MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding RNAs that regulate target gene mRNAs, are known to contribute to pathogenesis of cancers. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a group of heterogeneous hematopoietic malignancies with various chromosomal and/or molecular abnormalities. AML with chromosomal translocations involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene are usually associated with poor survival. In the present study, through a large-scale, genome-wide miRNA expression assay, we show that microRNA-9 (miR-9) is the most specifically up-regulated miRNA in MLL-rearranged AML compared with both normal control and non-MLL-rearranged AML. We demonstrate that miR-9 is a direct target of MLL fusion proteins and can be significantly up-regulated in expression by the latter in human and mouse hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Depletion of endogenous miR-9 expression by an appropriate antagomiR can significantly inhibit cell growth/viability and promote apoptosis in human MLL-rearranged AML cells, and the opposite is true when expression of miR-9 is forced. Blocking endogenous miR-9 function by anti-miRNA sponge can significantly inhibit, whereas forced expression of miR-9 can significantly promote, MLL fusion-induced immortalization/transformation of normal mouse bone marrow progenitor cells in vitro. Furthermore, forced expression of miR-9 can significantly promote MLL fusion-mediated leukemogenesis in vivo. In addition, a group of putative target genes of miR-9 exhibited a significant inverse correlation of expression with miR-9 in a series of leukemia sample sets, suggesting that they are potential targets of miR-9 in MLL-rearranged AML. Collectively, our data demonstrate that miR-9 is a critical oncomiR in MLL-rearranged AML and can serve as a potential therapeutic target to treat this dismal disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jul 9 2013|
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