Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2017

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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Scientific Reports

Volume 7, Issue 1, December 2017, Article number 17233.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17371-5. Copyright © Chen et al.

Abstract

Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) produced by T helper 17 (Th17) cells plays an essential role in autoimmune diseases. Transcriptional regulation of Th17 cell differentiation has been extensively studied, but post-transcriptional regulation of Th17 cell differentiation has remained less well characterized. The RNA-binding protein HuR functions to promote the stability of target mRNAs via binding the AU-rich elements of the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-4, IL-13, IL-17 and TNF-α. However, whether HuR regulates GM-CSF expression in Th17 cells has not been fully investigated. Here we showed that HuR conditional knockout (KO) Th17 cells have decreased GM-CSF mRNA in comparison with wild-type (WT) Th17 cells, and that HuR binds directly to GM-CSF mRNA 3'UTR. Interestingly, HuR deficiency increased the levels of certain microRNA expression in Th17 cells; for example, miR-466i functioned to mediate GM-CSF and IL-17 mRNA decay, which was confirmed by in vitro luciferase assay. Furthermore, we found that HuR promoted Mxi1 expression to inhibit certain miRNA expression. Taken together, these findings indicate that interaction of HuR and miR-466i orchestrates GM-CSF expression in Th17 cells.

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