Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) are critical to synovial aggression and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in RA is largely unknown. Here, we identified a lncRNA, LERFS (lowly expressed in rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocytes), that negatively regulates the migration, invasion, and proliferation of FLSs through interaction with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein Q (hnRNP Q). Under healthy conditions, by binding to the mRNA of RhoA, Rac1, and CDC42 ' the small GTPase proteins that control the motility and proliferation of FLSs ' the LERFS-hnRNP Q complex decreased the stability or translation of target mRNAs and downregulated their protein levels. But in RA FLSs, decreased LERFS levels induced a reduction of the LERFS-hnRNP Q complex, which reduced the binding of hnRNP Q to target mRNA and therefore increased the stability or translation of target mRNA. These findings suggest that a decrease in synovial LERFS may contribute to synovial aggression and joint destruction in RA and that targeting the lncRNA LERFS may have therapeutic potential in patients with RA.
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