Characterization and functional analysis of the human microRNA let-7a2 promoter in lung cancer A549 cell lines.
ABSTRACT Recent studies have revealed that microRNAs have a strong association with cancer in humans. The miRNA let-7 is highly expressed in normal lung tissue, but frequently expressed at reduced levels in lung cancers. Let-7a2 is a member of the let-7 family. So far, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of let-7a2. Our study is focused on the characterization and functional analysis of the promoter of the human miRNA let-7a2 in A549 cell lines. Firstly, 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (5' RACE) was carried out and a 2.8 kb fragment in the upstream of let-7a2 gene was then cloned into pGL3-basic vector. Sequence analysis with the MatInspector database revealed that there were putative binding sites for some important transcriptional factors in the promoter region of let-7a2, such as p53, c-Myc, Ras, CEBPα, RORA, RXR, TCF, and GR. Additionally, a series of transfection and luciferase reporter assays were carried out to test let-7a2 promoter activity. RT-PCR and transfection of let-7a target sequence-reporter plasmid were performed to detect transcription levels of the let-7a2 gene in A549 cells treated with 9-cis-RA, all-trans-RA, lithium chloride or dexamethasone. Our results showed that the recombinant pGL3-p7a2 could acts as a promoter. The promoter activity of the 2.8 kb fragment could be downregulated by transfection with CEBPα or treatment with lithium chloride and enhanced by 9-cis-RA or all-trans-RA treatment. Furthermore, the results of RT-PCR analysis and transfection of let-7a target sequence-reporter plasmid showed that 9-cis-RA and all-trans-RA both upregulated let-7a2 expression, while lithium chloride downregulated its expression. Our results suggest that 9-cis-RA, all-trans-RA,lithium chloride and CEBPα might play important regulatory roles in let-7a2 gene expression in A549 cells.