PloS one

The Effect of MicroRNA-124 Overexpression on Anti-Tumor Drug Sensitivity.

PMID 26115122


MicroRNAs play critical roles in regulating various physiological processes, including growth and development. Previous studies have shown that microRNA-124 (miR-124) participates not only in regulation of early neurogenesis but also in suppression of tumorigenesis. In the present study, we found that overexpression of miR-124 was associated with reduced DNA repair capacity in cultured cancer cells and increased sensitivity of cells to DNA-damaging anti-tumor drugs, specifically those that cause the formation of DNA strand-breaks (SBs). We then examined which DNA repair-related genes, particularly the genes of SB repair, were regulated by miR-124. Two SB repair-related genes, encoding ATM interactor (ATMIN) and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1), were strongly affected by miR-124 overexpression, by binding of miR-124 to the 3¢-untranslated region of their mRNAs. As a result, the capacity of cells to repair DNA SBs, such as those resulting from homologous recombination, was significantly reduced upon miR-124 overexpression. A particularly important therapeutic implication of this finding is that overexpression of miR-124 enhanced cell sensitivity to multiple DNA-damaging agents via ATMIN- and PARP1-mediated mechanisms. The translational relevance of this role of miR-124 in anti-tumor drug sensitivity is suggested by the finding that increased miR-124 expression correlates with better breast cancer prognosis, specifically in patients receiving chemotherapy. These findings suggest that miR-124 could potentially be used as a therapeutic agent to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy with DNA-damaging agents.