A macrophage-specific lncRNA regulates apoptosis and atherosclerosis by tethering HuR in the nucleus.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging regulators of pathophysiological processes including atherosclerosis. Using RNA-seq profiling of the intima of lesions, here we identify a macrophage-specific lncRNA MAARS (Macrophage-Associated Atherosclerosis lncRNA Sequence). Aortic intima expression of MAARS increases by 270-fold with atherosclerotic progression and decreases with regression by 60%. MAARS knockdown reduces atherosclerotic lesion formation by 52% in LDLR-/- mice, largely independent of effects on lipid profile and inflammation, but rather by decreasing macrophage apoptosis and increasing efferocytosis in the vessel wall. MAARS interacts with HuR/ELAVL1, an RNA-binding protein and important regulator of apoptosis. Overexpression and knockdown studies verified MAARS as a critical regulator of macrophage apoptosis and efferocytosis in vitro, in an HuR-dependent manner. Mechanistically, MAARS knockdown alters HuR cytosolic shuttling, regulating HuR targets such as p53, p27, Caspase-9, and BCL2. These findings establish a mechanism by which a macrophage-specific lncRNA interacting with HuR regulates apoptosis, with implications for a broad range of vascular disease states.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Simion, V; Zhou, H; Haemmig, S; Pierce, JB; Mendes, S; Tesmenitsky, Y; Pérez-Cremades, D; Lee, JF; Chen, AF; Ronda, N; Papotti, B; Marto, JA; Feinberg, MW

Published Date

  • December 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 6135 -

PubMed ID

  • 33262333

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7708640

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41467-020-19664-2


  • eng