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• miRNA expression profiles were studied in trophoblast under normoxia/hypoxia.
• Expression of miR-365 was significantly higher under hypoxic conditions.
• The target of miR-365 in trophoblast was human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G.
• miR-365 may play an important role in maternal immune tolerance.
IntroductionHypoxia occurs in the first trimester of placental development and is implicated in the regulation of trophoblast differentiation. Prolonged hypoxic conditions in the placenta are related to the development of preeclampsia. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding, single-stranded RNAs that modulate gene expression by targeting messenger RNA. We hypothesized that, under hypoxic conditions, trophoblasts may have a unique miRNA profile that may play a critical role in placental development.MethodsTotal RNA was extracted from human trophoblast, HChEpC1b, exposed to normoxia (20% O2) or hypoxia (2% O2) for 24 h, and the miRNA expression profiles were investigated using a microRNA array. Several differential miRNAs were selected and validated using real-time reverse transcription PCR. We identified potential targets of these miRNAs using in silico analysis. We confirmed a potential target protein by western blot analysis and luciferase assays.ResultsThe expression of miR-365 was significantly upregulated under hypoxic conditions. In silico analysis showed that miR-365 targeted human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G. Both hypoxic conditions and overexpression of miR-365 inhibited the expression of HLA-G proteins. The overexpression of miR-365 also decreased the activity of the luciferase reporter containing the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of HLA-G with the predicted miR-365-binding site.DiscussionHLA-G is a non-classical HLA class-Ib molecule that is expressed mainly in extravillous trophoblasts and which plays a key role in maintaining immune tolerance at the maternal–fetal interface. Our results indicate that miR-365 targets the HLA-G 3′ UTR to repress its expression. The expression of miR-365 may play an important role in human placental development and in immunoprotection of the semiallogenic embryo.
Journal: Placenta - Volume 45, September 2016, Pages 37–41