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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 3;287(6):4148-56. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.307405. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

MicroRNA-30a sensitizes tumor cells to cis-platinum via suppressing beclin 1-mediated autophagy.

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Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for microRNA Biology and Biotechnology, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing 210093, China.


Autophagy is activated in cancer cells during chemotherapy and often contributes to tumor chemotherapy resistance. In this study, we characterized the role of microRNA-30a (miR-30a) in the coordination of cancer cell apoptosis and autophagy, which determines the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy. First, the autophagy activity in cancer cells increased after cis-dichloro-diamine platinum (cis-DDP) or Taxol treatment, as indicated by the enhanced expression of beclin 1, a key regulator of autophagy, and increased number of LC3-positive autophagosomes. Second, miRNA screening using a TaqMan probe-based quantitative RT-PCR assay identified that miR-30a, a miRNA that targets beclin 1, was significantly reduced in tumor cells by cis-DDP treatment. Forced expression of miR-30a significantly reduced beclin 1 and the autophagy activity of tumor cells induced by cis-DDP. Third, the blockade of tumor cell autophagy activity by miR-30a expression or 3-methyladenine significantly increased tumor cell apoptosis induced by cis-DDP treatment. Finally, an in vivo tumor implantation mouse model clearly showed that elevation of miR-30a in implanted tumor cells by administration of the recombinant lentivirus expressing miR-30a strongly enhanced cis-DDP-induced apoptosis of tumor cells. In conclusion, our results demonstrate for the first time that miR-30a can sensitize tumor cells to cis-DDP via reducing beclin 1-mediated autophagy and that increasing miR-30a level in tumor cells represents a novel approach to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy during cancer treatment.

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