MicroRNAs (miRs) are crucial regulators of vascular endothelial cell (EC) functions, including migration, proliferation, and survival. However, the role of most miRs in ECs remains unknown. Using RNA sequencing analysis, we found that miR-148a/b-3p expression was significantly downregulated during the differentiation of umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells into outgrowing ECs and that decreased miR-148a/b-3p levels were closely related to EC behavior. Overexpression of miR-148a/b-3p in ECs significantly reduced migration, filamentous actin remodeling, and angiogenic sprouting. Intriguingly, the effects of decreased miR-148a/b-3p levels were augmented by treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Importantly, we found that miR-148a/b-3p directly regulated neuropilin-1 (NRP1) expression by binding to its 3′-untranslated region. In addition, because NRP1 is the coreceptor for VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2), overexpression of miR-148a/b-3p inhibited VEGF-induced activation of VEGFR2 and inhibited its downstream pathways, as indicated by changes to phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (FAK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Collectively, our results demonstrate that miR-148a/b-3p is a direct transcriptional regulator of NRP1 that mediates antiangiogenic pathways. These data suggest that miR-148a/b-3p is a therapeutic candidate for overcoming EC dysfunction and angiogenic disorders, including ischemia, retinopathy, and tumor vascularization.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), and it was funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST; Grant 2019R1A2C3007142), and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the NRF, funded by the Korean government, MSIP (NRF-2015M3A9B6066835). This work was also supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), and it was funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (Grant number HI16C1501).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry