Gene Summary

Gene:DGCR8; DGCR8, microprocessor complex subunit
Aliases: Gy1, pasha, DGCRK6, C22orf12
Summary:This gene encodes a subunit of the microprocessor complex which mediates the biogenesis of microRNAs from the primary microRNA transcript. The encoded protein is a double-stranded RNA binding protein that functions as the non-catalytic subunit of the microprocessor complex. This protein is required for binding the double-stranded RNA substrate and facilitates cleavage of the RNA by the ribonuclease III protein, Drosha. Alternate splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Jun 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:microprocessor complex subunit DGCR8
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: DGCR8 (cancer-related)

Li R, Pu X, Chang JY, et al.
MiRNA-Related Genetic Variations Associated with Radiotherapy-Induced Toxicities in Patients with Locally Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150467 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Severe radiation-induced toxicities limit treatment efficacy and compromise outcomes of lung cancer. We aimed to identify microRNA-related genetic variations as biomarkers for the prediction of radiotherapy-induced acute toxicities. We genotyped 233 SNPs (161 in microRNA binding site and 72 in processing gene) and analyzed their associations with pneumonitis and esophagitis in 167 stage III NSCLC patients received definitive radiation therapy. Sixteen and 11 SNPs were associated with esophagitis and pneumonitis, respectively. After multiple comparison correction, RPS6KB2:rs10274, SMO:rs1061280, SMO:rs1061285 remained significantly associated with esophagitis, while processing gene DGCR8:rs720014, DGCR8:rs3757, DGCR8:rs1633445 remained significantly associated with pneumonitis. Patients with the AA genotype of RPS6KB2:rs10274 had an 81% reduced risk of developing esophagitis (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.07-0.51, p = 0.001, q = 0.06). Patients with the AG+GG genotype of SMO:rs1061280 had an 81% reduced risk of developing esophagitis (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.07-0.53, p = 0.001, q = 0.06). Patients with the GG+GA genotype of DGCR8:rs720014 had a 3.54-fold increased risk of pneumonitis (OR: 3.54, 95% CI: 1.65-7.61, p <0.05, q <0.1). Significantly cumulative effects of the top SNPs were observed for both toxicities (P-trend <0.001). Using bioinformatics tools, we found that the genotype of rs10274 was associated with altered expression of the RPS6KB2 gene. Gene-based analysis showed DGCR8 (p = 0.010) and GEMIN4 (p = 0.039) were the top genes associated with the risk of developing pneumonitis. Our results provide strong evidence that microRNA-related genetic variations contribute to the development of radiotherapy-induced acute esophagitis and pneumonitis and could thus serve as biomarkers to help accurately predict radiotherapy-induced toxicity in NSCLC patients.

Deng C, Dai R, Li X, Liu F
Genetic variation frequencies in Wilms' tumor: A meta-analysis and systematic review.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(5):690-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Over the last few decades, numerous biomarkers in Wilms' tumor have been confirmed and shown variations in prevalence. Most of these studies were based on small sample sizes. We carried out a meta-analysis of the research published from 1992 to 2015 to obtain more precise and comprehensive outcomes for genetic tests. In the present study, 70 out of 5175 published reports were eligible for the meta-analysis, which was carried out using Stata 12.0 software. Pooled prevalence for gene mutations WT1, WTX, CTNNB1, TP53, MYCN, DROSHA, and DGCR8 was 0.141 (0.104, 0.178), 0.147 (0.110, 0.184), 0.140 (0.100, 0.190), 0.410 (0.214, 0.605), 0.071 (0.041, 0.100), 0.082 (0.048, 0.116), and 0.036 (0.026, 0.046), respectively. Pooled prevalence of loss of heterozygosity at 1p, 11p, 11q, 16q, and 22q was 0.109 (0.084, 0.133), 0.334 (0.295, 0.373), 0.199 (0.146, 0.252), 0.151 (0.129, 0.172), and 0.148 (0.108, 0.189), respectively. Pooled prevalence of 1q and chromosome 12 gain was 0.218 (0.161, 0.275) and 0.273 (0.195, 0.350), respectively. The limited prevalence of currently known genetic alterations in Wilms' tumors indicates that significant drivers of initiation and progression remain to be discovered. Subgroup analyses indicated that ethnicity may be one of the sources of heterogeneity. However, in meta-regression analyses, no study-level characteristics of indicators were found to be significant. In addition, the findings of our sensitivity analysis and possible publication bias remind us to interpret results with caution.

Zhang X, Gee H, Rose B, et al.
Regulation of the tumour suppressor PDCD4 by miR-499 and miR-21 in oropharyngeal cancers.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The rates of oropharyngeal cancers such as tonsil cancers are increasing. The tumour suppressor protein Programmed Cell Death Protein 4 (PDCD4) has been implicated in the development of various human cancers and small RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) can regulate its expression. However the exact regulation of PDCD4 by multiple miRNAs in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is not well understood.
RESULTS: Using two independent oropharyngeal SCC cohorts with a focus on the tonsillar region, we identified a miRNA profile differentiating SCC tissue from normal. Both miR-21 and miR-499 were highly expressed in tonsil SCC tissues displaying a loss of PDCD4. Interestingly, expression of the miRNA machinery, Dicer1, Drosha, DDX5 (Dead Box Helicase 5) and DGCR8 (DiGeorge Syndrome Critical Region Gene 8) were all elevated by greater than 2 fold in the tonsil SCC tissue. The 3'UTR of PDCD4 contains three binding-sites for miR-499 and one for miR-21. Using a wild-type and truncated 3'UTR of PDCD4, we demonstrated that the initial suppression of PDCD4 was mediated by miR-21 whilst sustained suppression was mediated by miR-499. Moreover the single miR-21 site was able to elicit the same magnitude of suppression as the three miR-499 sites.
CONCLUSION: This study describes the regulation of PDCD4 specifically in tonsil SCC by miR-499 and miR-21 and has documented the loss of PDCD4 in tonsil SCCs. These findings highlight the complex interplay between miRNAs and tumour suppressor gene regulation and suggest that PDCD4 loss may be an important step in tonsillar carcinogenesis.

