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Nature. 2017 Jan 12;541(7636):228-232. doi: 10.1038/nature21034. Epub 2016 Dec 26.

mTORC1 and muscle regeneration are regulated by the LINC00961-encoded SPAR polypeptide.

Author information

1
Cancer Research Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, Department of Medicine and Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.
2
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.
3
Department of BioBank, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo), Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8573, Japan.
4
Molecular Biotechnology Center and Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, 10126 Turin, Italy.
5
The Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Abstract

Although long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are non-protein-coding transcripts by definition, recent studies have shown that a fraction of putative small open reading frames within lncRNAs are translated. However, the biological significance of these hidden polypeptides is still unclear. Here we identify and functionally characterize a novel polypeptide encoded by the lncRNA LINC00961. This polypeptide is conserved between human and mouse, is localized to the late endosome/lysosome and interacts with the lysosomal v-ATPase to negatively regulate mTORC1 activation. This regulation of mTORC1 is specific to activation of mTORC1 by amino acid stimulation, rather than by growth factors. Hence, we termed this polypeptide 'small regulatory polypeptide of amino acid response' (SPAR). We show that the SPAR-encoding lncRNA is highly expressed in a subset of tissues and use CRISPR/Cas9 engineering to develop a SPAR-polypeptide-specific knockout mouse while maintaining expression of the host lncRNA. We find that the SPAR-encoding lncRNA is downregulated in skeletal muscle upon acute injury, and using this in vivo model we establish that SPAR downregulation enables efficient activation of mTORC1 and promotes muscle regeneration. Our data provide a mechanism by which mTORC1 activation may be finely regulated in a tissue-specific manner in response to injury, and a paradigm by which lncRNAs encoding small polypeptides can modulate general biological pathways and processes to facilitate tissue-specific requirements, consistent with their restricted and highly regulated expression profile.

PMID:
28024296
DOI:
10.1038/nature21034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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