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Cancer Res. 2007 Nov 15;67(22):11001-11.

The oncogenic microRNA-27a targets genes that regulate specificity protein transcription factors and the G2-M checkpoint in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4466, USA.


There is evidence that specificity proteins (Sp), such as Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4, are overexpressed in tumors and contribute to the proliferative and angiogenic phenotype associated with cancer cells. Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 are expressed in a panel of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and ER-negative breast cancer cell lines, and we hypothesized that regulation of their expression may be due to microRNA-27a (miR-27a), which is also expressed in these cell lines and has been reported to regulate the zinc finger ZBTB10 gene, a putative Sp repressor. Transfection of ER-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with antisense miR-27a (as-miR-27a) resulted in increased expression of ZBTB10 mRNA and decreased expression of Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 at the mRNA and protein levels and also decreased activity in cells transfected with constructs containing Sp1 and Sp3 promoter inserts. In addition, these responses were accompanied by decreased expression of Sp-dependent survival and angiogenic genes, including survivin, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1). Moreover, similar results were observed in MDA-MB-231 cells transfected with ZBTB10 expression plasmid. Both as-miR-27a and ZBTB10 overexpression decreased the percentage of MDA-MB-231 cells in S phase of the cell cycle; however, ZBTB10 increased the percentage of cells in G(0)-G(1), whereas as-miR-27a increased the percentage in G(2)-M. This latter response was associated with induction of Myt-1 (another miR-27a target gene), which inhibits G(2)-M through enhanced phosphorylation and inactivation of cdc2. Thus, the oncogenic activity of miR-27a in MDA-MB-231 cells is due, in part, to suppression of ZBTB10 and Myt-1.

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