Fardmanesh H, Shekari M, Movafagh A, et al.
Upregulation of the double-stranded RNA binding protein DGCR8 in invasive ductal breast carcinoma.
Gene. 2016; 581(2):146-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
High-throughput experimental studies have indicated that the miRNAome is globally downregulated in various types of malignancy, and dysregulation of miRNAs processing component(s) is one possible mechanism for this phenomenon. Despite the progression in identifying cellular functions of Digeorge Syndrome Critical Region 8 (DGCR8) in miRNAs biogenesis, the role of altered expression of DGCR8 in the pathogenesis of invasive ductal breast carcinoma (IDC) has not yet been fully investigated. The objective of the present study was to evaluate DGCR8 mRNA expression in seventy fresh invasive ductal breast carcinomas and matched adjacent non-neoplastic tissues using quantitative real-time PCR and to assess the value of clinicopathological parameters on its expression. Our findings revealed that DGCR8 mRNA expression is upregulated in more than two-thirds of the cancerous specimens (68.66%) when compared to adjacent non-neoplastic tissue. This difference is statistically significant (P<0.05). We found that DGCR8 mRNA levels were increased in the high-grade and metastatic compared with those of both low-grade and non-metastatic. We demonstrated that there is not significant correlation between DGCR8 mRNA expression levels and clinicopathological parameters. In conclusion, our study suggested that upregulation of DGCR8 may be involved in tumorigenesis and aggressiveness of IDC and may serve as future therapeutic target.

Osuch-Wojcikiewicz E, Bruzgielewicz A, Niemczyk K, et al.
Association of Polymorphic Variants of miRNA Processing Genes with Larynx Cancer Risk in a Polish Population.
Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:298378 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Laryngeal cancer (LC) is one of the most prevalent types of head and neck cancer. An increasing interest has been focused on the role of microRNA (miRNAs) in LC development. The study group consisted of 135 larynx cancer patients and 170 cancer-free individuals. Nine polymorphisms of pre-miRNA processing genes, DROSHA (rs6877842), DGCR8 (rs3757, rs417309, and rs1640299), RAN (rs14035), XPO5 (rs11077), DICER1 (rs13078 and rs3742330) and TARBP2 (rs784567), were performed by TaqMan SNP Genotyping Assay. It was found that the frequency of the GT and the TT polymorphic variants of XPO5 gene were higher in LC patients than in controls (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.000183, resp.). In turn, the frequency of the CT genotype of RAN gene was higher in controls than in LC patients (p < 0.0001). The TT and the AG of DICER1 gene (p = 0.034697 for rs13078 and p = 0.0004 for rs3742330) as well as the AG and the GG genotypes of TARBP2 gene (p = 0.008335 and p < 0.0001, resp.) were associated with higher risk of LC occurrence. Our data suggested that polymorphisms of miRNA processing genes might be useful as predictive factors for the LC development.

Zhu L, Gao J, Huang K, et al.
miR-34a screened by miRNA profiling negatively regulates Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in Aflatoxin B1 induced hepatotoxicity.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16732 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aflatoxin-B1 (AFB1), a hepatocarcinogenic mycotoxin, was demonstrated to induce the high rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) participate in the regulation of several biological processes in HCC. However, the function of miRNAs in AFB1-induced HCC has received a little attention. Here, we applied Illumina deep sequencing technology for high-throughout profiling of microRNAs in HepG2 cells lines after treatment with AFB1. Analysis of the differential expression profile of miRNAs in two libraries, we identified 9 known miRNAs and 1 novel miRNA which exhibited abnormal expression. KEGG analysis indicated that predicted target genes of differentially expressed miRNAs are involved in cancer-related pathways. Down-regulated of Drosha, DGCR8 and Dicer 1 indicated an impairment of miRNA biogenesis in response to AFB1. miR-34a was up-regulated significantly, down-regulating the expression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway by target gene β-catenin. Anti-miR-34a can significantly relieved the down-regulated β-catenin and its downstream genes, c-myc and Cyclin D1, and the S-phase arrest in cell cycle induced by AFB1 can also be relieved. These results suggested that AFB1 might down-regulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in HepG2 cells by up-regulating miR-34a, which may involve in the mechanism of liver tumorigenesis.

