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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056334. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

MicroRNAs distinguish cytogenetic subgroups in pediatric AML and contribute to complex regulatory networks in AML-relevant pathways.

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Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Medical Faculty, Clinic for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology, Düsseldorf, Germany.



The role of microRNAs (miRNAs), important post-transcriptional regulators, in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is just emerging and has been mainly studied in adults. First studies in children investigate single selected miRNAs, however, a comprehensive overview of miRNA expression and function in children and young adults is missing so far.


We here globally identified differentially expressed miRNAs between AML subtypes in a survey of 102 children and adolescent. Pediatric samples with core-binding factor AML and promyelocytic leukemia could be distinguished from each other and from MLL-rearranged AML subtypes by differentially expressed miRNAs including miR-126, -146a, -181a/b, -100, and miR-125b. Subsequently, we established a newly devised immunoprecipitation assay followed by rapid microarray detection for the isolation of Argonaute proteins, the hallmark of miRNA targeting complexes, from cell line models resembling core-binding factor and promyelocytic leukemia. Applying this method, we were able to identify Ago-associated miRNAs and their targeted mRNAs.


miRNAs as well as their mRNA-targets showed binding preferences for the different Argonaute proteins in a cell context-dependent manner. Bioinformatically-derived pathway analysis suggested a concerted action of all four Argonaute complexes in the regulation of AML-relevant pathways. For the first time, to our knowledge, a complete AML data set resulting from carefully devised biochemical isolation experiments and analysis of Ago-associated miRNAs and their target-mRNAs is now available.

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