bims-micpro Biomed News
on Discovery and characterization of microproteins
Issue of 2022‒01‒16
two papers selected by
Thomas Farid Martínez
University of California, Irvine

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 21. pii: 58. [Epub ahead of print]23(1):
      Identification of cancer-specific target molecules and biomarkers may be useful in the development of novel treatment and immunotherapeutic strategies. We have recently demonstrated that the expression of long noncoding (lnc) RNAs can be cancer-type specific due to abnormal chromatin remodeling and alternative splicing. Furthermore, we identified and determined that the functional small protein C20orf204-189AA encoded by long intergenic noncoding RNA Linc00176 that is expressed predominantly in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), enhances transcription of ribosomal RNAs and supports growth of HCC. In this study we combined RNA-sequencing and polysome profiling to identify novel micropeptides that originate from HCC-specific lncRNAs. We identified nine lncRNAs that are expressed exclusively in HCC cells but not in the liver or other normal tissues. Here, DNase-sequencing data revealed that the altered chromatin structure plays a key role in the HCC-specific expression of lncRNAs. Three out of nine HCC-specific lncRNAs contain at least one open reading frame (ORF) longer than 50 amino acid (aa) and enriched in the polysome fraction, suggesting that they are translated. We generated a peptide specific antibody to characterize one candidate, NONHSAT013026.2/Linc013026. We show that Linc013026 encodes a 68 amino acid micropeptide that is mainly localized at the perinuclear region. Linc013026-68AA is expressed in a subset of HCC cells and plays a role in cell proliferation, suggesting that Linc013026-68AA may be used as a HCC-specific target molecule. Our finding also sheds light on the role of the previously ignored 'dark proteome', that originates from noncoding regions in the maintenance of cancer.
    Keywords:  HCC-specific small functional protein; NONHSAT013026.2/Linc013026-68AA; dark proteome; fine tuner of cancer formation; hepatocellular carcinoma
  2. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 703583
      Glioblastoma is the most common brain cancer in adults. Nevertheless, the median survival time is 15 months, if treated with at least a near total resection and followed by radiotherapy in association with temozolomide. In glioblastoma (GBM), variations of non-coding ribonucleic acid (ncRNA) expression have been demonstrated in tumor processes, especially in the regulation of major signaling pathways. Moreover, many ncRNAs present in their sequences an Open Reading Frame (ORF) allowing their translations into proteins, so-called alternative proteins (AltProt) and constituting the "ghost proteome." This neglected world in GBM has been shown to be implicated in protein-protein interaction (PPI) with reference proteins (RefProt) reflecting involvement in signaling pathways linked to cellular mobility and transfer RNA regulation. More recently, clinical studies have revealed that AltProt is also involved in the patient's survival and bad prognosis. We thus propose to review the ncRNAs involved in GBM and highlight their function in the disease.
    Keywords:  LncRNA—long noncoding RNA; SEPs; alternative proteins; brain cancer; glioblastoma; mass spectrometry—LC-MS/MS; ncRNA (noncoding RNA)