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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54803. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054803. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

T cell post-transcriptional miRNA-mRNA interaction networks identify targets associated with susceptibility/resistance to collagen-induced arthritis.

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Molecular Immunogenetics Group, Department of Genetics, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2013;8(6). doi:10.1371/annotation/d5b49a6b-b176-4e96-9f4f-113838f0889d.



Due to recent studies indicating that the deregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) in T cells contributes to increased severity of rheumatoid arthritis, we hypothesized that deregulated miRNAs may interact with key mRNA targets controlling the function or differentiation of these cells in this disease.


To test our hypothesis, we used microarrays to survey, for the first time, the expression of all known mouse miRNAs in parallel with genome-wide mRNAs in thymocytes and naïve and activated peripheral CD3(+) T cells from two mouse strains the DBA-1/J strain (MHC-H2q), which is susceptible to collagen induced arthritis (CIA), and the DBA-2/J strain (MHC-H2d), which is resistant. Hierarchical clustering of data showed the several T cell miRNAs and mRNAs differentially expressed between the mouse strains in different stages of immunization with collagen. Bayesian statistics using the GenMir(++) algorithm allowed reconstruction of post-transcriptional miRNA-mRNA interaction networks for target prediction. We revealed the participation of miR-500, miR-202-3p and miR-30b*, which established interactions with at least one of the following mRNAs: Rorc, Fas, Fasl, Il-10 and Foxo3. Among the interactions that were validated by calculating the minimal free-energy of base pairing between the miRNA and the 3'UTR of the mRNA target and luciferase assay, we highlight the interaction of miR-30b*-Rorc mRNA because the mRNA encodes a protein implicated in pro-inflammatory Th17 cell differentiation (Rorγt). FACS analysis revealed that Rorγt protein levels and Th17 cell counts were comparatively reduced in the DBA-2/J strain.


This result showed that the miRNAs and mRNAs identified in this study represent new candidates regulating T cell function and controlling susceptibility and resistance to CIA.

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