1. Department of Ophthalmology, Xi'an Jiaotong University First Affiliated Hospital, Xi'an, China
2. Department of Medicine, Division of Genomic Medicine, and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA
3. Department of Pathology, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA
4. Department of Surgery, Xi'an Jiaotong University First Affiliated Hospital, Xi'an, China
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
Retinoblastoma (RB) is a children's ocular cancer caused by mutated retinoblastoma 1 (Rb1) gene on both alleles. Rb1 and other related genes could be regulated by microRNAs (miRNA) via complementarily pairing with their target sites. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) possesses the oncogenic potential to target several tumor suppressor genes, including PDCD4, and regulates tumor progression and metastasis. However, the mechanism of how miR-21 regulates PDCD4 is poorly understood in RB. We investigated the expression of miRNAs in RB cell lines and identified that miR-21 is one of the most deregulated miRNAs in RB. Using qRT-PCR, we verified the expression level of several miRNAs identified by independent microarray assays, and analyzed miRNA expression patterns in three RB cell lines, including Weri-Rb1, Y79 and RB355. We found that miR-19b, -21, -26a, -195 and -222 were highly expressed in all three cell lines, suggesting their potential role in RB tumorigenesis. Using the TargetScan program, we identified a list of potential target genes of these miRNAs, of which PDCD4 is one the targets of miR-21. In this study, we focused on the regulatory mechanism of miR-21 on PDCD4 in RB. We demonstrated an inverse correlation between miR-21 and PDCD4 expression in Weri-Rb1 and Y79 cells. These data suggest that miR-21 down-regulates Rb1 by targeting PDCD4 tumor suppressor. Therefore, miR-21 could serve as a therapeutic target for retinoblastoma.
Keywords: Retinoblastoma, miRNA, miR-21, PDCD4.