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miR-125b-1 is repressed by histone modifications in breast cancer cell lines

Cisneros-Soberanis F et al.


Downregulation of miR-125b-1 is associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. In this work we investigated the effect of histone modifications on the regulation of this gene promoter.


We evaluated the enrichment of two histone modifications involved in gene repression, H3K9me3 and H3K27me3, on the miR-125b-1 promoter in two breast cancer cell lines, MCF7 (luminal A subtype) and MDA-MB-231 (triple-negative subtype), compared to the non-transformed breast cell line MCF10A. H3K27me3 and H3K9me3 were enriched in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, respectively. Next, we used an EZH2 inhibitor to examine the reactivation of miR-125b-1 in MCF7 cells and evaluated the transcriptional levels of pri-miR-125b-1 and mature miR-125b by qRT-PCR. pri-miRNA and mature miRNA transcripts were both increased after treatment of MCF7 cells with the EZH2 inhibitor, whereas no effect on miR-125b-1 expression levels was observed in MDA-MB-231 and MCF10A cells. We subsequently evaluated the effect of miR-125b-1 reactivation on the expression and protein levels of BAK1, a target of miR-125b. We observed 60 and 70 % decreases in the expression and protein levels of BAK1, respectively, compared to cells that were not treated with the EZH2 inhibitor. We over-expressed KDM4B/JMJD2B to reactivate this miRNA, resulting in a three-fold increase in miR-125b expression compared with the same cell line without KDM4B/JMJD2B over-expression.


The miR-125b-1 is repressed by different epigenetic mechanisms depending on the breast cancer subtype and that miR-125b-1 reactivation specifically eliminates the effect of repressive histone modifications on the expression of an pro-apoptotic target.

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July, 2016


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