Integrated Analysis of Differentially Expressed Genes and Construction of a Competing Endogenous RNA Network in Human Huntington Neural Progenitor Cells



Background Huntington's disease (HD) is one of the most common polyglutamine disorders, leading to progressive dyskinesia, cognitive impairment, and neuropsychological problems. Besides the dysregulation of many protein-coding genes in HD, previous studies have revealed a variety of non-coding RNAs that are dysregulated in HD, including several long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). However, an integrated analysis of differentially expressed (DE) genes based on a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network is still currently lacking.

Results Here, we have systematically analyzed the gene expression profile data of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from patients with HD and controls (healthy controls and the isogenic controls of HD patient cell lines corrected using CRISPR-Cas9 approach at the HTT locus, and we identified 490 DE mRNAs and 94 DE lncRNAs, respectively. Of these, 189 mRNAs and 20 lncRNAs were applied to create a ceRNA network. To learn more about the possible functions of lncRNAs in the ceRNA regulatory network in HD, we conducted a functional analysis of Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and established a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network for mRNAs interacting with these lncRNAs. It is suggested that the function of DE lncRNAs mainly correlated with transcriptional regulation demonstrated by GO analysis. Also, KEGG enrichment analysis showed these lncRNAs were involved in tumor necrosis factor, calcium, Wnt, and NF-kappa B signaling pathways. Interestingly, the PPI network revealed that a variety of transcription factors in the ceRNA network interacted with each other, suggesting such lncRNAs may regulate transcription in HD by controlling the expression of such protein-coding genes, especially transcription factors.

Conclusions Our research provides new clues for uncovering the mechanism of lncRNAs in HD and can be used as the focus for further investigation.

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