PloS one

MiR-24 tumor suppressor activity is regulated independent of p53 and through a target site polymorphism.

PMID 20041160


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are predicted to regulate approximately 30% of all human genes; however, only a few miRNAs have been assigned their targets and specific functions. Here we demonstrate that miR-24, a ubiquitously expressed miRNA, has an anti-proliferative effect independent of p53 function. Cell lines with differential p53 status were used as a model to study the effects of miR-24 on cell proliferation, cell cycle control, gene regulation and cellular transformation. Overexpression of miR-24 in six different cell lines, independent of p53 function, inhibited cell proliferation and resulted in G2/S cell cycle arrest. MiR-24 over expression in cells with wt-p53 upregulated TP53 and p21 protein; however, in p53-null cells miR-24 still induced cell cycle arrest without the involvement of p21. We show that miR-24 regulates p53-independent cellular proliferation by regulating an S-phase enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) a target of the chemotherapeutic drug methotrexate (MTX). Of interest, we found that a miR-24 target site polymorphism in DHFR 3' UTR that results in loss of miR-24-function and high DHFR levels in the cell imparts a growth advantage to immortalized cells and induces neoplastic transformation. Of clinical significance, we found that miR-24 is deregulated in human colorectal cancer tumors and a subset of tumors has reduced levels of miR-24. A novel function for miR-24 as a p53-independent cell cycle inhibitory miRNA is proposed.

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