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Anu Alice Thomas, Biao Feng, Subrata Chakrabarti; ANRIL: A Regulator of VEGF in Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(1):470-480. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-20569.
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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) previously thought to be “dark matter” of the genome, play key roles in various biological processes. The lncRNA ANRIL is located at a genetic susceptibility locus for coronary artery diseases and type 2 diabetes. We examined the role of ANRIL in diabetic retinopathy, through study of its regulation of VEGF both in vitro and in vivo.
Human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) were subjected to incubation in high glucose to mimic diabetes. ANRIL expression was measured with or without small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown in HRECs. ANRIL knockout mice, with or without streptozotocin-induced diabetes, were also investigated. Cell and tissues were measured for VEGF mRNA and protein expression. Functional alterations in VEGF were determined through tube formation, cell proliferation, and retinal vascular permeability assays. Vascular endothelial growth factor regulation through ANRIL's interactions with polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) components and p300 were studied thorough PRC2 blocker, siRNA, and RNA immunoprecipitation (RNA-IP) assays.
High glucose and diabetes caused ANRIL upregulation in HRECs and in the retina. Glucose-mediated elevation of ANRIL, on silencing, prevented VEGF expression. Such regulation involved ANRIL-mediated control of the PRC2 components p300 and miR200b. Direct binding of ANRIL to p300 and enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2; a PRC2 component) were elevated following exposure to high glucose levels.
Our results demonstrate for the first time that ANRIL regulates VEGF expression and function in diabetic retinopathy. This regulation is mediated by p300, miR200b, and EZH2 of the PRC2 complex.
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