A combined gene expression and functional study reveals the crosstalk between N-Myc and differentiation-inducing microRNAs in neuroblastoma cells.
ABSTRACT: MYCN amplification is the most common genetic alteration in neuroblastoma and plays a critical role in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis. MYCN regulates neuroblastoma cell differentiation, which is one of the mechanisms underlying its oncogenic function. We recently identified a group of differentiation-inducing microRNAs. Given the demonstrated inter-regulation between MYCN and microRNAs, we speculated that MYCN and the differentiation-inducing microRNAs might form an interaction network to control the differentiation of neuroblastoma cells. In this study, we found that eight of the thirteen differentiation-inducing microRNAs, miR-506-3p, miR-124-3p, miR-449a, miR-34a-5p, miR-449b-5p, miR-103a-3p, miR-2110 and miR-34b-5p, inhibit N-Myc expression by either directly targeting the MYCN 3'UTR or through indirect regulations. Further investigation showed that both MYCN-dependent and MYCN-independent pathways play roles in mediating the differentiation-inducing function of miR-506-3p and miR-449a, two microRNAs that dramatically down-regulate MYCN expression. On the other hand, we found that N-Myc inhibits the expression of multiple differentiation-inducing microRNAs, suggesting that these miRNAs play a role in mediating the function of MYCN. In examining the published dataset collected from clinical neuroblastoma specimens, we found that expressions of two miRNAs, miR-137 and miR-2110, were significantly anti-correlated with MYCN mRNA levels, suggesting their interactions with MYCN play a clinically-relevant role in maintaining the MYCN and miRNA expression levels in neuroblastoma. Our findings altogether suggest that MYCN and differentiation-inducing miRNAs form an interaction network that play an important role in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis through regulating cell differentiation.
Project description:MYCN, an oncogenic transcription factor of the Myc family, is a major driver of neuroblastoma tumorigenesis. Due to the difficulty in drugging MYCN directly, revealing the molecules in MYCN regulatory networks will help to identify effective therapeutic targets for neuroblastoma therapy. Here we perform ChIP-sequencing and small RNA-sequencing of neuroblastoma cells to determine the MYCN-binding sites and MYCN-associated microRNAs, and integrate various types of genomic data to construct MYCN regulatory networks. The overall analysis indicated that MYCN-regulated genes were involved in a wide range of biological processes and could be used as signatures to identify poor-prognosis MYCN-non-amplified patients. Analysis of the MYCN binding sites showed that MYCN principally served as an activator. Using a computational approach, we identified 32 MYCN co-regulators, and some of these findings are supported by previous studies. Moreover, we investigated the interplay between MYCN transcriptional and microRNA post-transcriptional regulations and identified several microRNAs, such as miR-124-3p and miR-93-5p, which may significantly contribute to neuroblastoma pathogenesis. We also found MYCN and its regulated microRNAs acted together to repress the tumor suppressor genes. This work provides a comprehensive view of MYCN regulations for exploring therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma, as well as insights into the mechanism of neuroblastoma tumorigenesis.
Project description:Neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood, arises from neural crest cell precursors that fail to differentiate. Inducing cell differentiation is an important therapeutic strategy for neuroblastoma. We developed a direct functional high-content screen to identify differentiation-inducing microRNAs, in order to develop microRNA-based differentiation therapy for neuroblastoma. We discovered novel microRNAs, and more strikingly, three microRNA seed families that induce neuroblastoma cell differentiation. In addition, we showed that microRNA seed families were overrepresented in the identified group of fourteen differentiation-inducing microRNAs, suggesting that microRNA seed families are functionally more important in neuroblastoma differentiation than microRNAs with unique sequences. We further investigated the differentiation-inducing function of the microRNA-506-3p/microRNA-124-3p seed family, which was the most potent inducer of differentiation. We showed that the differentiation-inducing function of microRNA-506-3p/microRNA-124-3p is mediated, at least partially, by down-regulating expression of their targets CDK4 and STAT3. We further showed that expression of miR-506-3p, but not miR-124-3p, is dramatically upregulated in differentiated neuroblastoma cells, suggesting the important role of endogenous miR-506-3p in differentiation and tumorigenesis. Overall, our functional screen on microRNAs provided the first comprehensive analysis on the involvements of microRNA species in neuroblastoma cell differentiation and identified novel differentiation-inducing microRNAs. Further investigations are certainly warranted to fully characterize the function of the identified microRNAs in order to eventually benefit neuroblastoma therapy.
