Global analysis of AGO2-bound RNAs reveals that miRNAs induce cleavage of target RNAs with limited complementarity

Eunsun Jung, Youngmo Seong, Bohyun Jeon, Hoseok Song, Young Soo Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Among the four Argonaute family members in mammals, only AGO2 protein retains endonuclease activity and facilitates cleavage of target RNAs base-pairing with highly complementary guide RNAs. Despite the deeply conserved catalytic activity, only a small number of targets have been reported to extensively base pair with cognate miRNAs to be cleaved by AGO2. Here, we analyzed AGO2-bound RNAs by CrossLinking ImmunoPrecipitation (CLIP) of genetically modified cells that express epitope-tagged AGO2 from the native genomic locus. We found that HMGA2 mRNA is cleaved by AGO2 loaded with let-7 and miR-21. In contrast to the generally accepted notion, the base-pairing from the seed region to the cleavage site, rather than perfect or near perfect complementarity, was required for cleavage of the target mRNA in cells. Non-templated addition of nucleotides at the 3′ end of the cleaved RNA was observed, further supporting the AGO2-mediated cleavage. Based on the observation that the limited complementarity is the minimum requirement for cleavage, we found that AGO2-mediated cleavage of targets is more common than previously thought. Our result may explain the vital role of endonuclease activity in controlling miRNA-mediated gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1158
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation of Korea [ NRF-2011-0024962 and NRF-2009-0068994 to Y.-S.K.; 2014R1A1A2058610 to H.S.], and Ministry of Health and Welfare [ HI15C2835 to H.S.].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • AGO2 catalytic activity
  • CrossLinking ImmunoPrecipitation
  • HMGA2
  • MicroRNA
  • RNA cleavage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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