MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in cartilage development and homeostasis and are dysregulated in osteoarthritis. MiR-145 modulation induces profound changes in the human articular chondrocyte (HAC) phenotype, partially through direct repression of SOX9
. Since miRNAs can simultaneously silence multiple targets, we aimed to identify the whole targetome of miR-145 in HACs, critical if miR-145 is to be considered a target for cartilage repair. We performed RIP-seq (RNA-immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing) of miRISC (miRNA-induced silencing complex) in HACs overexpressing miR-145 to identify miR-145 direct targets and used cWords to assess enrichment of miR-145 seed matches in the identified targets. Further validations were performed by RT-qPCR, Western immunoblot, and luciferase assays. MiR-145 affects the expression of over 350 genes and directly targets more than 50 mRNAs through the 3′UTR or, more commonly, the coding region. MiR-145 targets DUSP6, involved in cartilage organization and development, at the translational level. DUSP6 depletion leads to MMP13 upregulation, suggesting a contribution towards the effect of miR-145 on MMP13 expression. In conclusion, miR-145 directly targets several genes involved in the expression of the extracellular matrix and inflammation in primary chondrocytes. Thus, we propose miR-145 as an important regulator of chondrocyte function and a new target for cartilage repair.
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