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Coordinate regulation of long non-coding RNAs and protein-coding genes in germ-free mice

Coordinate regulation of long non-coding RNAs and protein-coding genes in germ-free mice

Bmc Genomics 19(1): 834

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized as regulators of tissue-specific cellular functions and have been shown to regulate transcriptional and translational processes, acting as signals, decoys, guides, and scaffolds. It has been suggested that some lncRNAs act in cis to regulate the expression of neighboring protein-coding genes (PCGs) in a mechanism that fine-tunes gene expression. Gut microbiome is increasingly recognized as a regulator of development, inflammation, host metabolic processes, and xenobiotic metabolism. However, there is little known regarding whether the gut microbiome modulates lncRNA gene expression in various host metabolic organs. The goals of this study were to 1) characterize the tissue-specific expression of lncRNAs and 2) identify and annotate lncRNAs differentially regulated in the absence of gut microbiome. Total RNA was isolated from various tissues (liver, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, brown adipose tissue, white adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle) from adult male conventional and germ-free mice (n = 3 per group). RNA-Seq was conducted and reads were mapped to the mouse reference genome (mm10) using HISAT. Transcript abundance and differential expression was determined with Cufflinks using the reference databases NONCODE 2016 for lncRNAs and UCSC mm10 for PCGs. Although the constitutive expression of lncRNAs was ubiquitous within the enterohepatic (liver and intestine) and the peripheral metabolic tissues (fat and muscle) in conventional mice, differential expression of lncRNAs by lack of gut microbiota was highly tissue specific. Interestingly, the majority of gut microbiota-regulated lncRNAs were in jejunum. Most lncRNAs were co-regulated with neighboring PCGs. STRING analysis showed that differentially expressed PCGs in proximity to lncRNAs form tissue-specific networks, suggesting that lncRNAs may interact with gut microbiota/microbial metabolites to regulate tissue-specific functions. This study is among the first to demonstrate that gut microbiota critically regulates the expression of lncRNAs not only locally in intestine but also remotely in other metabolic organs, suggesting that common transcriptional machinery may be shared to transcribe lncRNA-PCG pairs, and lncRNAs may interact with PCGs to regulate tissue-specific pathways.

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Accession: 065740424

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PMID: 30463508

DOI: 10.1186/s12864-018-5235-3

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