Quantitative proteomic analysis of gene regulation by miR-34a and miR-34c


  • O.A. Ebner
  • M. Selbach


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 9 (3): e92166


  • microRNAs (miRNAs) repress target genes by destabilizing mRNAs and/or by inhibiting translation. The best known factor for target recognition is the so called seed - a short continuous region of Watson-Crick base pairing between nucleotides 2-7 of the miRNA and complementary sequences in 3' untranslated regions of target mRNAs. The miR-34 family consists of three conserved members with important tumor suppressor functions linked to the p53 pathway. The family members share the same seed, raising the question if they also have the same targets. Here, we analyse the effect of miR-34a and miR-34c on protein synthesis by pSILAC. Despite significant overlap, we observe that the impact of both family members on protein synthesis differs. The ability to identify specific targets of a family member is complicated by the occurrence of * strand mediated repression. Transfection of miR-34 chimeras indicates that the 3'end of the miRNA might be responsible for differential regulation in case of targets without a perfect seed site. Pathway analysis of regulated proteins indicates overlapping functions related to cell cycle and the p53 pathway and preferential targeting of several anti-apoptotic proteins by miR-34a. We used luciferase assays to confirm that Vcl and Fkbp8, an important anti-apoptotic protein, are specifically repressed by miR-34a. In summary, we find that miR-34a and miR-34c down-regulate distinct subsets of targets which might mediate different cellular outcomes. Our data provides a rich resource of miR-34 targets that might be relevant for clinical trials that want to implement the miR-34 family in cancer therapy.