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Nat Commun. 2012 Feb 21;3:688. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1681.

miR-196b directly targets both HOXA9/MEIS1 oncogenes and FAS tumour suppressor in MLL-rearranged leukaemia.

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Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


HOXA9 and MEIS1 have essential oncogenic roles in mixed lineage leukaemia (MLL)-rearranged leukaemia. Here we show that they are direct targets of miRNA-196b, a microRNA (miRNA) located adjacent to and co-expressed with HOXA9, in MLL-rearranged leukaemic cells. Forced expression of miR-196b significantly delays MLL-fusion-mediated leukemogenesis in primary bone marrow transplantation through suppressing Hoxa9/Meis1 expression. However, ectopic expression of miR-196b results in more aggressive leukaemic phenotypes and causes much faster leukemogenesis in secondary transplantation than MLL fusion alone, likely through the further repression of Fas expression, a proapoptotic gene downregulated in MLL-rearranged leukaemia. Overexpression of FAS significantly inhibits leukemogenesis and reverses miR-196b-mediated phenotypes. Targeting Hoxa9/Meis1 and Fas by miR-196b is probably also important for normal haematopoiesis. Thus, our results uncover a previously unappreciated miRNA-regulation mechanism by which a single miRNA may target both oncogenes and tumour suppressors, simultaneously, or, sequentially, in tumourigenesis and normal development per cell differentiation, indicating that miRNA regulation is much more complex than previously thought.

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