[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lin28 is critical for stem cell maintenance and is also associated with advanced human malignancies. Our recent genome-wide studies mark Lin28 as a master post-transcriptional regulator of a subset of messenger RNAs important for cell growth and metabolism. However, the molecular basis underpinning the selective mRNA target regulation is unclear. Here, we provide evidence that Lin28 recognizes a unique motif in multiple target mRNAs, characterized by a small but critical 'A' bulge flanked by two G:C base pairs embedded in a complex secondary structure. This motif mediates Lin28-dependent stimulation of translation. As Lin28 is also known to inhibit the biogenesis of a cohort of miRNAs including let-7, we propose that Lin28 binding to different RNA types (precursor miRNAs versus mRNAs) may facilitate recruitment of different co-factors, leading to distinct regulatory outcomes. Our findings uncover a putative yet unexpected motif that may constitute a mechanistic base for the multitude of functions regulated by Lin28 in both stem cells and cancer cells.
Nucleic Acids Research 12/2011; 40(8):3574-84. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. An emerging mechanism to control miRNA production is the addition of an oligo-uridine tail to the 3' end of the precursor miRNA. This has been demonstrated for the Let-7 family of miRNAs in embryonic cells. Additionally, nontemplated nucleotides have been found on mature miRNA species, though in most cases it is not known if nucleotide addition occurs at the precursor step or at the mature miRNA. To examine the diversity of nucleotide addition we have developed a high-throughput sequencing method specific for miRNA precursors. Here we report that nontemplated addition is a widespread phenomenon occurring in many miRNA families. As previously reported, Let-7 family members are oligo-uridylated in embryonic cells in a Lin28-dependent manner. However, we find that the fraction of uridylated precursors increases with differentiation, independent of Lin28, and is highest in adult mouse tissues, exceeding 30% of all sequence reads for some Let-7 family members. A similar fraction of sequence reads are modified for many other miRNA families. Mono-uridylation is most common, with cytidine and adenosine modification less frequent but occurring above the expected error rate for Illumina sequencing. Nucleotide addition in cell lines is associated with 3' end degradation, in contrast to adult tissues, where modification occurs predominantly on full-length precursors. This work provides an unprecedented view of the complexity of 3' modification and trimming of miRNA precursors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The miR-17~92 cluster is a potent microRNA-encoding oncogene. Here, we show that miR-17~92 synergizes with loss of Rb family members to promote retinoblastoma. We observed miR-17~92 genomic amplifications in murine retinoblastoma and high expression of miR-17~92 in human retinoblastoma. While miR-17~92 was dispensable for mouse retinal development, miR-17~92 overexpression, together with deletion of Rb and p107, led to rapid emergence of retinoblastoma with frequent metastasis to the brain. miR-17~92 oncogenic function in retinoblastoma was not mediated by a miR-19/PTEN axis toward apoptosis suppression, as found in lymphoma/leukemia models. Instead, miR-17~92 increased the proliferative capacity of Rb/p107-deficient retinal cells. We found that deletion of Rb family members led to compensatory up-regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21Cip1. miR-17~92 overexpression counteracted p21Cip1 up-regulation, promoted proliferation, and drove retinoblastoma formation. These results demonstrate that the oncogenic determinants of miR-17~92 are context-specific and provide new insights into miR-17~92 function as an RB-collaborating gene in cancer.
Genes & development 08/2011; 25(16):1734-45. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The execution of apoptosis is critical for proper development of the nervous system. However, it is equally important that neurons strictly inhibit apoptosis after development to ensure their survival throughout the lifetime of the organism. Here we show that a microRNA, miR-29b, is markedly induced with neuronal maturation and functions as a novel inhibitor of neuronal apoptosis. The prosurvival function of miR-29b is mediated by targeting genes in the proapoptotic BH3-only family. Our results identify a unique strategy evolved by maturing neurons that uses a single microRNA to inhibit the multiple, redundant BH3-only proteins that are key initiators of apoptosis.
