Since the identification of microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in the regulation of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene, miRNAs known to down-regulate the expression of the CFTR and associated proteins have been investigated as potential therapeutic targets. Here we show that miR-101-3p, targeting the 3′-UTR sequence of the CFTR mRNA, can be selectively inhibited by a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) carrying a full complementary sequence. With respect to clinical relevance of microRNA targeting, it is expected that reduction in concentration of miRNAs (the anti-miRNA approach) could be associated with increasing amounts of target mRNAs. Consistently to this hypothesis, we report that PNA-mediated inhibition of miR-101-3p was accompanied by CFTR up-regulation. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) was performed in order to verify the effects of the anti-miR-101-3p PNA on the Calu-3 miRNome. Upon inhibition of miR-101-3p we observed a fold change (FC) expression <2 of the majority of miRNAs (403/479, 84.13%), whereas we identified a list of dysregulated miRNAs, suggesting that specific miRNA inhibition (in our case miR-101-3p) might be accompanied by alteration of expression of other miRNAs, some of them known to be involved in Cystic Fibrosis (CF), such as miR-155-5p and miR-125b-5p.
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