MicroRNA-29b/142-5p contribute to the pathogenesis of biliary atresia by regulating the IFN-γ gene
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Cell Death & Disease
DOI 10.1038/s41419-018-0605-y

Biliary atresia is one of the most common liver disease in infancy. The cause and pathogenesis remain largely unknown. This study aimed to investigate the potential regulatory effect of miR-29b/142-5p on IFN-γ gene methylation. miRNAs microarray was performed on four pairs of liver and blood specimens from biliary atresia and choledochal cysts. We found the overexpression of miR-142-5p and mRNA level of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1, and miR-29b and DNMT3a/DNMT3b were significantly negatively correlated in biliary atresia livers. Meanwhile, the methylation of the LINE-1, ALU and SAT2 repetitive sequences and the IFN-γ promoter was lower, but the expression of IFN-γ was upregulated. After transfected with DNMTs siRNAs, downregulation of DNMTs exerted a significant hypomethylating effect on the repetitive sequences, which led to upregulation of IFN-γ in Jurkat cells. The direct interactions between miR-29b and DNMT3a/3b, and miR-142-5p and DNMT1 were identified using luciferase reporter assays. By transfecting mimics of miR-29b/142-5p into Jurkat cells, we found overexpression of miR-29b/142-5p markedly suppressed expression of DNMTs. Furthermore, the methylation of repetitive sequences and the IFN-γ promoter region were remarkably downregulated, and with elevated IFN-γ expression. After transfecting the miRNA inhibitors, the levels of DNMTs and the methylation of the IFN-γ gene promoter region was upregulated, while levels of IFN-γ were markedly suppressed. Our study suggested that miRNA-29b/142-5p overexpression and targeted inhibition of DNMTs expression resulted in decreased overall gene methylation and overexpression of the methylation-sensitive IFN-γ gene.