MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression and thereby influence cell fate and function. Recent studies suggest that an abundant class of miRNAs play important roles in immune cells, such as T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, B cells, and dendritic cells (DCs). Interleukin (IL)-27 is a member of the IL-12 family of cytokines with broad anti-viral effects. It is a potent inhibitor of HIV-1 infection in CD4+ T cells and macrophages, as well as monocyte-derived immature dendritic cells (iDCs). This pilot study compared miRNA profiles between iDCs and IL-27-treated iDCs (27DCs) using deep sequencing methods and identified 46 known miRNAs that were significantly differentially expressed in 27DCs: 36 were upregulated and 10 downregulated by IL-27. Many of the potential target genes of these miRNAs are involved in IL-27 associated pathways, such as JAK/STAT, MAPKs, and PI3K and several were also previously reported to be involved in the regulation of human DC function. This study found that these miRNAs also potentially target several viral genomes and therefore may have antiviral effects. Four of these differential miRNAs (miR-99a-5p, miR-222-3p, miR-138-5p, and miR-125b-5p) were validated using quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR). Twenty-two novel miRNAs were discovered from deep sequencing and confirmed using RT-qPCR. This study furthers the understanding of the role of IL-27 in immunity and lays a foundation for future characterization of the role of specific miRNAs in DCs.
Keywords: IL-27; deep sequencing; dendritic cells; microRNA.