- SOC STUDY REPRODUCTION
During pregnancy, human placenta-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) derived from the miRNA cluster in human chromosome 19 are expressed in villous trophoblasts and secreted into maternal circulation via exosomes; however, little is known about whether circulating placenta-associated miRNAs are transferred into maternal immune cells via exosomes, and modulate expression of target genes in the recipient cells. We employed an in vitro model of trophoblast-immune cell communication using BeWo cells (a human trophoblast cell line) and Jurkat cells (a human leukemic T-cell line) and investigated whether BeWo exosomal placenta-associated miRNAs can suppress expression of target genes in the recipient Jurkat cells. Using this system, we identified PRKG1 as a target gene of placenta-associated miRNA miR-517a-3p. Moreover, we demonstrated that BeWo exosomal miR-517a-3p was internalized into Jurkat cells and subsequently suppressed the expression of PRKG1 in recipient Jurkat cells. Furthermore, using peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells in vivo, we confirmed that circulating miR-517a-3p was delivered into maternal NK cells as it was into Jurkat cells in vitro. Placenta-associated miR-517a-3p was incorporated into maternal NK cells in the third trimester, and it was rapidly cleared after delivery. Expression levels of miR-517a-3p and its target mRNA PRKG1 were inversely correlated in NK cells before and after delivery. These in vitro and in vivo results suggest that exosome-mediated transfer of placenta-associated miRNAs and subsequent modulation of their target genes occur in maternal NK cells. The present study provides novel insight into our understanding of placentamaternal communication.
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