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Multi-omics identifies circulating mirna and protein biomarkers for facioscapulohumeral dystrophy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michela GuglieriORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The development of therapeutics for muscle diseases such as facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is impeded by a lack of objective, minimally invasive biomarkers. Here we identify circulating miRNAs and proteins that are dysregulated in early-onset FSHD patients to develop blood-based molecular biomarkers. Plasma samples from clinically characterized individuals with early-onset FSHD provide a discovery group and are compared to healthy control volunteers. Low-density quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based arrays identify 19 candidate miRNAs, while mass spectrometry proteomic analysis identifies 13 candidate proteins. Bioinformatic analysis of chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-seq data shows that the FSHD-dysregulated DUX4 transcription factor binds to regulatory regions of several candidate miRNAs. This panel of miRNAs also shows ChIP signatures consistent with regulation by additional transcription factors which are up-regulated in FSHD (FOS, EGR1, MYC, and YY1). Validation studies in a separate group of patients with FSHD show consistent up-regulation of miR-100, miR-103, miR-146b, miR-29b, miR-34a, miR-454, miR-505, and miR-576. An increase in the expression of S100A8 protein, an inflammatory regulatory factor and subunit of calprotectin, is validated by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Bioinformatic analyses of proteomics and miRNA data further support a model of calprotectin and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway dysregulation in FSHD. Moving forward, this panel of miRNAs, along with S100A8 and calprotectin, merit further investigation as monitoring and pharmacodynamic biomarkers for FSHD.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heier CR, Zhang A, Nguyen NY, Tully CB, Panigrahi A, Gordish-Dressman H, Pandey SN, Guglieri M, Ryan MM, Clemens PR, Thangarajh M, Webster R, Smith EC, Connolly AM, McDonald CM, Karachunski P, Tulinius M, Harper A, Mah JK, Fiorillo AA, Chen Y-W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Personalized Medicine

Year: 2020

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Online publication date: 19/11/2020

Acceptance date: 06/11/2020

Date deposited: 25/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2075-4426

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/jpm10040236


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