Cancer investigation

MicroRNA-138 Regulates DNA Damage Response in Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells by Directly Targeting H2AX.

PMID 25699650


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for a significant proportion of all lung cancer cases. Even so, the underlying mechanism governing SCLC development remains poorly understood and SCLC related cancer death stands high despite decades of intensive investigation. We noted that both miR-138 and H2AX have been implicated in development of various malignancies. Also, there is a recent report showing the role of miR-138 in mediating DNA damage response by targeting H2AX. In light of these data, we sought to characterize the role of miR-138 for SCLC cell growth and cell-cycle progression by regulating H2AX expression. Results showed that miR-138 is significantly down-regulated in SCLC tumor tissues as well as in three SCLC cell lines. After successfully engineering miR-138 overexpression in one of the SCLC cell lines, NCI-H2081, we observed a remarkable reduction of cell growth and a significant inhibition on cell-cycle progression. Moreover, we were able to show that miR-138 potently inhibits H2AX expression, which suggests that H2AX may serve as a downstream executor for miR-138. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that engineered H2AX knockdown achieves a similar effect as observed for miR-138 overexpression in terms of SCLC growth and cell cycle regulation. We also showed that H2AX overexpression largely abolished miR-138-mediated SCLC cancer cell growth and cell-cycle progression inhibition, which strongly suggests, at least in vitro, that miR-138 potently regulates SCLC development by targeting H2AX. In addition, we found lower miR-138 expression confers SCLC cells with greater DNA damage repair capacity. Finally, we were able to show miR-138 overexpression inhibits DNA damage repair in SCLC cells while miR-138 knockdown further facilitates DNA damage repair in these cells after IR. To date, there has been no study showing the role of miR-138/H2AX machinery in SCLC development. Our results may shed a light to development of new lines of SCLC diagnosis and treatment approaches.