MicroRNAs (miRNAs) control gene expression by binding to their target mRNAs for degradation and/or translation repression and are implicated in many aspects of cellular physiology. Our previous study shows that miR-29b acts as a biological repressor of intestinal mucosal growth, but its exact downstream targets remain largely unknown. In the present study, we found that mRNAs, encoding Wnt co-receptor LRP6 (low-density lipoprotein-receptor-related protein 6) and RNA-binding protein (RBP) HuR, are novel targets of miR-29b in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and that expression of LRP6 and HuR is tightly regulated by miR-29b at the post-transcriptional level. miR-29b interacted with both Lrp6 and HuR mRNAs via their 3′-UTRs and inhibited LRP6 and HuR expression by destabilizing Lrp6 and HuR mRNAs and repressing their translation. Studies using heterologous reporter constructs revealed a greater repressive effect of miR-29b through a single binding site in the Lrp6 or HuR 3′-UTR, whereas deletion mutation of this site prevented miR-29b-induced repression of LRP6 and HuR expression. Repression of HuR by miR-29b in turn also contributed to miR-29b-induced LRP6 inhibition, since ectopic overexpression of HuR in cells overexpressing miR-29b restored LRP6 expression to near normal levels. Taken together, our results suggest that miR-29b inhibits expression of LRP6 and HuR post-transcriptionally, thus playing a role in the regulation of IEC proliferation and intestinal epithelial homoeostasis.

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