Platelet microparticle delivered microRNA-Let-7a promotes the angiogenic switch

Chinedu Anene, Anne M. Graham, James Boyne, Wayne Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Platelet microparticle (PMP)-induced angiogenesis plays a key role in tumour metastasis and has been proposed to contribute towards cardiovascular disease by enhancing atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability. However, the mechanisms underlying PMP induced angiogenesis are ill defined. Recent reports demonstrate that PMPs deliver micro-RNAs (miRNAs) to recipient cells, controlling gene expression. We therefore evaluated whether miRNA transfer was a key regulator of PMP-induced angiogenesis. Co-culturing PMPs with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) on extracellular matrix gel induced robust capillary like structure formation. PMP treatment altered the release of angiogenesis modulators from HUVEC, including significantly reducing production of anti-angiogenic thrombospondin-1 (THBS-1). Both functional responses were abrogated by treating PMPs with RNase, suggesting the transfer of PMP-derived RNA was a critical event. PMPs were an abundant source of miRNA Let-7a, which was transferred to HUVEC following co-incubation. Using luciferase reporter assays we have shown that Let-7a directly targets the 3'UTR of the THBS-1 mRNA. HUVEC transfection with a Let-7a anti-sense oligonucleotide reduced the ability of PMPs to inhibit THBS-1 release, and significantly decreased PMP induced in vitro angiogenesis. Antibody neutralisation of THBS-1 reversed the anti-angiogenic effect of let-7a inhibition in PMP treated HUVEC, highlighting Let-7a dependent translational repression of THBS-1 drives angiogenesis. Importantly, plasmid overexpression of Let-7a in HUVEC alone induced robust tubule formation on extracellular matrix gel. These data reveal a new role for Let-7a in promoting angiogenesis and show for the first time PMPs induced angiogenic responses occur through miRNA regulation of HUVEC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2633-2643
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number8
Early online date21 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


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