reliably predict microRNAs (miRNA)-target interactions remains limited. To investigate the disease-associated miRNA targetome, we have applied modified cross-linking ligation and sequencing of hybrids (qCLASH) to BRAF-mutant melanoma cells. The resulting RNA-RNA hybrid molecules provide a comprehensive and unbiased snapshot of direct miRNA-target interactions. The regulatory effects on selected miRNA target genes in predicted vs. non-predicted binding regions was validated by miRNA mimic experiments. Most miRNA–target interactions deviate from the central dogma of miRNA targeting up to 60% interactions occur via non-canonical seed pairing with a strong contribution of the 3′ miRNA sequence, and over 50% display a clear bias towards the coding sequence of mRNAs. miRNAs targeting the coding sequence can directly reduce gene expression (miR-34a/CD68), while the majority of non-canonical miRNA interactions appear to have roles beyond target gene suppression (miR-100/AXL). Additionally, non-mRNA targets of miRNAs (lncRNAs) whose interactions mainly occur via non-canonical binding were identified in melanoma. This first application of CLASH sequencing to cancer cells identified over 8 K distinct miRNA–target interactions in melanoma cells. Our data highlight the importance non-canonical interactions, revealing further layers of complexity of post-transcriptional gene regulation in melanoma, thus expanding the pool of miRNA–target interactions, which have so far been omitted in the cancer field. [less ▲]

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