MicroRNA-15b/16 Attenuates Vascular Neointima Formation by Promoting the Contractile Phenotype of Vascular Smooth Muscle Through Targeting YAP
Objective—To investigate the functional role of the microRNA (miR)-15b/16 in vascular smooth muscle (SM) phenotypic modulation.
Approach and Results—We found that miR-15b/16 is one of the most abundant mRs expressed in contractile vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). However, when contractile VSMCs get converted to a synthetic phenotype, miR-15b/16 expression is significantly reduced. Knocking down endogenous miR-15b/16 in VSMCs attenuates SM-specific gene expression but promotes VSMC proliferation and migration. Conversely, overexpression of miR-15b/16 promotes SM contractile gene expression while attenuating VSMC migration and proliferation. Consistent with this, overexpression of miR-15b/16 in a rat carotid balloon injury model markedly attenuates injury-induced SM dedifferentiation and neointima formation. Mechanistically, we identified the potent oncoprotein yes-associated protein (YAP) as a downstream target of miR-15b/16 in VSMCs. Reporter assays validated that miR-15b/16 targets YAP’s 3′ untranslated region. Moreover, overexpression of miR-15b/16 significantly represses YAP expression, whereas conversely, depletion of endogenous miR-15b/16 results in upregulation of YAP expression.
Conclusions—These results indicate that miR-15b/16 plays a critical role in SM phenotypic modulation at least partly through targeting YAP. Restoring expression of miR-15b/16 would be a potential therapeutic approach for treatment of proliferative vascular diseases.
- Received April 13, 2015.
- Accepted August 10, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.