Rachagani S, Macha MA, Menning MS, et al.
Changes in microRNA (miRNA) expression during pancreatic cancer development and progression in a genetically engineered KrasG12D;Pdx1-Cre mouse (KC) model.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(37):40295-309 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Differential expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been demonstrated in various cancers, including pancreatic cancer (PC). Due to the lack of tissue samples from early-stages of PC, the stage-specific alteration of miRNAs during PC initiation and progression is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the global miRNA expression profile and their processing machinery during PC progression using the KrasG12D;Pdx1-Cre (KC) mouse model. At 25 weeks, the miRNA microarray analysis revealed significant downregulation of miR-150, miR-494, miR-138, miR-148a, miR-216a, and miR-217 and upregulation of miR-146b, miR-205, miR-31, miR-192, and miR-21 in KC mice compared to controls. Further, expression of miRNA biosynthetic machinery including Dicer, Exportin-5, TRKRA, and TARBP2 were downregulated, while DGCR8 and Ago2 were upregulated in KC mice. In addition, from 10 to 50 weeks of age, stage-specific expression profiling of miRNA in KC mice revealed downregulation of miR-216, miR-217, miR-100, miR-345, miR-141, miR-483-3p, miR-26b, miR-150, miR-195, Let-7b and Let-96 and upregulation of miR-21, miR-205, miR-146b, miR-34c, miR-1273, miR-223 and miR-195 compared to control mice. Interestingly, the differential expression of miRNA in mice also corroborated with the miRNA expression in human PC cell lines and tissue samples; ectopic expression of Let-7b in CD18/HPAF and Capan1 cells resulted in the downregulation of KRAS and MSST1 expression. Overall, the present study aids an understanding of miRNA expression patterns during PC pathogenesis and helps to facilitate the identification of promising and novel early diagnostic/prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.

Jha A, Panzade G, Pandey R, Shankar R
A legion of potential regulatory sRNAs exists beyond the typical microRNAs microcosm.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(18):8713-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Post ENCODE, regulatory sRNAs (rsRNAs) like miRNAs have established their status as one of the core regulatory elements of cell systems. However, large number of rsRNAs are compromised due to traditional approaches to identify miRNAs, limiting the otherwise vast world of rsRNAs mainly to hair-pin loop bred typical miRNAs. The present study has analyzed for the first time a huge volume of sequencing data from 4997 individuals and 25 cancer types to report 11 234 potentially regulatory small RNAs which appear to have deep reaching impact. The rsRNA-target interactions have been studied and validated extensively using experimental data from AGO-crosslinking, DGCR8 knockdown, CLASH, proteome and expression data. A subset of such interactions was also validated independently in the present study using multiple cell lines, by qPCR. Several of the potential rsRNAs have emerged as a critical cancer biomarker controlling some important spots of cell system. The entire study has been presented into an interactive info-analysis portal handling more than 260 GB of processed data. The possible degree of cell system regulation by sRNAs appears to be much higher than previously assumed.

Wu SL, Fu X, Huang J, et al.
Genome-wide analysis of YB-1-RNA interactions reveals a novel role of YB-1 in miRNA processing in glioblastoma multiforme.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(17):8516-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Altered miRNA expression is believed to play a crucial role in a variety of human cancers; however, the mechanisms leading to the dysregulation of miRNA expression remain elusive. In this study, we report that the human Y box-binding protein (YB-1), a major mRNA packaging protein, is a novel modulator of miRNA processing in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Using individual nucleotide-resolution crosslinking immunoprecipitation coupled to deep sequencing (iCLIP-seq), we performed the first genome-wide analysis of the in vivo YB-1-RNA interactions and found that YB-1 preferentially recognizes a UYAUC consensus motif and binds to the majority of coding gene transcripts including pre-mRNAs and mature mRNAs. Remarkably, our data show that YB-1 also binds extensively to the terminal loop region of pri-/pre-miR-29b-2 and regulates the biogenesis of miR-29b-2 by blocking the recruitment of microprocessor and Dicer to its precursors. Furthermore, we show that down-regulation of miR-29b by YB-1, which is up-regulated in GBM, is important for cell proliferation. Together, our findings reveal a novel function of YB-1 in regulating non-coding RNA expression, which has important implications in tumorigenesis.

Belair CD, Paikari A, Moltzahn F, et al.
DGCR8 is essential for tumor progression following PTEN loss in the prostate.
EMBO Rep. 2015; 16(9):1219-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In human prostate cancer, the microRNA biogenesis machinery increases with prostate cancer progression. Here, we show that deletion of the Dgcr8 gene, a critical component of this complex, inhibits tumor progression in a Pten-knockout mouse model of prostate cancer. Early stages of tumor development were unaffected, but progression to advanced prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia was severely inhibited. Dgcr8 loss blocked Pten null-induced expansion of the basal-like, but not luminal, cellular compartment. Furthermore, while late-stage Pten knockout tumors exhibit decreased senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity and increased proliferation, the simultaneous deletion of Dgcr8 blocked these changes resulting in levels similar to wild type. Sequencing of small RNAs in isolated epithelial cells uncovered numerous miRNA changes associated with PTEN loss. Consistent with a Pten-Dgcr8 association, analysis of a large cohort of human prostate tumors shows a strong correlation between Akt activation and increased Dgcr8 mRNA levels. Together, these findings uncover a critical role for microRNAs in enhancing proliferation and enabling the expansion of the basal cell compartment associated with tumor progression following Pten loss.

