Evidence for natural antisense transcript-mediated inhibition of microRNA function

Mohammad Ali Faghihi, Ming Zhang, Jia Huang, Farzaneh Modarresi, Marcel P. Van der Brug, Michael A. Nalls, Mark R. Cookson, Georges St-Laurent, Claes Wahlestedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

347 Scopus citations


Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have the potential to regulate diverse sets of mRNA targets. In addition, mammalian genomes contain numerous natural antisense transcripts, most of which appear to be non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). We have recently identified and characterized a highly conserved non-coding antisense transcript for beta-secretase-1 (BACE1), a critical enzyme in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. The BACE1-antisense transcript is markedly up-regulated in brain samples from Alzheimer's disease patients and promotes the stability of the (sense) BACE1 transcript.Results: We report here that BACE1-antisense prevents miRNA-induced repression of BACE1 mRNA by masking the binding site for miR-485-5p. Indeed, miR-485-5p and BACE1-antisense compete for binding within the same region in the open reading frame of the BACE1 mRNA. We observed opposing effects of BACE1-antisense and miR-485-5p on BACE1 protein in vitro and showed that Locked Nucleic Acid-antimiR mediated knockdown of miR-485-5p as well as BACE1-antisense over-expression can prevent the miRNA-induced BACE1 suppression. We found that the expression of BACE1-antisense as well as miR-485-5p are dysregulated in RNA samples from Alzheimer's disease subjects compared to control individuals.Conclusions: Our data demonstrate an interface between two distinct groups of regulatory RNAs in the computation of BACE1 gene expression. Moreover, bioinformatics analyses revealed a theoretical basis for many other potential interactions between natural antisense transcripts and miRNAs at the binding sites of the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberR56
JournalGenome biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 27 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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