Genes & development 01/2011; 25(2):125-30. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imatinib, a BCR-Abl inhibitor, is a successful front-line treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Despite the success of imatinib, multiple mechanisms of resistance remain a problem, including overexpression of Lyn kinase (Lyn) and Bcl-2 family antiapoptotic proteins. Profiling micro-RNA (miRNA) expression in a model of Lyn-mediated imatinib-resistant CML (MYL-R) identified approximately 30 miRNAs whose expression differed >2-fold compared with drug-sensitive MYL cells. In particular, the expression of the miR181 family (a-d) was significantly reduced (∼11- to 25-fold) in MYL-R cells. Incubation of MYL-R cells with a Lyn inhibitor (dasatinib) or nucleofection with Lyn-targeting short interfering RNA increased miR181b and miR181d expression. A similar Lyn-dependent regulation of miR181b and miR181d was observed in imatinib-resistant K562 CML cells. Sequence analysis of potential targets for miR181 regulation predicted myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1), a Bcl-2 family member whose expression is increased in MYL-R cells and drug-resistant leukemias. Inhibition of Lyn or rescue of miR181b expression reduced Mcl-1 expression in the MYL-R cells. To further investigate the mechanism of Mcl-1 repression by miR181, a luciferase reporter construct incorporating the Mcl-1 3'-untranslated region was tested. Overexpression of miR181b reduced luciferase activity, whereas these effects were ablated by the mutation of the seed region of the miR181 target site. Finally, stimulation of Lyn expression by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) treatment in HL-60 cells, a cell model of acute myelogenous leukemia, decreased miR181b expression and increased Mcl-1 expression. In summary, our results suggest that Lyn-dependent regulation of miR181 is a novel mechanism of regulating Mcl-1 expression and cell survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metastasis in breast cancer carries a disproportionately worse prognosis than localized primary disease. To identify microRNAs (miRNA) involved in metastasis, the expression of 254 miRNAs was measured across the following cell lines using microarray analysis: MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, cells that grew as a tumor in the mammary fat pad of nude mice (TMD-231), metastatic disease to the lungs (LMD-231), bone (BMD-231) and adrenal gland (ADMD-231). A brain-seeking variant of this cell line (231-BR) was used additionally in validation studies. Twenty miRNAs were upregulated and seven were downregulated in metastatic cancer cells compared with TMD-231 cells. The expression of the tumor suppressor miRNAs let-7 and miR-22 was consistently downregulated in metastatic cancer cells. These metastatic cells expressed higher levels of putative/proven miR-22 target oncogenes ERBB3, CDC25C and EVI-1. Introduction of miR-22 into cancer cells reduced the levels of ERBB3 and EVI-1 as well as phospho-AKT, an EVI-1 downstream target. The miR-22 primary transcript is located in the 5'-untranslated region of an open reading frame C17orf91, and the promoter/enhancer of C17orf91 drives miR-22 expression. We observed elevated C17orf91 expression in non-basal subtype compared with basal subtype breast cancers. In contrast, elevated expression of EVI-1 was observed in basal subtype and was associated with poor outcome in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer patients. These results suggest that metastatic cancer cells increase specific oncogenic signaling proteins through downregulation of miRNAs. Identifying such metastasis-specific oncogenic pathways may help to manipulate tumor behavior and aid in the design of more effective targeted therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: microRNAs are small regulatory RNAs that are processed from larger, genomically encoded transcripts. While the biochemical mechanism underlying microRNA processing is well understood, it was recently discovered that processing of one developmentally crucial group of microRNAs, the Let-7 family, is blocked by the protein Lin-28 in embryonic cells. This novel regulation of microRNA biogenesis may be very important for the maintenance of embryonic stem cell pluripotency as well as for the reprogramming of somatic cells to induce pluripotent stem cells. The studies leading to the discovery of the Let-7 block by Lin-28 and questions regarding the biochemical mechanism behind Lin-28-mediated microRNA silencing are discussed.
The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 08/2010; 42(8):1330-3. · 4.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) modulate a broad range of gene expression patterns during development and tissue homeostasis, and in the pathogenesis of disease. The exquisite spatio-temporal control of miRNA abundance is made possible, in part, by regulation of the miRNA biogenesis pathway. In this review, we discuss two emerging paradigms for post-transcriptional control of miRNA expression. One paradigm centers on the Microprocessor, the protein complex essential for maturation of canonical miRNAs. The second paradigm is specific to miRNA families, and requires interaction between RNA-binding proteins and cis-regulatory sequences within miRNA precursor loops.
