Caractérisation du rôle de deux interacteurs moléculaires du complexe de dégradation des microARN dans la régulation des courts ARN non codants chez le nématode C. elegans

Authors: Fressigne, Lucile
Advisor: Simard, Martin
Abstract: Small non-coding RNAs, like microRNAs, piRNAs or siRNAs, are small RNA molecules, 20 to 30 nucleotides long that are conserved during evolution. They form an induced silencing complex (RISC) in association with Argonaute proteins to regulate gene expression. Small non-coding RNAs are involved in the regulation of genes implicated in cell proliferation, differentiation and development. Many evidences support that deregulation of the expression level of those small non-coding RNAs contribute to the development of pathologies such as cancer. It is therefore essential for cells to control small non-coding RNA stability. The control of maturation and stability of those small molecules are poorly understood. The main objective of my doctorate was to better understand how the stability of small non-coding RNAs is controlled. In order to study in more detail how miRNAs are regulated, we identified two factors involved in miRNA turnover in C. elegans. We found that the phosphatase PPM-2 (PP2Cα in human) and the E3 ubiquitin ligase HECD-1 (HectD1 in human) are new components of the miRNA degradation complex. Using the power of the nematode C. elegans and molecular biology, we characterized the role of the loss of function of PPM-2 and HECD-1 in small non-coding RNA pathways. Loss of this phosphatase induces developmental defects which are associated with a defect in the miRNA pathway. Genetically, the phosphatase mutant exacerbates the phenotypes that are observed in animals where the miRNA pathway is affected. Interestingly, we further observed that the loss of the phosphatase affects other small non-coding RNA pathways like the piRNA and the siRNA pathways. At the molecular level, we observed a decrease in the expression level of many Argonaute proteins in phosphatase mutant animals. Upon blocking proteasomal degradation with MG132, we noticed that Argonaute proteins are sent to proteasomal degradation in phosphatase mutant animals. Concerning HECD-1, we noticed that the loss of function of the E3 ubiquitin ligase leads to the decrease of progeny and embryonic lethality due to defects in gametogenesis. Moreover, we observed an accumulation of functional miRNAs. This protein can be implicated in transcription or turnover of miRNAs. VIIn conclusion, our data suggest that PPM-2 controls the stability of Argonaute proteins by sending them through an alternative degradation pathway and that HECD-1 could be implicated in miRNA regulation by modulating their transcription or degradation. My doctoral work helped to highlight a new modulator of small non-coding RNAs, PPM-2, which acts through the regulation of Argonaute protein. A better understanding of the mechanisms controlling the stability and the function of these strong regulators will be useful to develop new therapies.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 6 March 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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