Oleic Acid Induces MiR-7 Processing through Remodeling of Pri-MiR-7/Protein Complex

Santosh Kumar, Angela Downie Ruiz Velasco, Gracjan Michlewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRs) play a vital role in governing cell function, with their levels tightly controlled at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Different sets of RNA-binding proteins interact with primary miRs (pri-miRs) and precursor-miR transcripts (pre-miRs), controlling their biogenesis post-transcriptionally. The Hu antigen R (HuR)-mediated binding of Musashi homolog2 (MSI2) to the conserved terminal loop of pri-miR-7 regulates the levels of brain-enriched miR-7 formation in a tissue-specific manner. Here, we show that oleic acid (OA) inhibits the binding of proteins containing RNA recognition motifs (RRM) to the conserved terminal loop of pri-miR-7. Using electrophoretic mobility shift assays in HeLa cell extracts, we show that OA treatment disrupts pre-miR/protein complexes. Furthermore, OA rescues in vitro processing of pri-miR-7, which is otherwise blocked by HuR and MSI2 proteins. On the contrary, pri-miR-16 shows reduced processing in the presence of OA. This indicates that OA may inhibit the binding of other RRM-containing protein/s necessary for miR-16 processing. Finally, we demonstrate that OA induces mature miR-7 production in HeLa cells. Together, our results demonstrate that OA can regulate the processing of pri-miRs by remodeling their protein complexes. This provides a new tool to study RNA processing and a potential lead for small molecules that target the miR-7 biogenesis pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1649
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number11
Early online date5 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017


  • miR biogenesis
  • miR-7
  • MSI2
  • HuR
  • Oleic Acid (OA)


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