Zhu C, Chen C, Huang J, et al.
SUMOylation at K707 of DGCR8 controls direct function of primary microRNA.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(16):7945-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8) is essential for primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) processing in the cell nucleus. It specifically combines with Drosha, a nuclear RNase III enzyme, to form the Microprocessor complex (MC) that cleaves pri-miRNA to precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA), which is further processed to mature miRNA by Dicer, a cytoplasmic RNase III enzyme. Increasing evidences suggest that pri-/pre-miRNAs have direct functions in regulation of gene expression, however the underlying mechanism how it is fine-tuned remains unclear. Here we find that DGCR8 is modified by SUMO1 at the major site K(707), which can be promoted by its ERK-activated phosphorylation. SUMOylation of DGCR8 enhances the protein stability by preventing the degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. More importantly, SUMOylation of DGCR8 does not alter its association with Drosha, the MC activity and miRNA biogenesis, but rather influences its affinity with pri-miRNAs. This altered affinity of DGCR8 with pri-miRNAs seems to control the direct functions of pri-miRNAs in recognition and repression of the target mRNAs, which is evidently linked to the DGCR8 function in regulation of tumorigenesis and cell migration. Collectively, our data suggest a novel mechanism that SUMOylation of DGCR8 controls direct functions of pri-miRNAs in gene silencing.

Guo Y, Tian P, Yang C, et al.
Silencing the double-stranded RNA binding protein DGCR8 inhibits ovarian cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion.
Pharm Res. 2015; 32(3):769-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate the role of DiGeorge Critical Region 8 (DGCR8), a key component of miRNA biogenesis pathway in ovarian cancer.
METHODS: The expression of DGCR8 in ovarian cancer was detected by immunostaining and DGCR8 knockdown in ovarian cancer cells was achieved using lentiviral shRNA. Differential expression of miRNAs was determined using Nanostring miRNA arrays and validated by real-time RT-PCR.
RESULTS: DGCR8 was highly expressed in ovarian cancer. Knockdown of DGCR8 expression inhibits cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, as well as sensitizes cells to apoptosis induced by the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin. Cellular survival pathways including ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT were attenuated in DGCR8 knockdown cells. DGCR8 knockdown results in dysregulated miRNA gene expression. miR-27b was identified as the most highly down-regulated miRNA in DGCR8 knockdown cells and promoted cell proliferation in ovarian cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: DGCR8 functions as an oncogene in ovarian cancer, which is in part mediated by miR-27b.

González-Duarte RJ, Cázares-Ordoñez V, Ávila-Chávez E
The microRNA biogenesis machinery: regulation by steroid hormones and alterations in cancer.
Rev Invest Clin. 2014 Sep-Oct; 66(5):460-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs are a class of non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. The major proteins of the canonical microRNA biogenesis pathway in human are: Drosha, DGCR8, DDX5, DDX17, Exportin 5, Dicer and Argonaute 2. Recent studies suggest that gene expression of some canonical microRNA biogenesis components could be regulated by steroid hormones. Furthermore, various alterations in microRNA biogenesis have been associated with diseases like cancer. Due to the importance of microRNAs in cell physiology, the study of the factors that regulate or affect their biogenesis is critical.

Wegert J, Ishaque N, Vardapour R, et al.
Mutations in the SIX1/2 pathway and the DROSHA/DGCR8 miRNA microprocessor complex underlie high-risk blastemal type Wilms tumors.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(2):298-311 [PubMed] Related Publications
Blastemal histology in chemotherapy-treated pediatric Wilms tumors (nephroblastoma) is associated with adverse prognosis. To uncover the underlying tumor biology and find therapeutic leads for this subgroup, we analyzed 58 blastemal type Wilms tumors by exome and transcriptome sequencing and validated our findings in a large replication cohort. Recurrent mutations included a hotspot mutation (Q177R) in the homeo-domain of SIX1 and SIX2 in tumors with high proliferative potential (18.1% of blastemal cases); mutations in the DROSHA/DGCR8 microprocessor genes (18.2% of blastemal cases); mutations in DICER1 and DIS3L2; and alterations in IGF2, MYCN, and TP53, the latter being strongly associated with dismal outcome. DROSHA and DGCR8 mutations strongly altered miRNA expression patterns in tumors, which was functionally validated in cell lines expressing mutant DROSHA.

Walz AL, Ooms A, Gadd S, et al.
Recurrent DGCR8, DROSHA, and SIX homeodomain mutations in favorable histology Wilms tumors.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(2):286-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We report the most common single-nucleotide substitution/deletion mutations in favorable histology Wilms tumors (FHWTs) to occur within SIX1/2 (7% of 534 tumors) and microRNA processing genes (miRNAPGs) DGCR8 and DROSHA (15% of 534 tumors). Comprehensive analysis of 77 FHWTs indicates that tumors with SIX1/2 and/or miRNAPG mutations show a pre-induction metanephric mesenchyme gene expression pattern and are significantly associated with both perilobar nephrogenic rests and 11p15 imprinting aberrations. Significantly decreased expression of mature Let-7a and the miR-200 family (responsible for mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition) in miRNAPG mutant tumors is associated with an undifferentiated blastemal histology. The combination of SIX and miRNAPG mutations in the same tumor is associated with evidence of RAS activation and a higher rate of relapse and death.

Romero-Cordoba SL, Salido-Guadarrama I, Rodriguez-Dorantes M, Hidalgo-Miranda A
miRNA biogenesis: biological impact in the development of cancer.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2014; 15(11):1444-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
microRNAs (miRNAs) are non coding RNAs with different biological functions and pathological implications. Given their role as post-transcriptional gene expression regulators, they are involved in several important physiological processes like development, cell differentiation and cell signaling. miRNAs act as modulators of gene expression programs in different diseases, particularly in cancer, where they act through the repression of genes which are critical for carcinogenesis. The expression level of mature miRNAs is the result of a fine mechanism of biogenesis, carried out by different enzymatic complexes that exert their function at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In this review, we will focus our discussion on the alterations in the miRNA biogenesis machinery, and its impact on the establishment and development of cancer programs.