Genes & development 06/2010; 24(11):1086-92. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an effort to understand the potential role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in mammary-gland stem or progenitor cells, miRNA microarrays were performed on subpopulations of the mouse mammary epithelial cell (MEC) line COMMA-DbetaGeo. This cell line contains a heterogeneous subpopulation of progenitors characterized by the expression of stem cell antigen 1 (Sca-1; encoded by Ly6a). Microarray analysis indicated that the Sca-1 subpopulations have distinct miRNA expression profiles. Functional studies were performed on miR-205, which was highly expressed in the Sca-1-positive (Sca-1(+)) cells. When miR-205 was overexpressed in vitro, the COMMA-DbetaGeo cells underwent several significant morphological and molecular changes. miR-205 overexpression led to an expansion of the progenitor-cell population, decreased cell size and increased cellular proliferation. In addition, the colony-forming potential of the two Sca-1 subpopulations was increased. Target prediction for miR-205 indicated that it might regulate the expression of the tumor-suppressor protein PTEN. Overexpression studies using reporter constructs confirmed that PTEN expression is regulated by miR-205. In addition to PTEN, several other putative and previously validated miR-205 targets were identified by microarray analysis, including the previously reported miR-205 targets ZEB1 and ZEB2. Additionally, in normal mouse MECs, high expression of miR-205 was observed in stem-cell-enriched cell populations isolated by FACS using established cell-surface markers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii can infect and replicate in virtually any nucleated cell in many species of warm-blooded animals; thus, it has evolved the ability to exploit well-conserved biological processes common to its diverse hosts. Here we have investigated whether Toxoplasma modulates the levels of host microRNAs (miRNAs) during infection.
Using microarray profiling and a combination of conventional molecular approaches we report that Toxoplasma specifically modulates the expression of important host microRNAs during infection. We show that both the primary transcripts for miR-17 approximately 92 and miR-106b approximately 25 and the pivotal miRNAs that are derived from miR-17 approximately 92 display increased abundance in Toxoplasma-infected primary human cells; a Toxoplasma-dependent up-regulation of the miR-17 approximately 92 promoter is at least partly responsible for this increase. The abundance of mature miR-17 family members, which are derived from these two miRNA clusters, remains unchanged in host cells infected with the closely related apicomplexan Neospora caninum; thus, the Toxoplasma-induced increase in their abundance is a highly directed process rather than a general host response to infection.
Altered levels of miR-17 approximately 92 and miR-106b approximately 25 are known to play crucial roles in mammalian cell regulation and have been implicated in numerous hyperproliferative diseases although the mechanisms driving their altered expression are unknown. Hence, in addition to the implications of these findings on the host-pathogen interaction, Toxoplasma may represent a powerful probe for understanding the normal mechanisms that regulate the levels of key host miRNAs.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(1):e8742. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) play roles in tumorigenesis and are reliable classifiers of certain cancer types and subtypes. However, the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of small cell carcinoma (SCLC), the majority of which represent the most aggressive lung tumors, has not been investigated.
In order to explore miRNA involvement in the pathogenesis of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and the potential role of miRNAs in SCLC diagnosis, we compared the miRNA expression profile of a set of SCLC cell lines to that of a set of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and normal immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) using microarray analysis.
Our results show that miRNA profiles reliably distinguish SCLC cell lines from NSCLC and HBEC cell lines. Further analysis of the miRNA expression profile of the two subtypes of lung cancer cell lines indicates that the expression levels of the majority of the miRNAs that are differentially expressed in SCLC cells relative to NSCLC cells and HBECs show a progressive trend from HBECs to NSCLC cells to SCLC cells.
The distinctive miRNA expression signature of SCLCs relative to NSCLCs and HBECs suggests that miRNA profiles have the potential to serve as a diagnostic marker of SCLC lung tumors. The progressive trend of miRNA profile changes from HBECs to NSCLCs to SCLCs suggests a possible pathological relationship between SCLCs and NSCLCs, and suggests that the increasing dysregulation of miRNA expression may play a role in lung tumor progression. The specific role of these miRNAs in lung tumor pathogenesis and differentiation need to be investigated further in future studies.
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 01/2010; 29:75. · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Micro-RNA (miR) are increasingly recognized as critical regulators of tissue-specific patterns of gene expression. CD4+ T cells lacking miR-155, for example, exhibit bias towards Th2 differentiation, indicating that the absence of individual miR could alter CD4+ T-cell differentiation. We now show that miR-155 is induced upon T-cell activation and that it promotes Th1 differentiation when over-expressed in activated CD4+ T cells. Antagonism of miR-155 leads to induction of IFN-gamma receptor alpha-chain (IFN-gammaRalpha), and a functional miR-155 target site is identified within the 3' untranslated region of IFN-gammaRalpha. These results identify IFN-gammaRalpha as a second miR-155 target in T cells and suggest that miR-155 contributes to Th1 differentiation in CD4+ T cells by inhibiting IFN-gamma signaling.
European Journal of Immunology 10/2009; 40(1):225-31. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estradiol (E2) regulates gene expression at the transcriptional level by functioning as a ligand for estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta). E2-inducible proteins c-Myc and E2Fs are required for optimal ERalpha activity and secondary estrogen responses, respectively. We show that E2 induces 21 microRNAs and represses seven microRNAs in MCF-7 breast cancer cells; these microRNAs have the potential to control 420 E2-regulated and 757 non-E2-regulated mRNAs at the post-transcriptional level. The serine/threonine kinase, AKT, alters E2-regulated expression of microRNAs. E2 induced the expression of eight Let-7 family members, miR-98 and miR-21 microRNAs; these microRNAs reduced the levels of c-Myc and E2F2 proteins. Dicer, a ribonuclease III enzyme required for microRNA processing, is also an E2-inducible gene. Several E2-regulated microRNA genes are associated with ERalpha-binding sites or located in the intragenic region of estrogen-regulated genes. We propose that the clinical course of ERalpha-positive breast cancers is dependent on the balance between E2-regulated tumor-suppressor microRNAs and oncogenic microRNAs. Additionally, our studies reveal a negative-regulatory loop controlling E2 response through microRNAs as well as differences in E2-induced transcriptome and proteome.
Nucleic Acids Research 07/2009; 37(14):4850-61. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) negatively regulates the MAP kinase (MAPK), G protein-coupled receptor kinase-2, and NF-kappaB signalling cascades. RKIP has been implicated as a metastasis suppressor for prostate cancer, but the mechanism is not known. Here, we show that RKIP inhibits invasion by metastatic breast cancer cells and represses breast tumour cell intravasation and bone metastasis in an orthotopic murine model. The mechanism involves inhibition of MAPK, leading to decreased transcription of LIN28 by Myc. Suppression of LIN28 enables enhanced let-7 processing in breast cancer cells. Elevated let-7 expression inhibits HMGA2, a chromatin remodelling protein that activates pro-invasive and pro-metastatic genes, including Snail. LIN28 depletion and let-7 expression suppress bone metastasis, and LIN28 restores bone metastasis in mice bearing RKIP-expressing breast tumour cells. These results indicate that RKIP suppresses invasion and metastasis in part through a signalling cascade involving MAPK, Myc, LIN28, let-7, and downstream let-7 targets. RKIP regulation of two pluripotent stem cell genes, Myc and LIN28, highlights the importance of RKIP as a key metastasis suppressor and potential therapeutic agent.
The EMBO Journal 02/2009; 28(4):347-58. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FUS1 is a tumor suppressor gene located on human chromosome 3p21, and expression of Fus1 protein is highly regulated at various levels, leading to lost or greatly diminished tumor suppressor function in many lung cancers. Here we show that selected microRNAs (miRNA) interact with the 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) of FUS1, leading to down-regulation of protein expression. Using computational methods, we first predicted that FUS1 is a target of three miRNAs, miR-93, miR-98, and miR-197, and then showed that exogenous overexpression of these miRNAs inhibited Fus1 protein expression. We then confirmed that the three miRNAs target the 3'UTR region of the FUS1 transcript and that individual deletion of the three miRNA target sites in the FUS1 3'UTR restores the expression level of Fus1 protein. We further found that miR-93 and miR-98 are expressed at higher levels in small-cell lung cancer cell lines (SCLC) than in non-small-cell lung cancer cell lines (NSCLC) and immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC), and that miR-197 is expressed at higher levels in both SCLCs and NSCLCs than in HBECs. Finally, we found that elevated miR-93 and miR-197 expression is correlated with reduced Fus1 expression in NSCLC tumor specimens. These results suggest that the three miRNAs are negative regulators of Fus1 expression in lung cancers.
