New publication on circular RNAs in the heart

Identification of circular RNAs with host gene-independent expression in human model systems for cardiac differentiation and disease.

Siede D(1), Rapti K(2), Gorska AA(2), Katus HA(2), Altmüller J(3), Boeckel JN(2), Meder B(2), Maack C(4), Völkers M(2), Müller OJ(2), Backs J(5), Dieterich C(6).

AIMS: Cardiovascular disease, one of the most common causes of death in western populations, is characterized by changes in RNA splicing and expression. Circular RNAs (circRNA) originate from back-splicing events, which link a downstream 5′ splice site to an upstream 3′ splice site. Several back-splicing junctions (BSJ) have been described in heart biopsies from human, rat and mouse hearts (Werfel et al., 2016; Jakobi et al., 2016 ). Here, we use human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) to identify circRNA and host gene dynamics in cardiac development and disease. In parallel, we explore candidate interactions of selected homologs in mouse and rat via RIP-seq experiments.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Deep RNA sequencing of cardiomyocyte development and β-adrenergic stimulation uncovered 4518 circRNAs. The set of circular RNA host genes is enriched for chromatin modifiers and GTPase activity regulators. RNA-seq and qRT-PCR data showed that circular RNA expression is highly dynamic in the hiPSC-CM model with 320 circRNAs showing significant expression changes. Intriguingly, 82 circRNAs are independently regulated to their host genes. We validated the same circRNA dynamics for circRNAs from ATXN10, CHD7, DNAJC6 and SLC8A1 in biopsy material from human dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and control patients. Finally, we could show that rodent homologs of circMYOD, circSLC8A1, circATXN7 and circPHF21A interact with either the ribosome or Argonaute2 protein complexes.

CONCLUSION: CircRNAs are dynamically expressed in a hiPSC-CM model of cardiac development and stress response. Some circRNAs show similar, host-gene independent expression dynamics in patient samples and may interact with the ribosome and RISC complex. In summary, the hiPSC-CM model uncovered a new signature of potentially disease relevant circRNAs which may serve as novel therapeutic targets.


Flexbar 3.0 – SIMD and multicore parallelization


High throughput sequencing machines can process many samples in a single run. For Illumina systems, sequencing reads are barcoded with an additional DNA tag that is contained in the respective sequencing adapters. The recognition of barcode and adapter sequences is hence commonly needed for the analysis of next generation sequencing data. Flexbar performs demultiplexing based on barcodes and adapter trimming for such data. read more…

A microRNA-129-5p/Rbfox crosstalk coordinates homeostatic downscaling of excitatory synapses – New paper

Abstract: Synaptic downscaling is a homeostatic mechanism that allows neurons to reduce firing rates during chronically elevated network activity. Although synaptic downscaling is important in neural circuit development and epilepsy, the underlying mechanisms are poorly described. We performed small RNA profiling in picrotoxin (PTX)-treated hippocampal neurons, a model of synaptic downscaling. Thereby, we identified eight microRNAs (miRNAs) that were increased in response to PTX, including miR-129-5p, whose inhibition blocked synaptic downscaling in vitro and reduced epileptic seizure severity in vivo Using transcriptome, proteome, and bioinformatic analysis, we identified the calcium pump Atp2b4 and doublecortin (Dcx) as miR-129-5p targets. Restoring Atp2b4 and Dcx expression was sufficient to prevent synaptic downscaling in PTX-treated neurons. Furthermore, we characterized a functional crosstalk between miR-129-5p and the RNA-binding protein (RBP) Rbfox1. In the absence of PTX, Rbfox1 promoted the expression of Atp2b4 and Dcx. Upon PTX treatment, Rbfox1 expression was downregulated by miR-129-5p, thereby allowing the repression of Atp2b4 and Dcx. We therefore identified a novel activity-dependent miRNA/RBP crosstalk during synaptic scaling, with potential implications for neural network homeostasis and epileptogenesis.

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