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Scientific reports

MicroRNA-33b knock-in mice for an intron of sterol regulatory element-binding factor 1 (Srebf1) exhibit reduced HDL-C in vivo.


PMID 24931346

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-protein-coding RNAs that bind to specific mRNAs and inhibit translation or promote mRNA degradation. Recent reports, including ours, indicated that miR-33a located within the intron of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) 2 controls cholesterol homeostasis and can be a possible therapeutic target for treating atherosclerosis. Primates, but not rodents, express miR-33b from an intron of SREBF1. Therefore, humanized mice, in which a miR-33b transgene is inserted within a Srebf1 intron, are required to address its function in vivo. We successfully established miR-33b knock-in (KI) mice and found that protein levels of known miR-33a target genes, such as ABCA1, ABCG1, and SREBP-1, were reduced compared with those in wild-type mice. As a consequence, macrophages from the miR-33b KI mice had a reduced cholesterol efflux capacity via apoA-I and HDL-C. Moreover, HDL-C levels were reduced by almost 35% even in miR-33b KI hetero mice compared with the control mice. These results indicate that miR-33b may account for lower HDL-C levels in humans than those in mice and that miR-33b is possibly utilized for a feedback mechanism to regulate its host gene SREBF1. Our mice will also aid in elucidating the roles of miR-33a/b in different genetic disease models.