Atropa belladonna Expresses a microRNA (aba-miRNA-9497) Highly Homologous to Homo sapiens miRNA-378 (hsa-miRNA-378); both miRNAs target the 3 '-Untranslated Region (3 '-UTR) of the mRNA Encoding the Neurologically Relevant, Zinc-Finger Transcription Factor ZNF-691

Avsar B., Zhao Y., Li W., Lukiw W. J.

CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR NEUROBIOLOGY, vol.40, no.1, pp.179-188, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10571-019-00729-w
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.179-188
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: No


Recent advances in ethnobotanical and neurological research indicate that ingested plants from our diet may not only be a source of nutrition but also a source of biologically relevant nucleic-acid-encoded genetic information. A major source of RNA-encoded information from plants has been shown to be derived from small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) such as microRNAs (miRNAs) that can transfer information horizontally between plants and humans. In human hosts, the 3 '-untranslated region (3 '-UTR) of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) is targeted by these miRNAs to effectively down-regulate expression of that mRNA target in the host CNS. In this paper, we provide evidence that the Atropa belladonna aba-miRNA-9497 (miRBase conserved ID: bdi-miRNA-9497) is highly homologous to the CNS-abundant Homo sapiens miRNA-378 (hsa-miRNA-378) and both target the zinc-finger transcription factor ZNF-691 mRNA 3 '-UTR to down-regulate ZNF-691 mRNA abundance. We speculate that the potent neurotoxic actions of the multiple tropane alkaloids of Atropa belladonna may be supplemented by the neuroregulatory actions of aba-miRNA-9497 on ZNF-691, and this may be followed by the modulation in the expression of ZNF-691-sensitive genes. This is the first example of a human brain-enriched transcription factor, ZNF-691, targeted and down-regulated by a naturally occurring plant microRNA, with potential to modulate gene expression in the human CNS and thus contribute to the neurotoxicological-and-psychoactive properties of the Atropa belladonna species of the deadly nightshade Solanaceae family.