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Genes Dev. 2007 May 1;21(9):1025-30. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

The tumor suppressor microRNA let-7 represses the HMGA2 oncogene.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


HMGA2, a high-mobility group protein, is oncogenic in a variety of tumors, including benign mesenchymal tumors and lung cancers. Knockdown of Dicer in HeLa cells revealed that the HMGA2 gene is transcriptionally active, but its mRNA is destabilized in the cytoplasm through the microRNA (miRNA) pathway. HMGA2 was derepressed upon inhibition of let-7 in cells with high levels of the miRNA. Ectopic expression of let-7 reduced HMGA2 and cell proliferation in a lung cancer cell. The effect of let-7 on HMGA2 was dependent on multiple target sites in the 3' untranslated region (UTR), and the growth-suppressive effect of let-7 on lung cancer cells was rescued by overexpression of the HMGA2 ORF without a 3'UTR. Our results provide a novel example of suppression of an oncogene by a tumor-suppressive miRNA and suggest that some tumors activate the oncogene through chromosomal translocations that eliminate the oncogene's 3'UTR with the let-7 target sites.

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