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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 May;40(10):4615-25. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1278. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

MicroRNA-26a/b and their host genes cooperate to inhibit the G1/S transition by activating the pRb protein.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Liver Disease of Guangdong Province, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, PR China.


The functional association between intronic miRNAs and their host genes is still largely unknown. We found that three gene loci, which produced miR-26a and miR-26b, were embedded within introns of genes coding for the proteins of carboxy-terminal domain RNA polymerase II polypeptide A small phosphatase (CTDSP) family, including CTDSPL, CTDSP2 and CTDSP1. We conducted serum starvation-stimulation assays in primary fibroblasts and two-thirds partial-hepatectomies in mice, which revealed that miR-26a/b and CTDSP1/2/L were expressed concomitantly during the cell cycle process. Specifically, they were increased in quiescent cells and decreased during cell proliferation. Furthermore, both miR-26 and CTDSP family members were frequently downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues. Gain- and loss-of-function studies showed that miR-26a/b and CTDSP1/2/L synergistically decreased the phosphorylated form of pRb (ppRb), and blocked G1/S-phase progression. Further investigation disclosed that miR-26a/b directly suppressed the expression of CDK6 and cyclin E1, which resulted in reduced phosphorylation of pRb. Moreover, c-Myc, which is often upregulated in cancer cells, diminished the expression of both miR-26 and CTDSP family members, enhanced the ppRb level and promoted the G1/S-phase transition. Our findings highlight the functional association of miR-26a/b and their host genes and provide new insight into the regulatory network of the G1/S-phase transition.

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