Bioengineered noncoding RNAs selectively change cellular miRNome profiles for cancer therapy

Pui Yan Ho, Zhijian Duan, Neelu Batra, Joseph L. Jilek, Mei Juan Tu, Jing Xin Qiu, Zihua Hu, Theodore Wun, Primo N Lara, Ralph W deVere White, Hongwu Chen, Aiming Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) produced in live cells may better reflect intracellular ncRNAs for research and therapy. Attempts were made to produce biologic ncRNAs, but at low yield or success rate. Here we first report a new ncRNA bioengineering technology using more stable ncRNA carrier (nCAR) containing a pre-miR-34a derivative identified by rational design and experimental validation. This approach offered a remarkable higher level expression (40%–80% of total RNAs) of recombinant ncRNAs in bacteria and gave an 80% success rate (33 of 42 ncRNAs). New FPLC and spin-column based methods were also developed for large- and small-scale purification of milligrams and micrograms of recombinant ncRNAs from half liter and milliliters of bacterial culture, respectively. We then used two bioengineered nCAR/miRNAs to demonstrate the selective release of target miRNAs into human cells, which were revealed to be Dicer dependent (miR-34a-5p) or independent (miR-124a-3p), and subsequent changes of miRNome and transcriptome profiles. miRNA enrichment analyses of altered transcriptome confirmed the specificity of nCAR/miRNAs in target gene regulation. Furthermore, nCAR assembled miR-34a-5p and miR-124-3p were active in suppressing human lung carcinoma cell proliferation through modulation of target gene expression (e.g., cMET and CDK6 for miR-34a-5p; STAT3 and ABCC4 for miR-124-3p). In addition, bioengineered miRNA molecules were effective in controlling metastatic lung xenograft progression, as demonstrated by live animal and ex vivo lung tissue bioluminescent imaging as well as histopathological examination. This novel ncRNA bioengineering platform can be easily adapted to produce various ncRNA molecules, and biologic ncRNAs hold the promise as new cancer therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-506
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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