The co-chaperones Fkbp4/5 control Argonaute2 expression and facilitate RISC assembly.

Paradigms and Technologies


Argonaute2 (Ago2) protein and associated microRNAs (miRNAs) or small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) form the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) for target messenger RNA cleavage and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Although Ago2 is essential for RISC activity, the mechanism of RISC assembly is not well understood, and factors controlling Ago2 protein expression are largely unknown. A role for the Hsc70/Hsp90 chaperone complex in loading small RNA duplexes into the RISC has been demonstrated in cell extracts, and unloaded Ago2 is unstable and degraded by the lysosome in mammalian cells. Here we identify the co-chaperones Fkbp4 and Fkbp5 as Ago2-associated proteins in mouse embryonic stem cells. Pharmacological inhibition of this interaction using FK506 or siRNA-mediated Fkbp4/5 depletion leads to decreased Ago2 protein levels. We find FK506 treatment inhibits, whereas Fkbp4/5 overexpression promotes, miRNA-mediated stabilization of Ago2 expression. Simultaneous treatment with a lysosome inhibitor revealed the accumulation of unloaded Ago2 complexes in FK506-treated cells. We find that, consistent with unloaded miRNAs being unstable, FK506 treatment also affects miRNA abundance, particularly nascent miRNAs. Our results support a role for Fkbp4/5 in RISC assembly.


Martinez, Natalia; Chang, Hao-Ming; Borrajo, Jacob de Riba; Gregory, Richard I;


  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins/ biosynthesis
  • Cell Line
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins/ metabolism
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins/ metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes/ metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs/ genetics
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger/ genetics
  • RNA, Messenger/ metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex/ metabolism
  • Tacrolimus/ metabolism
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins/ genetics
  • Tacrolimus Binding Proteins/ metabolism

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