Hagrass HA, Pasha HF, Ali AM
Estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) promoter methylation status in tumor and serum DNA in Egyptian breast cancer patients.
Gene. 2014; 552(1):81-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Status of DNA methylation is one of the most common molecular alterations in human neoplasia. Because it is possible to detect these epigenetic alterations in the bloodstream of patients, we investigated the aberrant DNA methylation status of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in patient pretherapeutic sera and tissue.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this case control study the patient series consisted of 120 sporadic primary breast cancer cases and 100 patients with benign breast lesion. ER3, ER4, and ER5 primers were used for methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) to analyze the CpG methylation of promoter region of ERα gene. Correlation between ER3, ER4, and ER5 methylation and clinicopathological characteristics of the patients was investigated.
RESULT: The methylation status of ER3, ER4 and ER5 was 65%, 26.7% and 61.7% in tissue respectively and 57.5%, 21.7% and 55.8% in serum respectively. The concordance between tumor and serum DNA methylation was 80%, 72% and 92% for ER3, ER4 and ER5 respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the potential utility of serum DNA methylation of ERα gene promoter as a non-invasive diagnostic and/or prognostic marker in patients with breast cancer.

Zhao H, Zhang L, Guo S, et al.
Downregulated expression of Dicer1 predicts inferior survival in primary gastrointestinal diffuse large B-cell lymphoma treated with CHOP-like regimen and rituximab.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(10):206 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to detect the expression levels of Dicer1, Drosha, DGCR8, and Ago2 messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) in patients with primary gastrointestinal diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (PGI-DLBCL) and determine their associations with clinical parameters and prognostic significance. The mRNA level expressions of Dicer1, Drosha, DGCR8, and Ago2 were detected by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemical staining of CD10, BCL6, and MUM1 was performed using EnVision™ system. The clinicopathologic features and follow-up data were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier estimator. The results show that the expression of Dicer1 (P=0.001), Drosha (P=0.01), DGCR8 (P=0.02), and Ago2 (P=0.002) mRNAs in cancer tissues of patients with PGI-DLBCL was significantly lower than those in normal tissues of healthy controls. Among the expression of CD10, BCL6, and MUM1, 27.4% (17/62) of the patients belonged to the germinal center B-cell (GCB) subtype and 72.6% (45/62) belonged to the non-GCB subtype. Dicer1 expression was significantly decreased in the non-GCB subgroup (P=0.02) and in the high International Prognostic Index (3-5 score) subgroup (P=0.03). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the low-Dicer1 subgroup had a shorter overall survival (P=0.02) and shorter progression-free survival (P=0.015) than the high-Dicer1 subgroup. Multivariate analysis identified Dicer1 as an independent prognostic factor in PGI-DLBCL. In Conclusion, Dicer1, Drosha, DGCR8, and Ago2 play key roles in the pathogenesis of PGI-DLBCL. Dicer1, an independent prognostic factor for predicting shortened survival of patients with PGI-DLBCL, can be used as a biomarker to guide the prognosis.

Han C, Liu Y, Wan G, et al.
The RNA-binding protein DDX1 promotes primary microRNA maturation and inhibits ovarian tumor progression.
Cell Rep. 2014; 8(5):1447-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Posttranscriptional maturation is a critical step in microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis that determines mature miRNA levels. In addition to core components (Drosha and DGCR8 [DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8]) in the microprocessor, regulatory RNA-binding proteins may confer the specificity for recruiting and processing of individual primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs). Here, we identify DDX1 as a regulatory protein that promotes the expression of a subset of miRNAs, including five members in the microRNA-200 (miR-200) family and four miRNAs in an eight-miRNA signature of a mesenchymal ovarian cancer subtype. A majority of DDX1-dependent miRNAs are induced after DNA damage. This induction is facilitated by the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-mediated phosphorylation of DDX1. Inhibiting DDX1 promotes ovarian tumor growth and metastasis in a syngeneic mouse model. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) reveals that low DDX1 levels are associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with serous ovarian cancer. These findings suggest that DDX1 is a key modulator in miRNA maturation and ovarian tumor suppression.

Torrezan GT, Ferreira EN, Nakahata AM, et al.
Recurrent somatic mutation in DROSHA induces microRNA profile changes in Wilms tumour.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:4039 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wilms tumour (WT) is an embryonal kidney neoplasia for which very few driver genes have been identified. Here we identify DROSHA mutations in 12% of WT samples (26/222) using whole-exome sequencing and targeted sequencing of 10 microRNA (miRNA)-processing genes. A recurrent mutation (E1147K) affecting a metal-binding residue of the RNase IIIb domain is detected in 81% of the DROSHA-mutated tumours. In addition, we identify non-recurrent mutations in other genes of this pathway (DGCR8, DICER1, XPO5 and TARBP2). By assessing the miRNA expression pattern of the DROSHA-E1147K-mutated tumours and cell lines expressing this mutation, we determine that this variant leads to a predominant downregulation of a subset of miRNAs. We confirm that the downregulation occurs exclusively in mature miRNAs and not in primary miRNA transcripts, suggesting that the DROSHA E1147K mutation affects processing of primary miRNAs. Our data underscore the pivotal role of the miRNA biogenesis pathway in WT tumorigenesis, particularly the major miRNA-processing gene DROSHA.

