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Oncogene. 2012 Feb 16;31(7):918-28. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.278. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

The proto-oncogene Pim-1 is a target of miR-33a.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


The constitutively active serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 is upregulated in different cancer types, mainly based on the action of several interleukines and growth factors at the transcriptional level. So far, a regulation of oncogenic Pim-1 by microRNAs (miRNAs) has not been reported. Here, we newly establish miR-33a as a miRNA with potential tumor suppressor activity, acting through inhibition of Pim-1. A screen for miRNA expression in K562 lymphoma, LS174T colon carcinoma and several other cell lines revealed generally low endogenous miR-33a levels relative to other miRNAs. Transfection of K562 and LS174T cells with a miR-33a mimic reduced Pim-1 levels substantially. In contrast, the cell-cycle regulator cyclin-dependent kinase 6 predicted to be a conserved miR-33a target, was not downregulated by the miR-33a mimic. Seed mutagenesis of the Pim-1 3'-untranslated region in a luciferase reporter construct and in a Pim-1 cDNA expressed in Pim-1-deficient Skov-3 cells demonstrated specific and direct downregulation of Pim-1 by the miR-33a mimic. The persistence of this effect was comparable to that of a small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Pim-1, resulting in decelerated cell proliferation. In conclusion, we demonstrate the potential of miR-33a to act as a tumor suppressor miRNA, which suggests miR-33a replacement therapy through delivery of miR mimics as a novel therapeutic strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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