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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Mar 1;54(3):2248-56. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10977.

MicroRNA-124a is epigenetically regulated and acts as a tumor suppressor by controlling multiple targets in uveal melanoma.

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School of Ophthalmology and Optometry, Eye Hospital, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.



MicroRNA-124a (miR-124a), an abundant microRNA in the central neuron system, has been linked to tumor progression. Here, we investigated the role of miR-124a in uveal melanoma development.


Expression of miR-124a in uveal melanoma cells was examined using real time RT-PCR. The effect of miR-124a on cell proliferation, migration, and invasion was analyzed using MTS assay, flow cytometry, and transwell experiments. The ability of miR-124a to repress tumor growth was tested in vivo. Target genes of miR-124a were first predicted by bioinformatics, confirmed using a luciferase assay, and their expression determined by Western blotting. DNA methylation and histone modification of miR-124a was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR and ChIP assay. Finally, epigenetic drugs were used to alter the expression of miR-124a.


miR-124a expression was downregulated in both uveal melanoma cells and clinical specimens. Transient transfection of miR-124a into uveal melanoma cells inhibited cell growth, migration, and invasion. Moreover, introduction of miR-124a suppressed in vivo growth of tumor. Potential targets of miR-124a were found to include CDK4, CDK6, cyclin D2, and EZH2. Knockdown of EZH2 by siRNA resulted in inhibition of uveal melanoma cell migration and invasion. In addition, miR-124a expression was found to be regulated via epigenetic mechanisms, with its expression restored when cells were treated with a DNA hypomethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, and a histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A.


Our results demonstrated that miR-124a could function as a potent tumor suppressor by regulation of multiple targets, and was epigenetically silenced in the development of uveal melanoma.

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