Gutierrez-Camino A, Lopez-Lopez E, Martin-Guerrero I, et al.
Noncoding RNA-related polymorphisms in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia susceptibility.
Pediatr Res. 2014; 75(6):767-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Evidence for an inherited genetic risk for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia has been provided in several studies. Most of them focused on coding regions. However, those regions represent only 1.5% of the entire genome. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), it has been suggested that the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) is dysregulated, which suggests that they may have a role in ALL risk. Changes in miRNA function may occur through single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate whether polymorphisms in pre-miRNAs, and/or miRNA-processing genes, contribute to a predisposition for childhood ALL.
METHODS: In this study, we analyzed 118 SNPs in pre-miRNAs and miRNA-processing genes in 213 B-cell ALL patients and 387 controls.
RESULTS: We found 11 SNPs significantly associated with ALL susceptibility. These included three SNPs present in miRNA genes (miR-612, miR-499, and miR-449b) and eight SNPs present in six miRNA biogenesis pathway genes (TNRC6B, DROSHA, DGCR8, EIF2C1, CNOT1, and CNOT6). Among the 118 SNPs analyzed, rs12803915 in mir-612 and rs3746444 in mir-499 exhibited a more significant association, with a P value <0.01.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that SNP rs12803915 located in pre-mir-612, and SNP rs3746444 located in pre-mir-499, may represent novel markers of B-cell ALL susceptibility.

Hussein AG, Pasha HF, El-Shahat HM, et al.
CYP1A1 gene polymorphisms and smoking status as modifier factors for lung cancer risk.
Gene. 2014; 541(1):26-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Lung cancer remains the most prevalent malignancy worldwide. Susceptibility to lung cancer has been shown to be modulated by inheritance of polymorphic genes. Several metabolic enzymes are currently under investigation for their possible role in lung cancer susceptibility, including members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) superfamily. The aim of this work was to identify the correlation between CYP1A1 m1 and m2 polymorphisms and lung cancer risk and figure its interactions with smoking as genetic modifiers in the etiology of lung cancer in the Egyptian population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred and ten patients with lung cancer and one hundred and ten controls were enrolled in the study. CYP1A1 m1 and m2 polymorphisms were determined using polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism.
RESULTS: Subjects carrying TC and CC genotypes of CYP1A1 m1 and AG and GG genotypes of CYP1A1 m2 were significantly more likely to develop lung cancer especially squamous cell carcinoma. The proportion of lung cancer attributable to the interaction of smoking and CYP1A1 m1 and CYP1A1 m2 polymorphisms was 32% and 52% respectively.
CONCLUSION: Our results revealed that CYP1A1 m1 and m2 polymorphisms contribute to smoking related lung cancer risk in the Egyptian population.

Kwon SY, Lee JH, Kim B, et al.
Complexity in regulation of microRNA machinery components in invasive breast carcinoma.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2014; 20(3):697-705 [PubMed] Related Publications
Altered expression of microRNA (miRNA) machinery components may play an important role in breast cancer progression. The objective of the current study was to evaluate Drosha, the DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8 (DGCR8), Dicer, and Argonaute 2 (AGO2) mRNA expression in invasive breast carcinoma (IBC) and to assess the value of clinical parameters on their expression. By using quantitative real-time PCR, we examined the expression of the four miRNA machinery components in 52 breast tumor tissues which are diagnosed as invasive ductal carcinoma and adjacent non-neoplastic tissues. In the present study, decreased mRNA expression levels of major miRNA machinery components were observed in IBC. The altered mRNA expression levels of DGCR8 and AGO2 are positively correlated with to each other. This study revealed for the first time that expression alterations of DGCR8 are significantly associated with estrogen receptor and Ki-67 status in IBC. Moreover, AGO2 mRNA expression level was significantly correlated with N stage. These results provided evidences that down-regulated the four miRNA machinery components may play an important role in breast pathobiology and that DGCR8 and AGO2 might be associated with important clinical factors.

Puppin C, Durante C, Sponziello M, et al.
Overexpression of genes involved in miRNA biogenesis in medullary thyroid carcinomas with RET mutation.
Endocrine. 2014; 47(2):528-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal expression of non-coding micro RNA (miRNA) has been described in medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Expression of genes encoding factors involved in miRNA biogenesis results often deregulated in human cancer and correlates with aggressive clinical behavior. In this study, expression of four genes involved in miRNA biogenesis (DICER, DROSHA, DCGR8, and XPO5) was investigated in 54 specimens of MTC. Among them, 33 and 13 harbored RET and RAS mutations, respectively. DICER, DGCR8, and XPO5 mRNA levels were significantly overexpressed in MTC harboring RET mutations, in particular, in the presence of RET634 mutation. When MTCs with RET and RAS mutations were compared, only DGCR8 displayed a significant difference, while MTCs with RAS mutations did not show significant differences with respect to non-mutated tumors. We then attempted to correlate expression of miRNA biogenesis genes with tumor aggressiveness. According to the TNM status, MTCs were divided in two groups and compared (N0 M0 vs. N1 and/or M1): for all four genes no significant difference was detected. Cell line experiments, in which expression of a RET mutation is silenced by siRNA, suggest the existence of a causal relationship between RET mutation and overexpression of DICER, DGCR8, and XPO5 genes. These findings demonstrate that RET- but not RAS-driven tumorigenic alterations include abnormalities in the expression of some important genes involved in miRNA biogenesis that could represent new potential markers for targeted therapies in the treatment of RET-mutated MTCs aimed to restore the normal miRNA expression profile.

