MicroRNA miR-183 functions as an oncogene by targeting the transcription factor EGR1 and promoting tumor cell migration

  • Sarver A
  • Li H
  • Subramanian S
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Abstract

The transcription factor EGR1 is a tumor suppressor gene that is downregulated in many cancer types. Clinically, loss of EGR1 translates to increased tumor transformation and subsequent patient morbidity and mortality. In synovial sarcoma, the SS18-SSX fusion protein represses EGR1 expression through a direct association with the EGR1 promoter. However, the mechanism through which EGR1 becomes downregulated in other tumor types is unclear. Here, we report that EGR1 is regulated by microRNA (miR)-183 in multiple tumor types including synovial sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), and colon cancer. Using an integrative network analysis, we identified that miR-183 is significantly overexpressed in these tumor types as well as in corresponding tumor cell lines. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that miR-183 could target EGR1 mRNA and this specific interaction was validated in vitro. miR-183 knockdown in synovial sarcoma, RMS, and colon cancer cell lines revealed deregulation of a miRNA network composed of miR-183-EGR1-PTEN in these tumors. Integrated miRNA- and mRNA-based genomic analyses indicated that miR-183 is an important contributor to cell migration in these tumor types and this result was functionally validated to be occurring via an EGR1-based mechanism. In conclusion, our findings have significant implications in the mechanisms underlying EGR1 regulation in cancers. miR-183 has a potential oncogenic role through the regulation of 2 tumor suppressor genes, EGR1 and PTEN, and the deregulation of this fundamental miRNA regulatory network may be central to many tumor types.

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Authors

  • Aaron L. Sarver

  • Hua Li

  • Subbaya Subramanian

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