Research Papers:

Silencing of LINE-1 retrotransposons contributes to variation in small noncoding RNA expression in human cancer cells

Stephen Ohms and Danny Rangasamy _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:4103-4117. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1822

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Stephen Ohms1, Danny Rangasamy1

1 John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Danny Rangasamy, email:

Keywords: MicroRNAs, small RNAs, PIWI-interacting RNAs, Retrotransposons, Genome defense, Breast Cancer Cells.

Received: January 22, 2014 Accepted: March 20, 2014 Published: March 22, 2014


Noncoding RNAs are key players in the maintenance of genomic integrity, particularly in silencing the expression of repetitive elements, some of which are retrotransposable and capable of causing genomic instability. Recent computational studies suggest an association between L1 expression and the generation of small RNAs. However, whether L1 expression has a role in the activation of small RNA expression has yet to be determined experimentally.  Here we report a global analysis of small RNAs in deep sequencing from L1-active and L1-silenced breast cancer cells. We found that cells in which L1 expression was silenced exhibited greatly increased expression of a number of miRNAs and in particular, members of the let-7 family. In addition, we found differential expression of a few piRNAs that might potentially regulate gene expression. We also report the identification of several repeat RNAs against LTRs, LINEs and SINE elements. Although most of the repeat RNAs mapped to L1 elements, in general we found no significant differences in the expression levels of repeat RNAs in the presence or absence of L1 expression except for a few RNAs targeting subclasses of L1 elements. These differentially expressed small RNAs may function in human genome defence responses.

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