The miR-96, miR-182 and miR-183 microRNA (miRNA) family is essential for differentiation and function of the vertebrate inner ear. Recently, point mutations within the seed region of miR-96 were reported in two Spanish families with autosomal dominant non-syndromic sensorineural hearing loss (NSHL) and in a mouse model of NSHL. We screened 882 NSHL patients and 836 normal-hearing Italian controls and identified one putative novel mutation within the miR-96 gene in a family with autosomal dominant NSHL. Although located outside the mature miR-96 sequence, the detected variant replaces a highly conserved nucleotide within the companion miR-96*, and is predicted to reduce the stability of the pre-miRNA hairpin. To evaluate the effect of the detected mutation on miR-96/mir-96* biogenesis, we investigated the maturation of miR-96 by transient expression in mammalian cells, followed by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We found that both miR-96 and miR-96* levels were significantly reduced in the mutant, whereas the precursor levels were unaffected. Moreover, miR-96 and miR-96* expression levels could be restored by a compensatory mutation that reconstitutes the secondary structure of the pre-miR-96 hairpin, demonstrating that the mutation hinders precursor processing, probably interfering with Dicer cleavage. Finally, even though the mature miR-96 sequence is not altered, we demonstrated that the identified mutation significantly impacts on miR-96 regulation of selected targets. In conclusion, we provide further evidence of the involvement of miR-96 mutations in human deafness and demonstrate that a quantitative defect of this miRNA may contribute to NSHL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology