MicroRNA controls expression of oncogenes

Jun 09, 2008

A new study demonstrates that microRNAs can modulate the expression of well known tumor-specific oncogenic translocation proteins and may play a significant role in some human cancers. The research, published by Cell Press in the June issue of the journal Cancer Cell, is likely to lead to new strategies for treating some specific lymphomas and leukemias.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding pieces of RNA that can modulate the expression of specific target genes. Recent studies have suggested that increases or decreases in miRNA expression may be linked with regulation of oncogenes or tumor suppressors and are therefore likely to play an important role in human cancers.

Dr. Marcos Malumbres from the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) in Madrid, Spain and colleagues identified a miRNA-rich chromosomal region in mice that is frequently lost in T cell malignancies. This particular region encodes about 12% of all genomic miRNAs. The researchers used miRNA expression profiling to reveal that one particular miRNA, miR-203, is silenced by both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in several mouse and human blood cell malignancies, including chronic myelogenous leukemias and some acute lymphoblastic leukemias.

The researchers went on to show that transcriptional silencing of miR-203 lead to upregulation of the oncogene ABL1 and the BCR-ABL1 oncogenic fusion protein in various mouse and human hematopoietic malignancies. Further, restoration of miR-203 resulted in a subsequent reduction of ABL1 and BCR-ABL1 and in decreased proliferation of tumor cells.

"Our results suggest that miR-203 functions as a tumor suppressor and re-expression of this microRNA might have therapeutic benefits in specific hematopoietic malignancies, including some acute or chronic leukemias," concludes Dr. Malumbres. "This may be particularly beneficial for patients who are resistant to small molecule kinase inhibitors like Gleevec as resistant isoforms of ABL and BCR-ABL should contain the target site for miR-203 and are likely to respond to restored miR-203 function."

Source: Cell Press

Explore further: Is Europe putting cancer research at risk?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google eyes Chrome on Windows laptop battery drain

7 hours ago

Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows has been said to have a problem for some time but this week comes news that Google will give it the attention others think the problem quite deserves. Namely, Google is to ...

Security contest techies say they hacked Tesla Model S

9 hours ago

The good news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. The bad news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. Ma Jie, writing in Bloomberg News, reported this week that the Tesla Model S sedan was the target ...

Water problems lead to riots, deaths in South Africa

10 hours ago

Three babies who died from drinking tap water contaminated by sewage have become a tragic symbol of South Africa's struggle to cope with a flood of people into cities designed under apartheid to cater to ...

Recommended for you

Study shows epigenetic changes can drive cancer

6 hours ago

Cancer has long been thought to be primarily a genetic disease, but in recent decades scientists have come to believe that epigenetic changes – which don't change the DNA sequence but how it is 'read' – also play a role ...

Clearing cells to prevent cervical cancer

20 hours ago

A study published online in the International Journal of Cancer earlier this month describes a novel approach to preventing cervical cancer based on findings showing successful reduction in the risk of cervical cancer after ...

User comments : 0