Project description:microRNA-449a (miR-449a) has been identified to function as a tumor suppressor in several types of cancers. However, the role of miR-449a in neuroblastoma has not been intensively investigated. We recently found that the overexpression of miR-449a significantly induces neuroblastoma cell differentiation, suggesting its potential tumor suppressor function in neuroblastoma. In this study, we further investigated the mechanisms underlying the tumor suppressive function of miR-449a in neuroblastoma. We observed that miR-449a inhibits neuroblastoma cell survival and growth through 2 mechanisms--inducing cell differentiation and cell cycle arrest. Our comprehensive investigations on the dissection of the target genes of miR-449a revealed that 3 novel targets- MFAP4, PKP4 and TSEN15 -play important roles in mediating its differentiation-inducing function. In addition, we further found that its function in inducing cell cycle arrest involves down-regulating its direct targets CDK6 and LEF1. To determine the clinical significance of the miR-449a-mediated tumor suppressive mechanism, we examined the correlation between the expression of these 5 target genes in neuroblastoma tumor specimens and the survival of neuroblastoma patients. Remarkably, we noted that high tumor expression levels of all the 3 miR-449a target genes involved in regulating cell differentiation, but not the target genes involved in regulating cell cycle, are significantly correlated with poor survival of neuroblastoma patients. These results suggest the critical role of the differentiation-inducing function of miR-449a in determining neuroblastoma progression. Overall, our study provides the first comprehensive characterization of the tumor-suppressive function of miR-449a in neuroblastoma, and reveals the potential clinical significance of the miR-449a-mediated tumor suppressive pathway in neuroblastoma prognosis.
Project description:microRNA-2110 (miR-2110) was previously identified as inducing neurite outgrowth in a neuroblastoma cell lines BE(2)-C, suggesting its differentiation-inducing and oncosuppressive function in neuroblastoma. In this study, we demonstrated that synthetic miR-2110 mimic had a generic effect on reducing cell survival in neuroblastoma cell lines with distinct genetic backgrounds, although the induction of cell differentiation traits varied between cell lines. In investigating the mechanisms underlying such functions of miR-2110, we identified that among its predicted target genes down-regulated by miR-2110, knockdown of Tsukushi (TSKU) expression showed the most potent effect in inducing cell differentiation and reducing cell survival, suggesting that TSKU protein plays a key role in mediating the functions of miR-2110. In investigating the clinical relevance of miR-2110 and TSKU expression in neuroblastoma patients, we found that low tumor miR-2110 levels were significantly correlated with high tumor TSKU mRNA levels, and that both low miR-2110 and high TSKU mRNA levels were significantly correlated with poor patient survival. These findings altogether support the oncosuppressive function of miR-2110 and suggest an important role for miR-2110 and its target TSKU in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis and in determining patient prognosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The oncogene MYCN is critical for tumorigenesis of several types of cancers including neuroblastoma. We previously reported that miR-506-3p repressed MYCN expression in neuroblastoma cells. However, the mechanism underlying such regulation was undetermined since there is no miR-506-3p target site in MYCN 3'UTR. METHODS:By a systematic investigation combining microarray, informatics and luciferase reporter assay, we identified that the transcriptional factor pleiomorphic adenoma gene-like 2 (PLAGL2) is a direct target of miR-506-3p that mediates its regulation on MYCN expression. Using CHIP-PCR and luciferase reporter assay, we validated the transcriptional regulation of MYCN by PLAGL2 and we further demonstrated the transcriptional regulation of PLAGL2 by MYCN. We examined the function of PLAGL2 in regulating neuroblastoma cell fate by cell viability assay, colony formation and Western blotting of differentiation markers. We examined the effect of retinoic acid, the differentiation agent used in neuroblastoma therapy, on miR-506-3p, PLAGL2 and MYCN expressions by quantitative PCR and Western blots. We investigated the clinical relevance of PLAGL2 expression by examining the correlation of tumor PLAGL2 mRNA levels with MYCN mRNA expression and patient survival using public neuroblastoma patient datasets. RESULTS:We found that miR-506-3p directly down-regulated PLAGL2 expression, and we validated a PLAGL2 binding site in the MYCN promoter region responsible for promoting MYCN transcription, thereby establishing a mechanism through which miR-506-3p regulates MYCN expression. Conversely, we discovered that MYCN regulated PLAGL2 transcription through five N-Myc-binding E-boxes in the PLAGL2 promoter region. We further confirmed the reciprocal regulation between endogenous PLAGL2 and MYCN in multiple neuroblastoma cell lines. Moreover, we found that PLAGL2 knockdown induced neuroblastoma cell differentiation and reduced cell proliferation, and combined knockdown of PLAGL2 and MYCN showed a synergistic effect. More strikingly, we found that high tumor PLAGL2 mRNA levels were significantly correlated with high MYCN mRNA levels and poor patient survival in neuroblastoma patients. Furthermore, we found that retinoic acid increased expression of miR-506-3p and repressed expression of MYCN and PLAGL2. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings altogether suggest that the interplay network formed by PLAGL2, MYCN and miR-506-3p is an important mechanism in regulating neuroblastoma cell fate, determining neuroblastoma prognosis, and mediating the therapeutic function of retinoic acid.
