Overexpression and knockout of miR-126 both promote leukemogenesis

Zejuan Li, Ping Chen, Rui Su, Yuanyuan Li, Chao Hu, Yungui Wang, Stephen Arnovitz, Miao He, Sandeep Gurbuxani, Zhixiang Zuo, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Shenglai Li, Hengyou Weng, Hao Huang, Mary Beth Neilly, Shusheng Wang, Eric N. Olson, Richard A. Larson, Michelle M. Le Beau, Jiwang ZhangXi Jiang, Minjie Wei, Jie Jin, Paul P. Liu, Jianjun Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


It is generally assumed that gain- and loss-of-function manipulations of a functionally important gene should lead to the opposite phenotypes. We show in this study that both overexpression and knockout of microRNA (miR)-126 surprisingly result in enhanced leukemogenesis in cooperation with the t(8;21)fusion genesAML1-ETO/RUNX1-RUNX1T1 and AML1-ETO9a(a potent oncogenic isoform of AML1-ETO). In accordance with our observation that increased expression of miR-126 is associated with unfavorable survival in patients with t(8;21) acute myeloid leukemia (AML), we show that miR-126 overexpression exhibitsa stronger effect on long-term survival and progression of AML1-ETO9a-mediated leukemia stem cells/leukemia initiating cells (LSCs/LICs)inmice than does miR-126 knockout. Furthermore, miR-126 knockout substantially enhances responsiveness of leukemia cells tostandard chemotherapy. Mechanistically, miR-126 overexpression activates genes that are highly expressed in LSCs/LICs and/or primitive hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, likely through targetingERRFI1 and SPRED1, whereas miR-126 knockout activates genes that are highly expressed in committed, more differentiated hematopoietic progenitor cells, presumably through inducing FZD7 expression. Our data demonstrate that miR-126 playsacriticalbut 2-faceted roleinleukemia and there by uncover a new layer of miRNA regulation in cancer. Moreover, because miR-126 depletion can sensitize AML cells to standard chemotherapy, our data also suggest that miR-126 represents a promising therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2005-2015
Number of pages11
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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