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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jun 27;283(26):18158-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M800186200. Epub 2008 May 2.

MicroRNA miR-199a* regulates the MET proto-oncogene and the downstream extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2).

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Gene2Drug Research Center, Bioneer Corporation, and National Genome Information Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a class of small noncoding RNAs that play important roles in a variety of biological processes including development, apoptosis, proliferation, and differentiation. Here we show that the expression of miR-199a and miR-199a* (miR-199a/a*), which are processed from the same precursor, is confined to fibroblast cells among cultured cell lines. The fibroblast-specific expression pattern correlated well with methylation patterns: gene loci on chromosome 1 and 19 were fully methylated in all examined cell lines but unmethylated in fibroblasts. Transfection of miR-199a and/or -199a* mimetics into several cancer cell lines caused prominent apoptosis with miR-199a* being more pro-apoptotic. The mechanism underlying apoptosis induced by miR-199a was caspase-dependent, whereas a caspase-independent pathway was involved in apoptosis induced by miR-199a* in A549 cells. By employing microarray and immunoblotting analyses, we identified the MET proto-oncogene as a target of miR-199a*. Studies with a luciferase reporter fused to the 3'-untranslated region of the MET gene demonstrated miR-199a*-mediated down-regulation of luciferase activity through a binding site of miR-199a*. Interestingly, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2) was also down-regulated by miR-199a*. Coordinated down-regulation of both MET and its downstream effector ERK2 by miR-199a* may be effective in inhibiting not only cell proliferation but also motility and invasive capabilities of tumor cells.

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