Project description:Restoration of the antitumor activity of p53 could offer a promising approach for the treatment of neuroblastoma. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important mediators of p53 activity, but their role in the p53 response has not yet been comprehensively addressed in neuroblastoma. Therefore, we set out to characterize alterations in miRNA expression that are induced by p53 activation in neuroblastoma cells. Genome-wide miRNA expression analysis showed that miR-34a-5p, miR-182-5p, miR-203a, miR-222-3p, and miR-432-5p are upregulated following nutlin-3 treatment in a p53 dependent manner. The function of miR-182-5p, miR-203a, miR-222-3p, and miR-432-5p was analyzed by ectopic overexpression of miRNA mimics. We observed that these p53-regulated miRNAs inhibit the proliferation of neuroblastoma cells to varying degrees, with the most profound growth inhibition recorded for miR-182-5p. Overexpression of miR-182-5p promoted apoptosis in some neuroblastoma cell lines and induced neuronal differentiation of NGP cells. Using Chromatin Immunoprecipitation-qPCR (ChIP-qPCR), we did not observe direct binding of p53 to MIR182, MIR203, MIR222, and MIR432 in neuroblastoma cells. Taken together, our findings yield new insights in the network of p53-regulated miRNAs in neuroblastoma.
Project description:MicroRNAs are small molecules which regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and aberrant expression of several miRNAs is associated with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer arising from precursor cells of the sympathetic nervous system. Amplification of the MYCN transcription factor characterizes the most clinically aggressive subtype of this disease, and although alteration of p53 signaling is not commonly found in primary tumors, deregulation of proteins involved in this pathway frequently arise in recurrent disease after pharmacological treatment. TH-MYCN is a well-characterized transgenic model of MYCN-driven neuroblastoma which recapitulates many clinicopathologic features of the human disease. Here, we evaluate the dysregulation of miRNAs in tumors from TH-MYCN mice that are either wild-type (TH-MYCN) or deficient (TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM)) for the p53 tumor suppressor gene.We analyzed the expression of 591 miRNAs in control (adrenal) and neuroblastoma tumor tissues derived from either TH-MYCN or TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM) mice, respectively wild-type or deficient in p53. Comparing miRNA expression in tumor and control samples, we identified 159 differentially expressed miRNAs. Using data previously obtained from human neuroblastoma samples, we performed a comparison of miRNA expression between murine and human tumors to assess the concordance between murine and human expression data. Notably, the miR-17-5p-92 oncogenic polycistronic cluster, which is over-expressed in human MYCN amplified tumors, was over-expressed in mouse tumors. Moreover, analyzing miRNAs expression in a mouse model (TH-MYCN/p53ER(TAM)) possessing a transgenic p53 allele that drives the expression of an inactive protein, we identified miR-125b-3p and miR-676 as directly or indirectly regulated by the level of functional p53.Our study represents the first miRNA profiling of an important mouse model of neuroblastoma. Similarities and differences in miRNAs expression between human and murine neuroblastoma were identified, providing important insight into the efficacy of this mouse model for assessing miRNA involvement in neuroblastoma and their potential effectiveness as therapeutic targets.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Serum biomarkers for diagnosis and risk stratification of childhood solid tumors would improve the accuracy/timeliness of diagnosis and reduce the need for invasive biopsies. We hypothesized that differential expression and/or release of microRNAs (miRNAs) by such tumors may be detected as altered serum miRNA profiles. METHODS:We undertook global quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) miRNA profiling (n = 741) on RNA from 53 serum samples, representing 33 diagnostic cases of common childhood cancers plus 20 controls. Technical confirmation was performed in a subset of 21 cases, plus four independent samples. RESULTS:We incorporated robust quality control steps for RNA extraction, qRT-PCR efficiency and hemolysis quantification. We evaluated multiple methods to normalize global profiling data and identified the 'global mean' approach as optimal. We generated a panel of