RNA Editing Alters miRNA Function in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Cancers (Basel). 2020 May 5;12(5):1159. doi: 10.3390/cancers12051159.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a high incidence B cell leukemia with a highly variable clinical course, leading to survival times ranging from months to several decades. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the expression levels of genes by binding to the untranslated regions of transcripts. Although miRNAs have been previously shown to play a crucial role in CLL development, progression and treatment resistance, their further processing and diversification by RNA editing (specifically adenosine to inosine or cytosine to uracil deamination) has not been addressed so far. In this study, we analyzed next generation sequencing data to provide a detailed map of adenosine to inosine and cytosine to uracil changes in miRNAs from CLL and normal B cells. Our results reveal that in addition to a CLL-specific expression pattern, there is also specific RNA editing of many miRNAs, particularly miR-3157 and miR-6503, in CLL. Our data draw further light on how miRNAs and miRNA editing might be implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease.

Keywords: ADAR; AID/APOBEC; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); editing; miRNA.