Widmark A, Sagredo EA, Karlström V, Behm M, Biryukova I, Friedländer MR, Daniel C, Öhman M
J. Biol. Chem. 298 (3) 101682 [2022-03-00; online 2022-02-03]
miRNAs are short noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by inhibiting translation or inducing degradation of target mRNAs. miRNAs are often expressed as polycistronic transcripts, so-called miRNA clusters, containing several miRNA precursors. The largest mammalian miRNA cluster, the miR-379-410 cluster, is expressed primarily during embryonic development and in the adult brain; however, downstream regulation of this cluster is not well understood. Here, we investigated adenosine deamination to inosine (RNA editing) in the miR-379-410 cluster by adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) enzymes as a possible mechanism modulating the expression and activity of these miRNAs in a brain-specific manner. We show that the levels of editing in the majority of mature miRNAs are lower than the editing levels of the corresponding site in primary miRNA precursors. However, for one miRNA, miR-376b-3p, editing was significantly higher in the mature form than in the primary precursor. We found miR-376b-3p maturation is negatively regulated by ADAR2 in an editing activity-independent manner, whereas ADAR1-mediated and ADAR2-mediated editing were observed to be competitive. In addition, the edited miR-376b-3p targets a different set of mRNAs than unedited miR-376b-3p, including 4-aminobutyrate aminotransferase, encoding the enzyme responsible for the catabolism of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). Expression of edited miR-376b-3p led to increased intracellular GABA levels as well as increased cell surface presentation of GABA type A receptors. Our results indicate that both editing and editing-independent effects modulate the expression of miR-376b-3p, with the potential to regulate GABAergic signaling in the brain.