Levels of miR-374 increase in BeWo b30 cells exposed to hypoxia
In humans, trophoblast hypoxia during placental development can be a cause of serious pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. The pathogenesis of these conditions is not fully clear and may be associated with changed expression of some genes and regulatory molecules, including miRNA, in trophoblast cells. The aim of this study was to analyze miRNA profiles and measure the expression of their target genes in a model of trophoblast hypoxia. Human choriocarcinoma BeWo b30 cells were used as a trophoblast model. Hypoxia was induced by cobalt chloride (CoCl2) and an oxyquinoline derivative. MRNA and miRNA expression profiles were evaluated by means of next generation sequencing (NGS); the expression of individual genes was analyzed by PCR. We studied the secondary structure of mRNAs of target genes for those miRNAs whose expression had changed significantly and analyzed potential competition between these miRNAs for the binding site. The observed changes in the expression of the key genes involved in the response to hypoxia confirmed the feasibility of using CoCl2 and the oxyquinoline derivative as hypoxia inducers. The analysis revealed an increase in miR-374 levels following the activation of the hypoxia pathway in our trophoblast model. The changes were accompanied by a reduction in FOXM1 mRNA expression; this mRNA is a target for hsa-miR-374a-5p and hsa-miR374b-5p, which can compete with hsa-miR-21-5p for the binding sites on FOXM1 mRNA. The involvement of FOXM1 in the regulation of the invasive cell potential suggests the role of miR-374 and FOXM1 in the pathogenesis of disrupted trophoblast invasion during placental development as predisposing for fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia.