American Society of Nephrology, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 8(26), p. 1816-1825
Chromogranin A (CHGA) is coreleased with catecholamines from secretory vesicles in adrenal medulla and sympathetic axons. Genetic variation in the CHGA 3'-region has been associated with autonomic control of circulation, hypertension, and hypertensive nephropathy, and the CHGA 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) variant C+87T (rs7610) displayed peak associations with these traits in humans. Here, we explored the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations. C+87T occurred in a microRNA-107 (miR-107) motif (match: T>C), and CHGA mRNA expression varied inversely with miR-107 abundance. In cells transfected with chimeric luciferase/CHGA 3'-UTR reporters encoding either the T allele or the C allele, changes in miR-107 expression levels had much greater effects on expression of the T allele. Cotransfection experiments with hsa-miR-107 oligonucleotides and eukaryotic CHGA plasmids produced similar results. Notably, an in vitro CHGA transcription/translation experiment revealed that changes in hsa-miR-107 expression altered expression of the T allele variant only. Mice with targeted ablation of Chga exhibited greater eGFR. Using BAC transgenesis, we created a mouse model with a humanized CHGA locus (T/T genotype at C+87T), in which treatment with a hsa-miR-107 inhibitor yielded prolonged falls in SBP/DBP compared with wild-type mice. We conclude that the CHGA 3'-UTR C+87T disrupts an miR-107 motif, with differential effects on CHGA expression, and that a cis:trans (mRNA:miR) interaction regulates the association of CHGA with BP and hypertensive nephropathy. These results indicate new strategies for probing autonomic circulatory control and ultimately, susceptibility to hypertensive renal sequelae.