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, 280 (30), 27513-22

Natural Antisense mRNAs to Hyaluronan Synthase 2 Inhibit Hyaluronan Biosynthesis and Cell Proliferation


Natural Antisense mRNAs to Hyaluronan Synthase 2 Inhibit Hyaluronan Biosynthesis and Cell Proliferation

Hsu Chao et al. J Biol Chem.


We report the identification of a natural antisense mRNA of hyaluronan synthase 2 that we have chosen to designate as HASNT (for HA synthase 2 antisense) in human and mouse. HASNT is transcribed from the opposite strand of the HAS2 gene locus and is represented by several independent expressed sequence tags in human. Portions of the mouse Hasnt gene were identified through an exon-trapping approach. Sequence conservation is extremely low between human and mouse HASNT, and it is not clear whether these mRNAs contain functional open reading frames. HASNT has an alternate splice site in both human and mouse. This splice site is located at an identical position within the gene in both species and results in mRNAs of two different lengths. In each species, the antisense portion of the HASNT gene is complementary to the first exon of HAS2, which represents the 5'-untranslated region. To study the biological activity of HASNT, two human expressed sequence tag clones, representing long and short HASNT splice variants, were cloned into a tetracycline-inducible vector and were stably transfected into human osteosarcoma U2-OS Tet-on cells. The long and short HASNT-expressing cells had a reduction in HAS2 mRNA levels up to 94 and 86%, respectively, whereas hyaluronan biosynthesis was inhibited by 40 and 37%, respectively. Cell proliferation was reduced throughout the time frame of the experiment. Exogenous high molecular mass hyaluronan failed to rescue the suppressed cell proliferation, whereas adenoviral-mediated overexpression of hyaluronan synthase 3, which stimulated endogenous hyaluronan biosynthesis, was able to rescue. Collectively, our data suggest that natural antisense mRNAs of HAS2 are able to regulate HAS2 mRNA levels and hyaluronan biosynthesis in a cell culture model system and may have an important and novel regulatory role in the control of HAS2, HA biosynthesis, and HA-dependent cell functions in vivo.

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