Hagrass HA, Pasha HF, Shaheen MA, et al.
Methylation status and protein expression of RASSF1A in breast cancer patients.
Mol Biol Rep. 2014; 41(1):57-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently genetics and epigenetics alterations have been found to be characteristic of malignancy and hence can be used as targets for detection of neoplasia. RAS association domain family protein 1A (RASSF1A) gene hypermethylation has been a subject of interest in recent researches on cancer breast patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether RASSF1A methylation status and RASSF1A protein expression are associated with the major clinico-pathological parameters. One hundred and twenty breast cancer Egyptian patients and 100-control subjects diagnosed with benign lesions of the breast were enrolled in this study. We evaluated RASSF1A methylation status in tissue and serum samples using Methyl specific PCR together with RASSF1A protein expression in tissues by immunohistochemistry. Results were studied in relation to known prognostic clinicopathological features in breast cancer. Frequency of RASSF1A methylation in tissues and serum were 70 and 63.3 % respectively and RASSF1A protein expression showed frequency of 46.7 %. There was an association between RASSF1A methylation in tissues, serum and loss of protein expression in tissues with invasive carcinoma, advanced stage breast cancer, L.N. metastasis, ER/PR and HER2 negativity. RASSF1A methylation in serum showed high degree of concordance with methylation in tissues (Kappa = 0.851, P < 0.001). RASSF1A hypermethylation in tissues and serum and its protein expression may be a valid, reliable and sensitive tool for detection and follow up of breast cancer patients.

Haselmann V, Kurz A, Bertsch U, et al.
Nuclear death receptor TRAIL-R2 inhibits maturation of let-7 and promotes proliferation of pancreatic and other tumor cells.
Gastroenterology. 2014; 146(1):278-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL-R1) (TNFRSF10A) and TRAIL-R2 (TNFRSF10B) on the plasma membrane bind ligands that activate apoptotic and other signaling pathways. Cancer cells also might have TRAIL-R2 in the cytoplasm or nucleus, although little is known about its activities in these locations. We investigated the functions of nuclear TRAIL-R2 in cancer cell lines.
METHODS: Proteins that interact with TRAIL-R2 initially were identified in pancreatic cancer cells by immunoprecipitation, mass spectrometry, and immunofluorescence analyses. Findings were validated in colon, renal, lung, and breast cancer cells. Functions of TRAIL-R2 were determined from small interfering RNA knockdown, real-time polymerase chain reaction, Drosha-activity, microRNA array, proliferation, differentiation, and immunoblot experiments. We assessed the effects of TRAIL-R2 overexpression or knockdown in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells and their ability to form tumors in mice. We also analyzed levels of TRAIL-R2 in sections of PDACs and non-neoplastic peritumoral ducts from patients.
RESULTS: TRAIL-R2 was found to interact with the core microprocessor components Drosha and DGCR8 and the associated regulatory proteins p68, hnRNPA1, NF45, and NF90 in nuclei of PDAC and other tumor cells. Knockdown of TRAIL-R2 increased Drosha-mediated processing of the let-7 microRNA precursor primary let-7 (resulting in increased levels of mature let-7), reduced levels of the let-7 targets (LIN28B and HMGA2), and inhibited cell proliferation. PDAC tissues from patients had higher levels of nuclear TRAIL-R2 than non-neoplastic pancreatic tissue, which correlated with increased nuclear levels of HMGA2 and poor outcomes. Knockdown of TRAIL-R2 in PDAC cells slowed their growth as orthotopic tumors in mice. Reduced nuclear levels of TRAIL-R2 in cultured pancreatic epithelial cells promoted their differentiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Nuclear TRAIL-R2 inhibits maturation of the microRNA let-7 in pancreatic cancer cell lines and increases their proliferation. Pancreatic tumor samples have increased levels of nuclear TRAIL-R2, which correlate with poor outcome of patients. These findings indicate that in the nucleus, death receptors can function as tumor promoters and might be therapeutic targets.

Di Carlo V, Grossi E, Laneve P, et al.
TDP-43 regulates the microprocessor complex activity during in vitro neuronal differentiation.
Mol Neurobiol. 2013; 48(3):952-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
TDP-43 (TAR DNA-binding protein 43) is an RNA-binding protein implicated in RNA metabolism at several levels. Even if ubiquitously expressed, it is considered as a neuronal activity-responsive factor and a major signature for neurological pathologies, making the comprehension of its activity in the nervous system a very challenging issue. TDP-43 has also been described as an accessory component of the Drosha-DGCR8 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8) microprocessor complex, which is crucially involved in basal and tissue-specific RNA processing events. In the present study, we exploited in vitro neuronal differentiation systems to investigate the TDP-43 demand for the microprocessor function, focusing on both its canonical microRNA biosynthetic activity and its alternative role as a post-transcriptional regulator of gene expression. Our findings reveal a novel role for TDP-43 as an essential factor that controls the stability of Drosha protein during neuronal differentiation, thus globally affecting the production of microRNAs. We also demonstrate that TDP-43 is required for the Drosha-mediated regulation of Neurogenin 2, a master gene orchestrating neurogenesis, whereas post-transcriptional control of Dgcr8, another Drosha target, resulted to be TDP-43-independent. These results implicate a previously uncovered contribution of TDP-43 in regulating the abundance and the substrate specificity of the microprocessor complex and provide new insights into TDP-43 as a key player in neuronal differentiation.

