MiR-29c regulates the expression of miR-34c and miR-449a by targeting DNA methyltransferase 3a and 3b in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Man Niu, Dan Gao, Qiuyuan Wen, Pingpin Wei, Suming Pan, Cijun Shuai, Huiling Ma, Juanjuan Xiang, Zheng Li, Songqing Fan, Guiyuan Li, Shuping Peng
BMC Cancer 2016 March 15, 16: 218

BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is prevalent in South East Asia and Southern China particularly, despite the reported 5-year survival ratio is relative higher than other deadly cancers such as liver, renal, pancreas cancer, the lethality is characterized by high metastatic potential in the early stage and high recurrence rate after radiation treatment. MicroRNA-29c was found to be down-regulated in the serum as well as in the tissue of nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissue.

METHODS: In this study, we found accidentally that the transfection of pre-miR-29c or miR-29c mimics significantly increases the expression level of miR-34c and miR-449a but doesn't affect that of miR-222 using real-time quantitative PCR in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines. To explore the molecular mechanism of the regulatory role, the cells are treated with 5-Aza-2-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR) treatment and the level of miR-34c and miR-449a but not miR-222 accumulated by the treatment. DNA methyltransferase 3a, 3b were down-regulated by the 5-Aza-CdR treatment with western blot and real-time quantitative PCR.

RESULTS: We found that pre-miR-29c or miR-29c mimics significantly increases the expression level of miR-34c and miR-449a. We further found DNA methyltransferase 3a and 3b are the target gene of miR-29c. Restoration of miR-29c in NPC cells down-regulated DNA methyltransferase 3a, 3b, but not DNA methyltransferase T1.

CONCLUSIONS: The regulation of miR-29c/DNMTs/miR-34c\449a is an important molecular axis of NPC development and targeting DNMTs or restoring of miR-29c might be a promising therapy strategy for the prevention of NPC.

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