Up-regulation of miR-let7a-5p Leads to Decreased Expression of ABCC2 in Obstructive Cholestasis

Hepatol Commun. 2019 Sep 27;3(12):1674-1686. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1433. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette subfamily C member 2 (ABCC2/Abcc2) is critically important to biliary excretion of many endobiotic and xenobiotic compounds, and is a major driving force for bile acid-independent bile flow. Abcc2 expression is reduced at the messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels in various forms of experimental cholestasis. In a microRNA (miRNA) screen of mouse liver after biliary obstruction, we found that miRNA let7a-5p was significantly up-regulated approximately 4-fold. Similarly, ABCC2 mRNA was depleted and miRNA let7a-5p was elevated over 4-fold in livers of children with biliary atresia compared with normal livers. In silico analysis predicted that let7a-5p would target the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) of ABCC2/Abcc2 RNA. The objective of this study was to determine whether let7a-5p contributes to the depletion of ABCC2/Abcc2 in cholestasis. To demonstrate the functional importance of miRNA let7a-5p in regulating the expression of ABCC2, co-transfection of a let7a-5p mimic and an ABCC2-3' UTR luciferase construct into Huh-7 cells led to a marked inhibition of luciferase activity by about 60%-70% compared with controls, which was reversed by a let7a-5p mimic inhibitor. Expression of this mimic led to a significant decrease in endogenous ABCC2 mRNA and protein levels in a Huh-7 liver cell line, which could be blocked by expression of a let7a-5p mimic inhibitor. Injection of a lentivirus let7a-5p inhibitor into normal mouse liver or into mouse liver after common bile duct ligation led to a significant increase in endogenous Abcc2 mRNA and protein levels and a depletion of let7a-5p mRNA levels compared with untreated, saline-injected livers or livers treated with an inactive lentivirus control. Conclusion: These studies demonstrate that miR-let7a-5p is involved in regulating ABCC2/Abcc2 expression, and is aberrantly up-regulated in obstructive cholestasis.