The miR-200 family determines the epithelial phenotype of cancer cells by targeting the E-cadherin repressors ZEB1 and ZEB2.

The Ben May Department for Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Genes & Development (Impact Factor: 12.64). 05/2008; 22(7):894-907. DOI: 10.1101/gad.1640608
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cancer progression has similarities with the process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) found during embryonic development, during which cells down-regulate E-cadherin and up-regulate Vimentin expression. By evaluating the expression of 207 microRNAs (miRNAs) in the 60 cell lines of the drug screening panel maintained by the Nation Cancer Institute, we identified the miR-200 miRNA family as an extraordinary marker for cells that express E-cadherin but lack expression of Vimentin. These findings were extended to primary ovarian cancer specimens. miR-200 was found to directly target the mRNA of the E-cadherin transcriptional repressors ZEB1 (TCF8/deltaEF1) and ZEB2 (SMAD-interacting protein 1 [SIP1]/ZFXH1B). Ectopic expression of miR-200 caused up-regulation of E-cadherin in cancer cell lines and reduced their motility. Conversely, inhibition of miR-200 reduced E-cadherin expression, increased expression of Vimentin, and induced EMT. Our data identify miR-200 as a powerful marker and determining factor of the epithelial phenotype of cancer cells.

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