Human argonaute 2 is tethered to ribosomal RNA through MicroRNA interactions

Academic Article


  • The primary role of the RNAi machinery is to promotemRNA degradation within the cytoplasm in a microRNA-dependent manner. However, both Dicer and the Argonaute protein family have expanded roles in gene regulation within the nucleus. To further our understanding of this role, we have identified chromatin binding sites for AGO2 throughout the 45S region of the human rRNA gene. The location of these sites was mirrored by the positions of AGO2 cross-linking sites identified via PARCLIP- seq. AGO2 binding to the rRNA within the nucleus was confirmed by RNA immunoprecipitation and quantitative-PCR. To explore a possible mechanism by whichAGO2could be recruited to the rRNA, we identified 1174 regions within the 45S rRNA transcript that have the ability to form a perfect duplex with position 2-6 (seed sequence) of each microRNA expressed in HEK293T cells. Of these potential AGO2 binding sites, 479 occurred within experimentally verified AGO2-rRNA crosslinking sites. The ability of AGO2 to cross-link to rRNA was almost completely lost in a DICER knock-out cell line. The transfection of miR-92a-2-3p into the noDICE cell line facilitated AGO2 cross-linking at a region of the rRNA that has a perfect seed match at positions 3-8, including a single G-U base pair. Knockdown of AGO2 within HEK293T cells causes a slight, but statistically significant increase in the overall rRNA synthesis rate but did not impact the ratio of processing intermediates or the recruitment of the Pol I transcription factor UBTF.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Atwood BL; Woolnough JL; Lefevre GM; Ribeiro MSJ; Felsenfeld G; Giles KE
  • Start Page

  • 17919
  • End Page

  • 17928
  • Volume

  • 291
  • Issue

  • 34