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Cell Death Dis. 2017 Oct 26;8(10):e3137. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2017.500.

A novel lnc-PCF promotes the proliferation of TGF-β1-activated epithelial cells by targeting miR-344a-5p to regulate map3k11 in pulmonary fibrosis.

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School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai 264003, China.
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Taishan Medical University, Taian 271016, China.
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Affiliated Hospital to Binzhou Medical University, Binzhou 256602, China.


Emerging evidence suggests that microRNA (miRNA) and long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) play important roles in disease development. However, the mechanism underlying mRNA interaction with miRNA and lncRNA in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) remains unknown. This study presents a novel lnc-PCF that promotes the proliferation of TGF-β1-activated epithelial cells through the regulation of map3k11 by directly targeting miR-344a-5p during pulmonary fibrogenesis. Bioinformatics and in vitro translation assay were performed to confirm whether or not lnc-PCF is an actual lncRNA. RNA fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and nucleocytoplasmic separation showed that lnc-PCF is mainly expressed in the cytoplasm. Knockdown and knockin of lnc-PCF indicated that lnc-PCF could promote fibrogenesis by regulating the proliferation of epithelial cells activated by TGF-β1 according to the results of xCELLigence real-time cell analysis system, flow cytometry, and western blot analysis. Computational analysis and a dual-luciferase reporter system were used to identify the target gene of miR-344a-5p, whereas RNA pull down, anti-AGO2 RNA immunoprecipitation, and rescue experiments were conducted to confirm the identity of this direct target. Further experiments verified that lnc-PCF promotes the proliferation of activated epithelial cells that were dependent on miR-344a-5p, which exerted its regulatory functions through its target gene map3k11. Finally, adenovirus packaging sh-lnc-PCF was sprayed into rat lung tissues to evaluate the therapeutic effect of lnc-PCF. These findings revealed that lnc-PCF can accelerate pulmonary fibrogenesis by directly targeting miR-344a-5p to regulate map3k11, which may be a potential therapeutic target in IPF.

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