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RNA-Based Regulation: Dynamics and Response to Perturbations of Competing RNAs

TitleRNA-Based Regulation: Dynamics and Response to Perturbations of Competing RNAs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsFigliuzzi, M, De Martino, A, Marinari, E
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume107
Issue4
Pagination1011-1022
Abstract

The observation that, through a titration mechanism, microRNAs (miRNAs) can act as mediators of effective interactions among their common targets (competing endogenous RNAs or ceRNAs) has brought forward the idea (i.e., the ceRNA hypothesis) that RNAs can regulate each other in extended cross-talk networks. Such an ability might play a major role in posttranscriptional regulation to shape a cell?s protein repertoire. Recent work focusing on the emergent properties of the cross-talk networks has emphasized the high flexibility and selectivity that may be achieved at stationarity. On the other hand, dynamical aspects, possibly crucial on the relevant timescales, are far less clear. We have carried out a dynamical study of the ceRNA hypothesis on a model of posttranscriptional regulation. Sensitivity analysis shows that ceRNA cross-talk is dynamically extended, i.e., it may take place on timescales shorter than those required to achieve stationarity even in cases where no cross-talk occurs in the steady state, and is possibly amplified. In addition, in the case of large, transfection-like perturbations, the system may develop a strongly nonlinear, threshold response. Finally, we show that the ceRNA effect provides a very efficient way for a cell to achieve fast positive shifts in the level of a ceRNA when necessary. These results indicate that competition for miRNAs may indeed provide an elementary mechanism to achieve system-level regulatory effects on the transcriptome over physiologically relevant timescales.The observation that, through a titration mechanism, microRNAs (miRNAs) can act as mediators of effective interactions among their common targets (competing endogenous RNAs or ceRNAs) has brought forward the idea (i.e., the ceRNA hypothesis) that RNAs can regulate each other in extended cross-talk networks. Such an ability might play a major role in posttranscriptional regulation to shape a cell?s protein repertoire. Recent work focusing on the emergent properties of the cross-talk networks has emphasized the high flexibility and selectivity that may be achieved at stationarity. On the other hand, dynamical aspects, possibly crucial on the relevant timescales, are far less clear. We have carried out a dynamical study of the ceRNA hypothesis on a model of posttranscriptional regulation. Sensitivity analysis shows that ceRNA cross-talk is dynamically extended, i.e., it may take place on timescales shorter than those required to achieve stationarity even in cases where no cross-talk occurs in the steady state, and is possibly amplified. In addition, in the case of large, transfection-like perturbations, the system may develop a strongly nonlinear, threshold response. Finally, we show that the ceRNA effect provides a very efficient way for a cell to achieve fast positive shifts in the level of a ceRNA when necessary. These results indicate that competition for miRNAs may indeed provide an elementary mechanism to achieve system-level regulatory effects on the transcriptome over physiologically relevant timescales.

URLhttp://www.cell.com/biophysj/abstract/S0006-3495(14)00679-1