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Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 1;71(1):255-65. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1452.

Higher miRNA tolerance in immortal Li-Fraumeni fibroblasts with abrogated interferon signaling pathway.

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Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


The IFN pathway is abrogated in fibroblasts from Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) patients during spontaneous cellular immortalization, a necessary step in carcinogenesis. Microarray profiling of differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNA) revealed that most miRNAs were upregulated in IFN pathway-defective MDAH087-10 fibroblasts compared with MDAH087-N cells with relatively normal IFN signaling. Overexpression of Dicer, a critical enzyme in miRNA biogenesis, promoted cell growth and colony formation in MDAH087-10 cells. However, double-stranded miRNA produced by Dicer enhanced the expression of IFN-stimulated genes in MDAH087-N cells resulting in significant cell death and reduced cell growth. Furthermore, manipulation of the IFN pathway in immortal LFS fibroblasts through transcription factor IRF7 reversed their response to Dicer overexpression due to changed IFN pathway activity. Dicer overexpressing MDAH087-N cells contained lower levels of miRNA than vector control, and conversely much higher miRNA expression was detected in Dicer-transfected MDAH087-10 cells. Therefore, cells with a defective IFN pathway have a higher miRNA tolerance than cells with normal IFN pathway. This work indicates for the first time that the IFN pathway as mediated through the transcription factor IRF7 must be disrupted to permit miRNA upregulation to occur in early carcinogenesis. The IFN pathway appears to provide a checkpoint for miRNA level tolerance and its abrogation leads to cellular immortalization.

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