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Blood. 2009 Jan 15;113(3):505-16. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-01-136218. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

The c-myb proto-oncogene and microRNA-15a comprise an active autoregulatory feedback loop in human hematopoietic cells.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The c-myb proto-oncogene encodes an obligate hematopoietic cell transcription factor important for lineage commitment, proliferation, and differentiation. Given its critical functions, c-Myb regulatory factors are of great interest but remain incompletely defined. Herein we show that c-Myb expression is subject to posttranscriptional regulation by microRNA (miRNA)-15a. Using a luciferase reporter assay, we found that miR-15a directly binds the 3'-UTR of c-myb mRNA. By transfecting K562 myeloid leukemia cells with a miR-15a mimic, functionality of binding was shown. The mimic decreased c-Myb expression, and blocked the cells in the G(1) phase of cell cycle. Exogenous expression of c-myb mRNA lacking the 3'-UTR partially rescued the miR-15a induced cell-cycle block. Of interest, the miR-15a promoter contained several potential c-Myb protein binding sites. Occupancy of one canonical c-Myb binding site was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis and shown to be required for miR-15a expression in K562 cells. Finally, in studies using normal human CD34(+) cells, we showed that c-Myb and miR-15a expression were inversely correlated in cells undergoing erythroid differentiation, and that overexpression of miR-15a blocked both erythroid and myeloid colony formation in vitro. In aggregate, these findings suggest the presence of a c-Myb-miR-15a autoregulatory feedback loop of potential importance in human hematopoiesis.

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