The competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) hypothesis suggests an intrinsic mechanism to regulate biological processes. However, whether the dynamic changes of ceRNAs can modulate miRNA activities remains controversial.
Research team led by Dr.Peng Wang at Bio-Med Big Data Center, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, cooperated with Dr. Luonan Chen from Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Dr. Xin Hu from Fudan University, examined the dynamics of ceRNAs during TGF-β-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in a recent study. The researchers observed that TGFBI, a transcript highly induced during EMT in A549 cells, acts as the ceRNA for miR-21 to modulate EMT. They further identified FN1 as the ceRNA for miR-200c in the canonical SNAIL-ZEB-miR200 circuit in MCF10A cells. Experimental assays and computational simulations demonstrate that the dynamically induced ceRNAs are directly coupled with the canonical double negative feedback loops and are critical to the induction of EMT. These results help to establish the relevance of ceRNA in cancer EMT and suggest that ceRNA is an intrinsic component of the EMT regulatory circuit and may represent a potential target to disrupt EMT during tumorigenesis.
This work was published online in the journal of Nature Communications on April 9th, 2019, entitled "Competitive endogenous RNA is an intrinsic component of EMT regulatory circuits and modulates EMT". This study was mainly supported by National Key R&D Program of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.