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Flux balance analysis predicts Warburg-like effects of mouse hepatocyte deficient in miR-122a.

The liver is a vital organ involving in various major metabolic functions in human body. MicroRNA-122 (miR-122) plays an important role in the regulation of liver metabolism, but its intrinsic physiological functions require further clarification. This study integrated the genome-scale metabolic model of hepatocytes and mouse experimental data with germline deletion of Mir122a (Mir122a-/-) to infer Warburg-like effects. Elevated expression of MiR-122a target genes in Mir122a-/-mice, especially those encoding for metabolic enzymes, was applied to analyze the flux distributions of the genome-scale metabolic model in normal and deficient states. By definition of the similarity ratio, we compared the flux fold change of the genome-scale metabolic model computational results and metabolomic profiling data measured through a liquid-chromatography with mass spectrometer, respectively, for hepatocytes of 2-month-old mice in normal and deficient states. The Ddc gene demonstrated the highest similarity ratio of 95% to the biological hypothesis of the Warburg effect, and similarity of 75% to the experimental observation. We also used 2, 6, and 11 months of mir-122 knockout mice liver cell to examined the expression pattern of DDC in the knockout mice livers to show upregulated profiles of DDC from the data. Furthermore, through a bioinformatics (LINCS program) prediction, BTK inhibitors and withaferin A could downregulate DDC expression, suggesting that such drugs could potentially alter the early events of metabolomics of liver cancer cells.

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Epigenetic silencing of TIMP4 in heart failure.

Tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloprotease 4 (TIMP4) is endogenously one of the key modulators of matrix metalloprotease 9 (MMP9) and we have reported earlier that cardiac specific TIMP4 instigates contractility and helps in differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells. Although studies show that the expression of TIMP4 goes down in heart failure but the mechanism is unknown. This study aims to determine the mechanism of silencing of TIMP4 in heart failure progression created by aorta-vena cava (AV) fistula. We hypothesize that there is epigenetic silencing of TIMP4 in heart failure. To validate this hypothesis, we created heart failure model by creating AV fistula in C57BL/6 mice and looked into the promoter methylation (methylation specific PCR, high resolution melting, methylation sensitive restriction enzyme and Na bisulphite treatment followed by sequencing), histone modification (ChIP assay) and microRNAs that regulate TIMP4 (mir122a) and MMP9 (mir29b and mir455-5p). The physiological parameters in terms of cardiac function after AV fistula were assessed by echocardiography. We observed that there are 7 CpG islands in the TIMP4 promoter which get methylated during the progression of heart failure which leads to its epigenetic silencing. In addition, the up-regulated levels of mir122a in part, contribute to regulation of TIMP4. Consequently, MMP9 gets up-regulated and leads to cardiac remodeling. This is a novel report to explain the epigenetic silencing of TIMP4 in heart failure.

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TCM matrine inducescell arrest and apoptosis with recovery expression of the hepato-specific miR122a in human hepatocellular carcinomaHep G2cell line.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 80% to 90% of liver cancers and it is one of the most prevalent carcinomas throughout the world. Traditional chemotherapy is often developed chemoresistance HCC patients.Matrine is an active component oftraditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and is a promising alternative HCC drug. In this study, the therapeutic effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms of matrine on the human HCC cell lineHep G2 were investigated. High dosage of matrine (1.0 mg/mL) could significantly (P < 0.05) inhibit cell proliferation by 48.39 ± 3.32%, under which cell shrinkage and disruption were observed. Flow cytometry assay showed that the proportion of G1/G0 cells significantly increased, while that of S and G2/M cells significantly decreased after treatment of matrinefor 48 h. These results indicated that cell arrest by matrine appeared. Up-regulation of the hepato-specific miR122a followed by down expression of its targetcyclin G1 (CG1) gene by low concentration of matrine (0.2 mg/mL) was detected using was observed using quantitative real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and western blot assays. In conclusion, matrineinducescell arrest and apoptosis with recovery expression of the hepato-specific miR122a in human hepatocellular carcinoma Hep G2 cell line.

