MicroRNAs in Apple-Derived Nanoparticles Modulate Intestinal Expression of Organic Anion-Transporting Peptide 2B1/ SLCO2B1 in Caco-2 Cells

Drug Metab Dispos. 2021 Sep;49(9):803-809. doi: 10.1124/dmd.121.000380. Epub 2021 Jun 23.


Plant-derived nanoparticles exert cytoprotective effects on intestinal cells by delivering their cargo to intestinal tissues. We previously reported that apple-derived nanoparticles (APNPs) downregulate the mRNA of the human intestinal transporter organic anion-transporting peptide 2B1 (OATP2B1)/SLCO2B1 and that the 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) is required for the response to APNPs. Here, we investigated the involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in APNPs in suppressing OATP2B1 expression to demonstrate that APNP macromolecules directly interact with intestinal tissues. Using in silico analysis, seven apple miRNAs were predicted as candidate miRNAs that interact with the SLCO2B1-3'UTR. The APNP-mediated decrease in luciferase activity of pGL3/SLCO2B1-3'UTR was abrogated by inhibitors of mdm-miR-160a-e, -7121a-c, or -7121d-h. Each miRNA mimic reduced the endogenous expression of SLCO2B1 mRNA in Caco-2 cells. The luciferase activity of the truncated pGL3/SLCO2B1-3'UTR, which contains approximately 200 bp around each miRNA recognition element (MRE), was decreased by the miR-7121d-h mimic but decreased little by the other mimics. APNP also reduced the luciferase activity of truncated pGL3/SLCO2B1-3'UTR containing an MRE for miR-7121d-h. Thus, we demonstrated that mdm-miR-7121d-h contributes to the APNP-mediated downregulation of intestinal OATP2B1. Accordingly, plant macromolecules, such as miRNAs, may directly interact with intestinal tissues via nanoparticles. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: This study demonstrates that mdm-miR7121d-h contained in apple-derived nanoparticles downregulated the mRNA expression of SLCO2B1 by interacting with SLCO2B1-3'-untranslated region directly and that SLCO2B1 mRNA might also be decreased by mdm-miR160a-e and -7121a-c indirectly. This finding that the specific apple-derived microRNAs influence human intestinal transporters provides a novel concept that macromolecules in foods directly interact with and affect the intestinal function of the host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cytoprotection
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines* / metabolism
  • Intestines* / pathology
  • Malus* / chemistry
  • Malus* / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs
  • Nanoparticles / metabolism
  • Organic Anion Transporters / metabolism*
  • Phytochemicals / metabolism


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MicroRNAs
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Phytochemicals
  • SLCO2B1 protein, human