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A novel miR-375-HOXB3-CDCA3/DNMT3B regulatory circuitry contributes to leukemogenesis in acute myeloid leukemia
Bi Laixi
Zhou Bin
Li Haiying
He Licai
Wang Chunjing
Wang Zhonggai
Zhu Liqing
Chen Mengqian
Gao Shenmeng
BMC Cancer, 2018, 18(1): 182.
Background: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of hematopoietic malignancies due to sophisticated genetic mutations and epigenetic dysregulation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs, are important regulators of gene expression in all biological processes, including leukemogenesis. Recently, miR-375 has been reported to be a suppressive miRNA in multiple types of cancers, but its underlying anti-leukemia activity in AML is largely unknown.
Methods: Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to measure the expression of miR-375 and HOXB3 in leukemic cells and normal controls. Targets of miR-375 were confirmed by western blot and luciferase assay. Phenotypic effects of miR-375 overexpression and HOXB3 knockdown were assessed using viability (trypan blue exclusion assay), colony formation/replating, as well as tumor xenograft assays in vivo.
Results: The expression of miR-375 was substantially decreased in leukemic cell lines and primary AML blasts compared with normal controls, because DNA hypermethylation of precursor-miR-375 (pre-miR-375) promoter was discovered in leukemic cells but not in normal controls. Lower expression of miR-375 predicted poor outcome in AML patients. Furthermore, forced expression of miR-375 not only decreased proliferation and colony formation in leukemic cells but also reduced xenograft tumor size and prolonged the survival time in a leukemia xenograft mouse model. Mechanistically, overexpression of miR-375 reduced HOXB3 expression and repressed the activity of a luciferase reporter through binding 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTR) of HOXB3 mRNA. Overexpression of HOXB3 partially blocked miR-375-induced arrest of proliferation and reduction of colony number, suggesting that HOXB3 plays an important role in miR-375-induced anti-leukemia activity. Knockdown of HOXB3 by short hairpin RNAs reduced the expression of cell division cycle associated 3 (CDCA3), which decreased cell proliferation. Furthermore, HOXB3 induced DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) expression to bind in the pre-miR-375 promoter and enhanced DNA hypermethylation of pre-miR-375, leading to the lower expression of miR-375.
Conclusions: Collectively, we have identified a miR-375-HOXB3-CDCA3/DNMT3B regulatory
miR-375; HOXB3; DNMT3B; DNA hypermethylation; AML
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