Apr 7, 2020

MicroRNA arm switching regulated by uridylation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
V. Narry KimV. Narry Kim


Strand selection is a critical step in microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis. Although the dominant strand may alter depending on cellular contexts, the molecular mechanism and physiological significance of such alternative strand selection (or "arm switching") remain elusive. Here we find miR-324 as one of the strongly regulated miRNAs by arm switching, and identify terminal uridylyl transferases TUT4 and TUT7 as the key regulators. Uridylation of pre-miR-324 by TUT4/7 re-positions DICER on the pre-miRNA and shifts the cleavage site. This alternative processing produces a duplex with a different terminus, from which the 3' strand (3p) is selected instead of the 5' strand (5p). In glioblastoma, the TUT4/7 and 3p levels are upregulated while the 5p level is reduced. Manipulation of the strand ratio is sufficient to impair glioblastoma cell proliferation. This study uncovers a role of uridylation as a molecular switch in alternative strand selection and implicates its therapeutic potential.

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