JOURNAL ARTICLE

The miR-17/92 polycistron is up-regulated in sonic hedgehog-driven medulloblastomas and induced by N-myc in sonic hedgehog-treated cerebellar neural precursors

Paul A Northcott, Africa Fernandez-L, John P Hagan, David W Ellison, Wesia Grajkowska, Yancey Gillespie, Richard Grundy, Timothy Van Meter, James T Rutka, Carlo M Croce, Anna Marie Kenney, Michael D Taylor
Cancer Research 2009 April 15, 69 (8): 3249-55
19351822
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, and mechanisms underlying its development are poorly understood. We identified recurrent amplification of the miR-17/92 polycistron proto-oncogene in 6% of pediatric medulloblastomas by high-resolution single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping arrays and subsequent interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on a human medulloblastoma tissue microarray. Profiling the expression of 427 mature microRNAs (miRNA) in a series of 90 primary human medulloblastomas revealed that components of the miR-17/92 polycistron are the most highly up-regulated miRNAs in medulloblastoma. Expression of miR-17/92 was highest in the subgroup of medulloblastomas associated with activation of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway compared with other subgroups of medulloblastoma. Medulloblastomas in which miR-17/92 was up-regulated also had elevated levels of MYC/MYCN expression. Consistent with its regulation by Shh, we observed that Shh treatment of primary cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNP), proposed cells of origin for the Shh-associated medulloblastomas, resulted in increased miR-17/92 expression. In CGNPs, the Shh effector N-myc, but not Gli1, induced miR-17/92 expression. Ectopic miR-17/92 expression in CGNPs synergized with exogenous Shh to increase proliferation and also enabled them to proliferate in the absence of Shh. We conclude that miR-17/92 is a positive effector of Shh-mediated proliferation and that aberrant expression/amplification of this miR confers a growth advantage to medulloblastomas.

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