Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Frontiers in Physiology, Volume 10, Issue MAR, March 2019, Article number 433.

The published version is available at Copyright © Li et al.


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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID