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Regulation of SMAD Signaling Pathway by miRNAs Associated with Myocardial Fibrosis: In silico Analysis of Target Gene Networks

Maria Pisklova1,2,a*, German Osmak1,2, and Olga Favorova1,2

1Chazov National Medical Research Center of Cardiology, 121552 Moscow, Russia

2Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, 117997 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received June 3, 2022; Revised June 7, 2022; Accepted June 7, 2022
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a hereditary heart disease caused by mutations in the sarcomere genes, which is accompanied by myocardial fibrosis leading to progressive heart failure and arrhythmias. Recent studies suggest that the HCM development involves dysregulation of gene expression. Among the molecules involved in this process are microRNAs (miRNAs), which are short non-coding RNAs. Typically, one miRNA regulates several target genes post-transcriptionally, hence, it might be difficult to determine the role of a particular miRNA in the disease pathogenesis. In this study, using the PubMed database, we selected 15 miRNAs whose expression is associated with myocardial fibrosis, one of the critical pathological processes in HCM. We then used an earlier developed algorithm to search in silico for the signaling pathways regulated by these miRNAs and found that ten of them participate in the regulation of the TGF-β/SMAD signaling pathway. At the same time, among the SMAD signaling pathway genes, the target of the most identified miRNAs was the MYC gene, which is involved in the development of fibrosis in some tissues. In our earlier work, we found that the TGF-β/SMAD pathway is also regulated by a set of other miRNAs associated with the myocardial hypertrophy in HCM. The fact that two sets of miRNAs identified in two independent bioinformatic studies are involved in the regulation of the same signaling pathway indicates that the SMAD signaling cascade is indeed a key element in the regulation of pathological processes in HCM. The obtained data might contribute to understanding pathological processes underlying HCM development.
KEY WORDS: fibrosis, miRNA, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, HCM, in silico analysis, gene interaction network, TGF-β/SMAD signaling pathway

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922080144