Research Papers:

Genome-wide miRNA profiling and pivotal roles of miRs 125a-5p and 17-92 cluster in human neutrophil maturation and differentiation of acute myeloid leukemia cells

El-Habib Dakir and Faustino Mollinedo

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:5313-5331. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27123

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El-Habib Dakir1,2 and Faustino Mollinedo1,3

1 Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, Centro de Investigación del Cáncer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)-Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

2 Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

3 Laboratory of Cell Death and Cancer Therapy, Department of Molecular Biomedicine, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

Correspondence to:

Faustino Mollinedo,email: [email protected]
El-Habib Dakir,email: [email protected],
[email protected]

Keywords: miRNA; miR-125a-5p; miR-17-92; neutrophil differentiation; human

Received: April 06, 2019     Accepted: June 29, 2019     Published: September 03, 2019


MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) are short non-coding post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression in normal physiology and disease. Acute myeloid leukemia is characterized by accumulation of malignantly transformed immature myeloid precursors, and differentiation therapy, used to overcome this differentiation blockage, has become a successful therapeutic option. The human HL-60 acute leukemia cell line serves as a cell culture model for granulocytic maturation, and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) incubation leads to its differentiation towards neutrophil-like cells, as assessed by biochemical, functional and morphological parameters. DMSO-induced HL-60 cell differentiation constitutes an excellent model to examine molecular processes that turn a proliferating immortal leukemic cell line into mature non-proliferating and apoptosis-prone neutrophil-like end cells. By performing genome-wide miRNA profiling and functional assays, we have identified a signature of 86 differentially expressed canonical miRNAs (51 upregulated; 35 downregulated) during DMSO-induced granulocytic differentiation of HL-60 cells. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to validate miRNA expression. Among these differentially expressed canonical miRNAs, we found miR-125a-5p upregulation and miR-17-92 cluster downregulation acted as major regulators of granulocytic differentiation in HL-60 cells. Enforced expression of miR-125a-5p promoted granulocytic differentiation in HL-60 cells, whereas miR-17-92 ectopic expression inhibited DMSO-induced HL-60 granulocytic differentiation. Ectopic expression of miR-125a-5p also promoted granulocytic differentiation in human acute promyelocytic leukemia NB4 cells, as well as in naïve human primary CD34+-hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells. These findings provide novel molecular insights into the identification of miRNAs regulating granulocytic differentiation of human leukemia cells and normal CD34+-hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells, and may assist in the development of novel miRNA-targeted therapies for leukemia.

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