Although virtually all gene networks are predicted to be controlled by miRNAs, the contribution of this important layer of gene regulation to tissue homeostasis in adult animals remains unclear. Gain and loss of function experiments have provided key insights into the specific function of individual miRNAs, but effective genetic tools to study the functional consequences of global inhibition of miRNA activity in vivo are lacking. Here we report the generation and characterization of a genetically engineered mouse strain in which miRNA-mediated gene repression can be reversibly inhibited without affecting miRNA biogenesis or abundance. We demonstrate the usefulness of this strategy by investigating the consequences of acute inhibition of miRNA function in adult animals. We find that different tissues and organs respond differently to global loss of miRNA function. While miRNA-mediated gene repression is essential for the homeostasis of the heart and the skeletal muscle, it is largely dispensable in the majority of other organs. Even in tissues where it is not required for homeostasis, such as the intestine and hematopoietic system, miRNA activity can become essential during regeneration following acute injury. These data support a model where many metazoan tissues primarily rely on miRNA function to respond to potentially pathogenic events.
Processed sequencing data are included as source data. Fastq files have been deposited to GEO (GEO accession number: GSE179588)
A mouse tissue atlas of small noncoding RNA.NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE119661.
- Andrea Ventura
- Andrea Ventura
- Craig B Thompson
- Gaspare La Rocca
- Tullia Lindsten
- Andrea Ventura
- Yilun Ma
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#10-10-022) of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Ashish Lal, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2021, La Rocca et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The GNOM (GN) Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factor for ARF small GTPases (ARF-GEF) is among the best studied trafficking regulators in plants, playing crucial and unique developmental roles in patterning and polarity. The current models place GN at the Golgi apparatus (GA), where it mediates secretion/recycling, and at the plasma membrane (PM) presumably contributing to clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME). The mechanistic basis of the developmental function of GN, distinct from the other ARF-GEFs including its closest homologue GNOM-LIKE1 (GNL1), remains elusive. Insights from this study largely extend the current notions of GN function. We show that GN, but not GNL1, localizes to the cell periphery at long-lived structures distinct from clathrin-coated pits, while CME and secretion proceed normally in gn knockouts. The functional GN mutant variant GNfewerroots, absent from the GA, suggests that the cell periphery is the major site of GN action responsible for its developmental function. Following inhibition by Brefeldin A, GN, but not GNL1, relocates to the PM likely on exocytic vesicles, suggesting selective molecular associations en route to the cell periphery. A study of GN-GNL1 chimeric ARF-GEFs indicates that all GN domains contribute to the specific GN function in a partially redundant manner. Together, this study offers significant steps toward the elucidation of the mechanism underlying unique cellular and development functions of GNOM.
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