Sakai NS, Samia-Aly E, Barbera M, Fitzgerald RC
A review of the current understanding and clinical utility of miRNAs in esophageal cancer.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2013; 23(6 Pt B):512-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, well-conserved, non-coding RNAs that regulate the translation of RNAs. They have a role in biological and pathological process including cell differentiation, apoptosis, proliferation and metabolism. Since their discovery, they have been shown to have a potential role in cancer pathogenesis through their function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. A substantial number of miRNAs show differential expression in esophageal cancer tissues, and so have been investigated for possible use in diagnosis. Furthermore, there is increasing interest in their use as prognostic markers and determining treatment response, as well as identifying their downstream targets and understanding their mode of action.
METHODS: We analyzed the most recent studies on miRNAs in esophageal cancer and/or Barrett's esophagus (BE). The publications were identified by searching in PuBMed for the following terms: Barrett's esophagus and microRNA; esophageal cancer and microRNA.
RESULTS: Four miRNAs (mi-R-25, -99a, -133a and -133b) showed good potential as diagnostic markers and interestingly five (mi-R-21, -27b, -126, - 143 and -145) appeared to be useful both as diagnostic and prognostic/predictive markers.
CONCLUSION: The data so far on miRNAs in esophageal carcinogenesis is promising but further work is required to determine whether miRNAs can be used as biomarkers, not only in the clinical setting or added to individualized treatment regimes but also in non-invasive test by making use of miRNAs identified in blood.

Han SJ, Marshall V, Barsov E, et al.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus microRNA single-nucleotide polymorphisms identified in clinical samples can affect microRNA processing, level of expression, and silencing activity.
J Virol. 2013; 87(22):12237-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 pre-microRNAs that can produce 25 KSHV mature microRNAs. We previously reported single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in KSHV-encoded pre-microRNA and mature microRNA sequences from clinical samples (V. Marshall et al., J. Infect. Dis., 195:645-659, 2007). To determine whether microRNA SNPs affect pre-microRNA processing and, ultimately, mature microRNA expression levels, we performed a detailed comparative analysis of (i) mature microRNA expression levels, (ii) in vitro Drosha/Dicer processing, and (iii) RNA-induced silencing complex-dependent targeting of wild-type (wt) and variant microRNA genes. Expression of pairs of wt and variant pre-microRNAs from retroviral vectors and measurement of KSHV mature microRNA expression by real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) revealed differential expression levels that correlated with the presence of specific sequence polymorphisms. Measurement of KSHV mature microRNA expression in a panel of primary effusion lymphoma cell lines by real-time RT-PCR recapitulated some observed expression differences but suggested a more complex relationship between sequence differences and expression of mature microRNA. Furthermore, in vitro maturation assays demonstrated significant SNP-associated changes in Drosha/DGCR8 and/or Dicer processing. These data demonstrate that SNPs within KSHV-encoded pre-microRNAs are associated with differential microRNA expression levels. Given the multiple reports on the involvement of microRNAs in cancer, the biological significance of these phenotypic and genotypic variants merits further studies in patients with KSHV-associated malignancies.

Masliah-Planchon J, Pasmant E, Luscan A, et al.
MicroRNAome profiling in benign and malignant neurofibromatosis type 1-associated nerve sheath tumors: evidences of PTEN pathway alterations in early NF1 tumorigenesis.
BMC Genomics. 2013; 14:473 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common dominant tumor predisposition syndrome affecting 1 in 3,500 individuals. The hallmarks of NF1 are the development of peripheral nerve sheath tumors either benign (dermal and plexiform neurofibromas) or malignant (MPNSTs).
RESULTS: To comprehensively characterize the role of microRNAs in NF1 tumorigenesis, we analyzed 377 miRNAs expression in a large panel of dermal and plexiform neurofibromas, and MPNSTs. The most significantly upregulated miRNA in plexiform neurofibromas was miR-486-3p that targets the major tumor suppressor gene, PTEN. We confirmed PTEN downregulation at mRNA level. In plexiform neurofibromas, we also report aberrant expression of four miRNAs involved in the RAS-MAPK pathway (miR-370, miR-143, miR-181a, and miR-145). In MPNSTs, significant deregulated miRNAs were involved in PTEN repression (miR-301a, miR-19a, and miR-106b), RAS-MAPK pathway regulation (Let-7b, miR-195, and miR-10b), mesenchymal transition (miR-200c, let-7b, miR-135a, miR-135b, and miR-9), HOX genes expression (miR-210, miR-196b, miR-10a, miR-10b, and miR-9), and cell cycle progression (miR-195, let-7b, miR-20a, miR-210, miR-129-3p, miR-449a, and miR-106b).
CONCLUSION: We confirmed the implication of PTEN in genesis of plexiform neurofibromas and MPNSTs in NF1. Markedly deregulated miRNAs might have potential diagnostic or prognostic value and could represent novel strategies for effective pharmacological therapies of NF1 tumors.

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