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Inhibition of miR122a by Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG culture supernatant increases intestinal occludin expression and protects mice from alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) has a high morbidity and mortality. Chronic alcohol consumption causes disruption of intestinal microflora homeostasis, intestinal tight junction barrier dysfunction, increased endotoxemia, and eventually liver steatosis/steatohepatitis. Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and the bacteria-free LGG culture supernatant (LGGs) have been shown to promote intestinal epithelial integrity and protect intestinal barrier function in ALD. However, little is known about how LGGs mechanistically works to increase intestinal tight junction proteins. Here we show that chronic ethanol exposure increased intestinal miR122a expression, which decreased occludin expression leading to increased intestinal permeability. Moreover, LGGs supplementation decreased ethanol-elevated miR122a level and attenuated ethanol-induced liver injury in mice. Similar to the effect of ethanol exposure, overexpression of miR122a in Caco-2 monolayers markedly decreased occludin protein levels. In contrast, inhibition of miR122a increased occludin expression. We conclude that LGGs supplementation functions in intestinal integrity by inhibition of miR122a, leading to occludin restoration in mice exposed to chronic ethanol.

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Cardiac tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloprotease 4 dictates cardiomyocyte contractility and differentiation of embryonic stem cells into cardiomyocytes: Road to therapy.

TIMP4 (Tissue Inhibitors of Matrix Metalloprotease 4), goes down in failing hearts and mice lacking TIMP4 show poor regeneration capacity after myocardial infarction (MI). This study is based on our previous observation that administration of cardiac inhibitor of metalloproteinase (~TIMP4) attenuates oxidative stress and remodeling in failing hearts. Therefore, we hypothesize that TIMP4 helps in cardiac regeneration by augmenting contractility and inducing the differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells into cardiomyocytes.

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Integrated analyses to reconstruct microRNA-mediated regulatory networks in mouse liver using high-throughput profiling.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) simultaneously target many transcripts through partial complementarity binding, and have emerged as a key type of post-transcriptional regulator for gene expression. How miRNA accomplishes its pleiotropic effects largely depends on its expression and its target repertoire. Previous studies discovered thousands of miRNAs and numerous miRNA target genes mainly through computation and prediction methods which produced high rates of false positive prediction. The development of Argonaute cross-linked immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-Seq) provides a system to effectively determine miRNA target genes. Likewise, the accuracy of dissecting the transcriptional regulation of miRNA genes has been greatly improved by chromatin immunoprecipitation of the transcription factors coupled with sequencing (ChIP-Seq). Elucidation of the miRNA target repertoire will provide an in-depth understanding of the functional roles of microRNA pathways. To reliably reconstruct a miRNA-mediated regulatory network, we established a computational framework using publicly available, sequence-based transcription factor-miRNA databases, including ChIPBase and TransmiR for the TF-miRNA interactions, along with miRNA-target databases, including miRTarBase, TarBase and starBase, for the miRNA-target interactions. We applied the computational framework to elucidate the miRNA-mediated regulatory network in the Mir122a⁻/⁻ mouse model, which has an altered transcriptome and progressive liver disease.

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MicroRNA-122 plays a critical role in liver homeostasis and hepatocarcinogenesis.

MicroRNA-122 (miR-122), which accounts for 70% of the liver's total miRNAs, plays a pivotal role in the liver. However, its intrinsic physiological roles remain largely undetermined. We demonstrated that mice lacking the gene encoding miR-122a (Mir122a) are viable but develop temporally controlled steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These mice exhibited a striking disparity in HCC incidence based on sex, with a male-to-female ratio of 3.9:1, which recapitulates the disease incidence in humans. Impaired expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) contributed to steatosis, which was reversed by in vivo restoration of Mttp expression. We found that hepatic fibrosis onset can be partially attributed to the action of a miR-122a target, the Klf6 transcript. In addition, Mir122a(-/-) livers exhibited disruptions in a range of pathways, many of which closely resemble the disruptions found in human HCC. Importantly, the reexpression of miR-122a reduced disease manifestation and tumor incidence in Mir122a(-/-) mice. This study demonstrates that mice with a targeted deletion of the Mir122a gene possess several key phenotypes of human liver diseases, which provides a rationale for the development of a unique therapy for the treatment of chronic liver disease and HCC.

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miR-122 regulates hepatic lipid metabolism and tumor suppression.

In this issue of JCI, two independent groups describe the effects of germline and liver-specific deletion of Mir122a, the predominant liver miRNA. Their findings reveal a critical role for miR-122 in fat and cholesterol metabolism but suggest that other metabolic actions of the liver are independent of miR-122. Knockout mice also displayed hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and a high incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, suggesting that miR-122 has a tumor suppressor role in hepatocytes.

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