six miRNAs that were most stable in pediatric serum samples and therefore most suitable for normalization of targeted miRNA qRT-PCR data. Tumor-specific serum miRNA profiles were identified for each tumor type and selected miRNAs underwent confirmatory testing. We identified a panel of miRNAs (miR-124-3p/miR-9-3p/miR-218-5p/miR-490-5p/miR-1538) of potential importance in the clinical management of neuroblastoma, as they were consistently highly overexpressed in MYCN-amplified high-risk cases (MYCN-NB). We also derived candidate miRNA panels for noninvasive differential diagnosis of a liver mass (hepatoblastoma vs. combined MYCN-NB/NB), an abdominal mass (Wilms tumor vs. combined MYCN-NB/NB), and sarcoma subtypes. CONCLUSIONS:This study describes a pipeline for robust diagnostic serum miRNA profiling in childhood solid tumors, and has identified candidate miRNA profiles for prospective testing. IMPACT:We propose a new noninvasive method with the potential to diagnose childhood solid tumors.
Project description:LIN28B has been identified as an oncogene in various tumor entities, including neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that originates from neural crest-derived cells, and is characterized by amplification of the MYCN oncogene. Recently, elevated LIN28B expression levels were shown to contribute to neuroblastoma tumorigenesis via let-7 dependent de-repression of MYCN. However, additional insight in the regulation of LIN28B in neuroblastoma is lacking. Therefore, we have performed a comprehensive analysis of the regulation of LIN28B in neuroblastoma, with a specific focus on the contribution of miRNAs. We show that MYCN regulates LIN28B expression in neuroblastoma tumors via two distinct parallel mechanisms. First, through an unbiased LIN28B-3'UTR reporter screen, we found that miR-26a-5p and miR-26b-5p regulate LIN28B expression. Next, we demonstrated that MYCN indirectly affects the expression of miR-26a-5p, and hence regulates LIN28B, therefore establishing an MYCN-miR-26a-5p-LIN28B regulatory axis. Second, we provide evidence that MYCN regulates LIN28B expression via interaction with the LIN28B promoter, establishing a direct MYCN-LIN28B regulatory axis. We believe that these findings mark LIN28B as an important effector of the MYCN oncogenic phenotype and underline the importance of MYCN-regulated miRNAs in establishing the MYCN-driven oncogenic process.
Project description:It has been reported that oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) may be used to treat contusive spinal cord injury (SCC), and may alter microRNA (miRNA/miR) expression following SCC in rats. However, the association between miRNA expression and the treatment of rats with SCC with OPC transplantation remain unclear. The present study transplanted OPCs into the spinal cord of rats with SCC and subsequently used the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) score to assess the functional recovery and pain scores. An miRNA assay was performed to detect differentially expressed miRNAs in the spinal cord of SCC rats transplanted with OPCs, compared with SCC rats transplanted with medium. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to verify significantly altered miRNA expression levels. The results demonstrated that OPC transplantation was able to improve motor recovery and relieve mechanical allodynia in rats with SCC. In addition, through a miRNA assay, 45 differentially expressed miRNAs (40 upregulated miRNAs and 5 downregulated miRNAs) were detected in the spinal cord of rats in the OPC group compared with in the Medium group. Differentially expressed miRNAs were identified according to the following criteria: Fold change >2 and P<0.05. Furthermore, quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to verify the most highly upregulated (miR?375?3p and miR?1?3p) and downregulated (miR?363?3p, miR?449a?5p and miR?3074) spinal cord miRNAs that were identified in the miRNA assay. In addition, a bioinformatics analysis of these miRNAs indicated that miR?375 and miR?1 may act primarily to inhibit cell proliferation and apoptosis via transcriptional and translational regulation, whereas miR?363, miR?449a and miR?3074 may act primarily to inhibit cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation through transcriptional regulation. These results suggested that OPC transplantation may promote functional recovery of rats with SCC, which may be associated with the expression of various miRNAs in the spinal cord, including miR?375?3p, miR?1?3p, miR?363?3p, miR?449a?5p and miR?3074.