A systematic evaluation of microRNAs in regulating human hepatic CYP2E1

Biochem Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 15;138:174-184. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2017.04.020. Epub 2017 Apr 22.


Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) is an important drug metabolizing enzyme for processing numerous xenobiotics in the liver, including acetaminophen and ethanol. Previous studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) can suppress CYP2E1 expression by binding to the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of its transcript. However, a systematic analysis of CYP2E1 regulation by miRNAs has not been described. Here, we applied in silico, in vivo, and in vitro approaches to investigate miRNAs involved in the regulation of CYP2E1. Initially, potential miRNA binding sites in the CYP2E1 mRNA transcript were identified and screened using in silico methods. Next, inverse correlations were found in human liver samples between the expression of CYP2E1 mRNA and the levels of two miRNA species, hsa-miR-214-3p and hsa-miR-942-5p. In a HepG2-derived CYP2E1 over-expression cell model, hsa-miR-214-3p exhibited strong suppression of CYP2E1 expression by targeting the coding region of its mRNA transcript, but hsa-miR-942-5p did not inhibit CYP2E1 levels. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed that hsa-miR-214-3p recruited other cellular protein factors to form stable complexes with specific sequences present in the CYP2E1 mRNA open reading frame. Transfection of HepaRG cells with hsa-miR-214-3p mimics inhibited expression of the endogenous CYP2E1 gene. Further, hsa-miR-214-3p mimics partially blocked ethanol-dependent increases in CYP2E1 mRNA and protein levels in HepG2 cells and they reduced the release of alanine aminotransferase from CYP2E1-overexpressing HepG2 cells exposed to acetaminophen. These results substantiate the suppressing effect of hsa-miR-214-3p on CYP2E1 expression.

Keywords: CYP2E1; Drug metabolizing enzymes; Inter-individual variability; Pharmacogenomics; microRNA, hsa-miR-214-3p.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / pharmacology
  • Alanine Transaminase / genetics
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Computational Biology
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / chemistry
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism*
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Expert Systems
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic* / drug effects
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Biomarkers
  • MIRN214 microRNA, human
  • MIRN942 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, recombinant
  • Acetaminophen
  • RNA
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Alanine Transaminase