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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jan 20;287(4):2608-17. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.285718. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

miR-125b and miR-155 contribute to BCL2 repression and proliferation in response to CD40 ligand (CD154) in human leukemic B-cells.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester, Leicester LE19HN, United Kingdom.


Developmental stage-specific regulation of BCL2 occurs during B-cell maturation and has a role in normal immunity. CD40 signaling promotes proliferation and rescues B-cells from apoptosis, partly through induction of BCL2L1 and BCL2A1 and repression of BCL2. We previously showed that a stromal cell/CD40 ligand (CD154) culture system reproduced this switch in survival protein expression in primary human leukemic B-cells and we employed this model system to investigate BCL2 repression. BCL2 was post-transcriptionally regulated and the repressed BCL2 mRNA was associated with non-polysomal, but dense fractions on sucrose density gradients. Microarrays identified a set of miRNA that were induced by culture conditions and potentially able to bind to the BCL2 3'-UTR. Luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that miR-125b and miR-155 repressed BCL2 mRNA but while stromal cell contact alone was sufficient to induce strongly miR-125b this did not cause BCL2 repression. miR-155, which is the most abundant miRNA under basal conditions, specifically required CD154 for further induction above a threshold to exert its full repressive effects. Anti-miR-125b and anti-miR-155 prevented CD154-mediated repression of BCL2 and reduced CD154-mediated proliferation in the MEC1 B-cell line. We suggest that miR-155 and miR-125b, which are induced by CD154 and stromal cell signals, contribute to regulating proliferation and that BCL2 is one of their target mRNAs.

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