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Oncotarget. 2013 May;4(5):665-76.

MicroRNA-137 is downregulated in glioblastoma and inhibits the stemness of glioma stem cells by targeting RTVP-1.

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  • 1Everard and Mina Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.


Glioblastomas (GBM), the most common and aggressive malignant astrocytic tumors, contain a small subpopulation of cancer stem cells (GSCs) that are implicated in therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence. Here, we study the expression and function of miR-137, a putative suppressor miRNA, in GBM and GSCs. We found that the expression of miR-137 was significantly lower in GBM and GSCs compared to normal brains and neural stem cells (NSCs) and that the miR-137 promoter was hypermethylated in the GBM specimens. The expression of miR-137 was increased in differentiated NSCs and GSCs and overexpression of miR-137 promoted the neural differentiation of both cell types. Moreover, pre-miR-137 significantly decreased the self-renewal of GSCs and the stem cell markers Oct4, Nanog, Sox2 and Shh. We identified RTVP-1 as a novel target of miR-137 in GSCs; transfection of the cells with miR-137 decreased the expression of RTVP-1 and the luciferase activity of RTVP-1 3'-UTR reporter plasmid. Furthermore, overexpression of RTVP-1 plasmid lacking its 3'-UTR abrogated the inhibitory effect of miR-137 on the self-renewal of GSCs. Silencing of RTVP-1 decreased the self-renewal of GSCs and the expression of CXCR4 and overexpression of CXCR4 abrogated the inhibitory effect of RTVP-1 silencing on GSC self-renewal. These results demonstrate that miR-137 is downregulated in GBM probably due to promoter hypermethylation. miR-137 inhibits GSC self-renewal and promotes their differentiation by targeting RTVP-1 which downregulates CXCR4. Thus, miR-137 and RTVP-1 are attractive therapeutic targets for the eradication of GSCs and for the treatment of GBM.

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