Research Papers:

miR-146a suppresses 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (FLAP) expression and Leukotriene B4 production in lung cancer cells

Joseph R. Iacona, Nicholas J. Monteleone and Carol S. Lutz _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:26751-26769. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25482

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Joseph R. Iacona1, Nicholas J. Monteleone1 and Carol S. Lutz1

1Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, New Jersey Medical School and the School of Graduate Studies, Health Sciences Campus, Newark, NJ, USA

Correspondence to:

Carol S. Lutz, email: [email protected]

Keywords: lipoxygenase pathway; arachidonic acid; microRNA; gene expression; promoter methylation

Received: March 27, 2018    Accepted: May 08, 2018    Published: June 01, 2018


Arachidonic acid (AA) can be converted into prostaglandins (PGs) or leukotrienes (LTs) by the enzymatic actions of cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2) or 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), respectively. PGs and LTs are lipid signaling molecules that have been implicated in various diseases, including multiple cancers. 5-LO and its activating protein (FLAP) work together in the first two conversion steps of LT production. Previous work has suggested a role for LTs in cancer development and progression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules that negatively regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally, and have previously been shown to be involved in cancer. Here, we show that high FLAP expression is associated with lower overall survival in lung adenocarcinoma patients, and FLAP protein is overexpressed in lung cancer cells compared to normal lung cells. Our lab has previously shown that miR-146a regulates COX-2 in lung cancer cells, and this miRNA is also predicted to target FLAP. Transient and stable transfections of miR-146a repress endogenous FLAP expression in lung cancer cells, and reporter assays show this regulation occurs through a direct interaction between the FLAP 3′ untranslated region (UTR) and miR-146a. Restoration of miR-146a also results in decreased cancer cell Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) production. Additionally, methylation analysis indicates the miR-146a promoter is hypermethylated in lung cancer cell lines. Taken together, this study and previous work from our lab suggest miR-146a is an endogenous dual inhibitor of AA metabolism in lung cancer cells by regulating both PG and LT production through direct targeting of the COX-2 and FLAP 3’ UTRs.

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