Molecular Cancer Research 01/2009; 7(8):1234-1243. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MOTIVATION: Recent evidence shows significant involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the initiation and progression of numerous cancers; however, the role of these in tumor drug resistance remains unknown. RESULTS: By comparing global miRNA and mRNA expression patterns, we examined the role of miRNAs in resistance to the 'pure antiestrogen' fulvestrant, using fulvestrant-resistant MCF7-FR cells and their drug-sensitive parental estrogen receptor (ER)-positive MCF7 cells. We identified 14 miRNAs downregulated in MCF7-FR cells and then used both TargetScan and PITA to predict potential target genes. We found a negative correlation between expression of these miRNAs and their predicted target mRNA transcripts. In genes regulated by multiple miRNAs or having multiple miRNA-targeting sites, an even stronger negative correlation was found. Pathway analyses predicted these miRNAs to regulate specific cancer-associated signal cascades. These results suggest a significant role for miRNA-regulated gene expression in the onset of breast cancer antiestrogen resistance, and an improved understanding of this phenomenon could lead to better therapies for this often fatal condition.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian aging results from a replicative decline in the function of somatic stem cells and other self-renewing cells. Recent studies (Monzen et al., 2008; Nishino et al., 2008; Sanna et al., 2008; Weedon et al., 2008) link a chromatin-associated protein, HMGA2, to development, height, and mouse stem cell aging during late fetal development and young adulthood.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of mammalian embryonic development is the widespread induction of microRNA (miRNA) expression. Surprisingly, the transcription of many of these small, noncoding RNAs is unchanged through development; rather, a post-transcriptional regulatory event prevents accumulation of the mature miRNA species. Here, we present a biochemical framework for the regulated production of the Let-7 family of miRNAs. Embryonic cells contain a Drosha Inhibitor that prevents processing of the Let-7 primary transcript. This inhibitor specifically binds to conserved nucleotides in the loop region of the Let-7 precursor, and competitor RNAs that mimic the binding site restore Let-7 processing. We have identified the Drosha Inhibitor as the embryonic stem cell specific protein Lin-28. Lin-28 has been previously implicated in developmental regulatory pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans, and it promotes reprogramming of human somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. Our findings outline a microRNA post-transcriptional regulatory network and establish a novel role for the miRNA precursor loop in the regulated production of mature Let-7.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Appendage regeneration is defined by rapid changes in gene expression that achieve dramatic developmental effects, suggesting involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs). Here, we find dynamic regulation of many miRNAs during zebrafish fin regeneration. In particular, miR-133 levels are high in uninjured fins but low during regeneration. When regeneration was blocked by Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) receptor inhibition, high miR-133 levels were quickly restored. Experimentally increasing amounts of miR-133 attenuated fin regeneration. Conversely, miR-133 antagonism during Fgf receptor inhibition accelerated regeneration through increased proliferation within the regeneration blastema. The Mps1 kinase, an established positive regulator of blastemal proliferation, is an in vivo target of miR-133. Our findings identify miRNA depletion as a new regulatory mechanism for complex tissue regeneration.
Genes & Development 04/2008; 22(6):728-33. · 12.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common form of cardiomyopathy associated with heart failure. Here, we report that cardiac-specific knockout of Dicer, a gene encoding a RNase III endonuclease essential for microRNA (miRNA) processing, leads to rapidly progressive DCM, heart failure, and postnatal lethality. Dicer mutant mice show misexpression of cardiac contractile proteins and profound sarcomere disarray. Functional analyses indicate significantly reduced heart rates and decreased fractional shortening of Dicer mutant hearts. Consistent with the role of Dicer in animal hearts, Dicer expression was decreased in end-stage human DCM and failing hearts and, most importantly, a significant increase of Dicer expression was observed in those hearts after left ventricle assist devices were inserted to improve cardiac function. Together, our studies demonstrate essential roles for Dicer in cardiac contraction and indicate that miRNAs play critical roles in normal cardiac function and under pathological conditions.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(6):2111-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor