MicroRNA-122 modulates the rhythmic expression profile of the circadian deadenylase nocturnin in mouse liver


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Nocturnin is a circadian clock-regulated deadenylase thought to control mRNA expression post-transcriptionally through poly(A) tail removal. The expression of Nocturnin is robustly rhythmic in liver at both the mRNA and protein levels, and mice lacking Nocturnin are resistant to diet-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis. Here we report that Nocturnin expression is regulated by microRNA-122 (miR-122), a liver specific miRNA. We found that the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of Nocturnin mRNA harbors one putative recognition site for miR-122, and this site is conserved among mammals. Using a luciferase reporter construct with wild-type or mutant Nocturnin3′-UTR sequence, we demonstrated that overexpression of miR-122 can down-regulate luciferase activity levels and that this effect is dependent on the presence of the putative miR-122 recognition site. Additionally, the use of an antisense oligonucleotide to knock down miR-122 in vivo resulted in significant up-regulation of both Nocturnin mRNA and protein expression in mouse liver during the night, resulting in Nocturnin rhythms with increased amplitude. Together, these data demonstrate that the normal rhythmic profile of Nocturnin expression in liver is shaped in part by miR-122. Previous studies have implicated Nocturnin and miR-122 as important post-transcriptional regulators of both lipid metabolism and circadian clock controlled gene expression in the liver. Therefore, the demonstration that miR-122 plays a role in regulating Nocturnin expression suggests that this may be an important intersection between hepatic metabolic and circadian control.

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