The long non-coding RNA MEG3 plays critical roles in the pathogenesis of cholesterol gallstone

PeerJ. 2021 Feb 23;9:e10803. doi: 10.7717/peerj.10803. eCollection 2021.


Background: Cholesterol gallstone (CG) is the most common gallstone disease, which is induced by biliary cholesterol supersaturation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the pathogenesis of CG.

Methods: Sixteen mice were equally and randomly divided into model group and normal control group. The model group was fed with lithogenic diets to induce CG, and then gallbladder bile lipid analysis was performed. After RNA-seq library was constructed, differentially expressed mRNAs (DE-mRNAs) and differentially expressed lncRNAs (DE-lncRNAs) between model group and normal control group were analyzed by DESeq2 package. Using the cluster Profiler package, enrichment analysis for the DE-mRNAs was carried out. Based on Cytoscape software, the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network and competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network were built. Using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis, the key RNAs were validated.

Results: The mouse model of CG was suc cessfully established, and then 181 DE-mRNAs and 33 DE-lncRNAs between model and normal groups were obtained. Moreover, KDM4A was selected as a hub node in the PPI network, and lncRNA MEG3 was considered as a key lncRNA in the regulatory network. Additionally, the miR-107-5p/miR-149-3p/miR-346-3-MEG3 regulatory pairs and MEG3-PABPC4/CEP131/NUMB1 co-expression pairs existed in the regulatory network. The qRT-PCR analysis showed that KDM4A expression was increased, and the expressions of MEG3, PABPC4, CEP131, and NUMB1 were downregulated.

Conclusion: These RNAs might be related to the pathogenesis of CG.

Keywords: Animal modeling; Cholesterol gallstone; Competing endogenous RNA; Differential expression analysis; Enrichment analysis; Library construction.

Grant support

The authors received no funding for this work.