Research Papers:

miR-342 overexpression results in a synthetic lethal phenotype in BRCA1-mutant HCC1937 breast cancer cells

Elisabetta Crippa _, Marco Folini, Marzia Pennati, Nadia Zaffaroni, Marco A. Pierotti and Manuela Gariboldi

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:18594-18604. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7617

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Elisabetta Crippa1,2, Marco Folini1, Marzia Pennati1, Nadia Zaffaroni1, Marco A. Pierotti2, Manuela Gariboldi1,2

1Department of Experimental Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy

2Molecular Genetics of Cancer, Fondazione Istituto FIRC di Oncologia Molecolare, Milan, Italy

Correspondence to:

Manuela Gariboldi, e-mail: manuela.gariboldi@istitutotumori.mi.it

Keywords: miR-342, BIRC6, Apollon/BRUCE, BRCA1-mutant, triple-negative breast cancer

Received: September 21, 2015     Accepted: February 11, 2016     Published: February 23, 2016


Expression of miR-342 has been strongly correlated with estrogen receptor (ER) status in breast cancer, where it is highest in ER-positive and lowest in triple-negative tumors. We investigated the effects of miR-342 transfection in the triple-negative breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and HCC1937, the latter carrying a germ-line BRCA1 mutation. Reconstitution of miR-342 led to caspase-dependent induction of apoptosis only in HCC1937 cells, while overexpression of wild-type BRCA1 in HCC1937 cells counteracted miR-342-mediated induction of apoptosis, suggesting that miR-342 overexpression and the lack of functional BRCA1 result in a synthetic lethal phenotype. Moreover, siRNA-mediated depletion of BRCA1 in MDA-MB-231 cells expressing the wild-type protein led to apoptosis upon transfection with miR-342. Using an in silico approach and a luciferase reporter system, we identified and functionally validated the Baculoviral IAP repeat-containing 6 gene (BIRC6), which encodes the anti-apoptotic factor Apollon/BRUCE, as a target of miR-342. In our model, BIRC6 likely acts as a determinant of the miRNA-dependent induction of apoptosis in BRCA1-mutant HCC1937 cells. Together, our findings suggest a tumor-suppressive function of miR-342 that could be exploited in the treatment of a subset of BRCA1-mutant hereditary breast cancers.

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