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The long noncoding RNA CHROME regulates cholesterol homeostasis in primate.

Elizabeth J Hennessy, Coen van Solingen, Kaitlyn R Scacalossi, Mireille Ouimet, Milessa S Afonso, Jurrien Prins, Graeme J Koelwyn, Monika Sharma, Bhama Ramkhelawon, Susan Carpenter, Albert Busch, Ekaterina Chernogubova, Ljubica P Matic, Ulf Hedin, Lars Maegdefessel, Brian E Caffrey, Maryem A Hussein, Emiliano P Ricci, Ryan E Temel, Michael J Garabedian, Jeffrey S Berger, Kasey C Vickers, Matthew Kanke, Praveen Sethupathy, Daniel Teupser, Lesca M Holdt, and Kathryn J Moore (2019)

Nat Metab, 1(1):98-110.

The human genome encodes thousands of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), the majority of which are poorly conserved and uncharacterized. Here we identify a primate-specific lncRNA (CHROME), elevated in the plasma and atherosclerotic plaques of individuals with coronary artery disease, that regulates cellular andsystemic cholesterol homeostasis. LncRNA CHROME expression is influenced by dietary and cellular cholesterol via the sterol-activated liver X receptor transcription factors, which control genes mediating responses to cholesterol overload. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we show that CHROME promotes cholesterol efflux and HDL biogenesis by curbing the actions of a set of functionally related microRNAs that repress genes in those pathways. CHROME knockdown in human hepatocytes and macrophages increases levels of miR-27b, miR-33a, miR-33b and miR-128, thereby reducing expression of their overlapping target gene networks and associated biologic functions. In particular, cells lacking CHROME show reduced expression of ABCA1, which regulates cholesterol efflux and nascent HDL particle formation. Collectively, our findings identify CHROME as a central component of the non-coding RNA circuitry controlling cholesterol homeostasis in humans.

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