Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that form covalently closed continuous loops, and act as gene regulators in physiological and disease conditions. To test our hypothesis that proatherogenic lipid lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) induce a set of circRNAs in human aortic endothelial cell (HAEC) activation, we performed circRNA analysis by searching our RNA-Seq data from LPC-activated HAECs, and found: (1) LPC induces significant modulation of 77 newly characterized cirRNAs, among which 47 circRNAs (61%) are upregulated; (2) 34 (72%) out of 47 upregulated circRNAs are upregulated when the corresponding mRNAs are downregulated, suggesting that the majority of circRNAs are upregulated presumably via LPC-induced "abnormal splicing" when the canonical splicing for generation of corresponding mRNAs is suppressed; (3) Upregulation of 47 circRNAs is temporally associated with mRNAs-mediated LPC-upregulated cholesterol synthesis-SREBP2 pathway and LPC-downregulated TGF-β pathway; (4) Increase in upstream chromatin long-range interaction sites to circRNA related genes is associated with preferred circRNA generation over canonical splicing for mRNAs, suggesting that shifting chromatin long-range interaction sites from downstream to upstream may promote induction of a list of circRNAs in lysoPC-activated HAECs; (5) Six significantly changed circRNAs may have sponge functions for miRNAs; and (6) 74% significantly changed circRNAs contain open reading frames, suggesting that putative short proteins may interfere with the protein interaction-based signaling. Our findings have demonstrated for the first time that a new set of LPC-induced circRNAs may contribute to homeostasis in LPC-induced HAEC activation. These novel insights may lead to identifications of new therapeutic targets for treating metabolic cardiovascular diseases, inflammations, and cancers.
Li, Angus; Sun, Yu; Drummer, Charles; Lu, Yifan; Yu, Daohai; Zhou, Yan; Li, Xinyuan; Pearson, Simone J.; Johnson, Candice; Yu, Catherine; Yang, William Y.; Mastascusa, Kevin; Jiang, Xiaohua; Sun, Jianxin; Rogers, Thomas; Hu, Wenhui; Wang, Hong; and Yang, Xiaofeng, "Increasing Upstream Chromatin Long-Range Interactions May Favor Induction of Circular RNAs in LysoPC-Activated Human Aortic Endothelial Cells." (2019). Center for Translational Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 55.
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