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Cell Death Dis. 2013 Apr 18;4:e604. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.134.

microRNA-199a-5p protects hepatocytes from bile acid-induced sustained endoplasmic reticulum stress.

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The Department of Special Treatment, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.


Sustained endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been linked to cell death and the pathogenesis of many liver diseases, including toxic liver, cholestasis, and infectious liver disease. The cellular pathways that attenuate hepatic ER stress have been the focus of many recent studies, but the role of microRNAs (miRNA) in this process remains unknown. Here, we report that one of the most abundant miRNAs in hepatocytes, miR-199a-5p, was elevated in both bile acid- and thapsigargin (TG)-stimulated cultured hepatocytes, as well as in the liver of bile duct-ligated mice. We identify the misfolded protein chaperone GRP78, as well as the unfolded protein response transducers endoplasmic reticulum to nucleus signaling 1 and activating transcription factor 6 as direct targets of miR-199a-5p, and show that endogenous miR-199a-5p represses the 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of their mRNAs. Through gain-of-function and loss of function approaches, we demonstrate that the elevated miR-199-5p disrupts sustained ER stress and prevents hepatocytes from undergoing bile acid- or TG-induced cell death. Furthermore, we reveal that the transcription factor AP-1 is a strong positive regulator of miR-199a-5p. In brief, our study demonstrates that AP-1/miR-199a-5p and ER stress mediators form a feedback loop, which shields hepatocytes from sustained ER stress and protects the liver from injury. On the basis of these findings, we also suggest that the miRNA miR-199a-5p is a potential target for clinical approaches aiming to protect hepatocytes in liver disease.

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