Gene Summary

Gene:AGO2; argonaute 2, RISC catalytic component
Aliases: PPD, Q10, CASC7, EIF2C2, LINC00980
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the Argonaute family of proteins which play a role in RNA interference. The encoded protein is highly basic, and contains a PAZ domain and a PIWI domain. It may interact with dicer1 and play a role in short-interfering-RNA-mediated gene silencing. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein argonaute-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AGO2 (cancer-related)

Yamamoto K, Kawamoto S, Mizutani Y, et al.
Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia with t(12;17)(p13;q21)/TAF15-ZNF384 and Other Chromosome Abnormalities.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2016; 149(3):165-170 [PubMed] Related Publications
The t(12;17)(p13;q11∼21) translocation is a very rare but recurrent cytogenetic aberration observed predominantly in early pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with CD19+CD10-CD33+ phenotype. This translocation was shown to form a fusion gene between TAF15 at 17q12 and ZNF384 at 12p13. On the other hand, der(1;18)(q10;q10) has been detected as a rare unbalanced whole-arm translocation leading to trisomy 1q in myeloid malignancies. We describe here the first case of mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL) with a t(12;17)(p13;q21)/TAF15-ZNF384, which also had der(1;18)(q10;q10) as an additional abnormality. A 74-year-old woman was diagnosed with MPAL, B/myeloid, because bone marrow blasts were positive for myeloperoxidase, CD19, and CD22. Chromosome analysis showed 46,XX, +1,der(1;18)(q10;q10),t(2;16)(q13;q13),t(12;17)(p13;q21). Expression of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion transcript was confirmed: TAF15 exon 6 was fused in-frame to ZNF384 exon 3. This type of fusion gene has been reported in 1 acute myeloid leukemia case and 3 ALL cases. Thus, at present, it is difficult to find a specific association between the structure of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion gene and the leukemia phenotype. The TAF15-ZNF384 fusion may occur in early common progenitor cells that could differentiate into both the myeloid and lymphoid lineages. Furthermore, der(1;18)(q10;q10) might play some role in the appearance of an additional myeloid phenotype.

Xu Q, Hou YX, Langlais P, et al.
Expression of the cereblon binding protein argonaute 2 plays an important role for multiple myeloma cell growth and survival.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:297 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), such as lenalidomide, are therapeutically active compounds that bind and modulate the E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate recruiter cereblon, thereby affect steady-state levels of cereblon and cereblon binding partners, such as ikaros and aiolos, and induce many cellular responses, including cytotoxicity to multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Nevertheless, it takes many days for MM cells to die after IMiD induced depletion of ikaros and aiolos and thus we searched for other cereblon binding partners that participate in IMiD cytotoxicity.
METHODS: Cereblon binding partners were identified from a MM cell line expressing histidine-tagged cereblon by pulling down cereblon and its binding partners and verified by co-immunoprecipitation. IMiD effects were determined by western blot analysis, cell viability assay, microRNA array and apoptosis analysis.
RESULTS: We identified argonaute 2 (AGO2) as a cereblon binding partner and found that the steady-state levels of AGO2 were regulated by cereblon. Upon treatment of IMiD-sensitive MM cells with lenalidomide, the steady-state levels of cereblon were significantly increased, whereas levels of AGO2 were significantly decreased. It has been reported that AGO2 plays a pivotal role in microRNA maturation and function. Interestingly, upon treatment of MM cells with lenalidomide, the steady-state levels of microRNAs were significantly altered. In addition, silencing of AGO2 in MM cells, regardless of sensitivity to IMiDs, significantly decreased the levels of AGO2 and microRNAs and massively induced cell death.
CONCLUSION: These results support the notion that the cereblon binding partner AGO2 plays an important role in regulating MM cell growth and survival and AGO2 could be considered as a novel drug target for overcoming IMiD resistance in MM cells.

Wanderi C, Kim E, Chang S, et al.
Ginsenoside 20(S)-Protopanaxadiol Suppresses Viability of Human Glioblastoma Cells via Down-regulation of Cell Adhesion Proteins and Cell-cycle Arrest.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(3):925-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pharmacologically active components of ginseng, particularly protopanaxadiol (PPD)-type ginsenosides, have potent anticancer effects, although their effects on highly malignant glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) have not been systemically evaluated. Identification of effective anticancer ginsenosides and further delineation of their mechanisms of action may provide valuable information that aids in the development of alternative or adjuvant therapy for malignant cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined the viability of human GBM U251-MG and U87-MG cells treated with structurally related PPD-type ginsenosides, including F2, Rh2, compound K (C-K), and PPD.
RESULTS: Incubation with PPD, C-K, and Rh2 significantly reduced the viability of U251-MG and U87-MG cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The cytotoxic effect of PPD was accompanied by reduced expression of cell adhesion proteins, including N-cadherin and integrin β1, which led to reduced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase. Furthermore, incubation with PPD reduced the expression of cyclin D1 and subsequently induced cell-cycle arrest at the G1 phase.
CONCLUSION: These results collectively indicate that PPD might provide a new strategy for treating malignant GBM, which is quite resistant to conventional anticancer treatment.

Jiang CY, Ruan Y, Wang XH, et al.
MiR-185 attenuates androgen receptor function in prostate cancer indirectly by targeting bromodomain containing 8 isoform 2, an androgen receptor co-activator.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2016; 427:13-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Aberrant androgen receptor (AR) signaling functions are implicated in prostate cancer (PCa) pathogenesis. Here, we studied interactions between miR-185 and the bromodomain containing 8 isoform 2 (BRD8 ISO2) to investigate indirect mechanisms of miR-185 with respect to AR function through BRD8 ISO2 in PCa.
METHODS: Putative miRNA response element (MRE) of miR-185 in 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of BRD8 ISO2 mRNA was predicted by software and confirmed using dual-luciferase assays and Ago2 immunoprecipitation. BRD8 and AR expression were determined by qRT-PCR and Western blot in PCa cells and tissues. MMTV-Fluc reporter plasmids and dual-luciferase assays were used to evaluate AR activity.
RESULTS: MRE prediction, dual-luciferase assays and Ago2 immunoprecipitation confirmed that miR-185 is capable of binding the 3'-UTR of BRD8 ISO2 mRNA. QRT-PCR and Western blot indicated that BRD8 ISO2 expression is decreased by miR-185 mimic transfection while increased by miR-185 inhibitor transfection. MMTV-Fluc reporter assays revealed that miR-185 can attenuate AR function by suppressing BRD8 ISO2. Additionally, Pearson's correlation analyses confirmed that BRD8 ISO2 mRNA expression is inversely correlated with miR-185 expression in clinical specimens.
CONCLUSION: In addition to suppression of AR expression, miR-185 can attenuate AR function indirectly by suppressing BRD8 ISO2. MiR-185 and BRD8 ISO2 may be possible therapeutic targets for PCa treatment.

Cornet E, Mossafa H, Courel K, et al.
Persistent polyclonal binucleated B-cell lymphocytosis and MECOM gene amplification.
BMC Res Notes. 2016; 9:138 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Persistent Polyclonal Binucleated B-cell Lymphocytosis (PPBL) is characterized by a chronic polyclonal B-cell lymphocytosis with binucleated lymphocytes and a polyclonal increase in serum immunoglobulin-M. Cytogenetic is characterized by the presence of a supernumerary isochromosome +i(3)(q10), premature chromosome condensation and chromosomal instability. Outcome of PPBL patients is mostly benign, but subsequent malignancies could occur. The aim of our study is to provide an update of clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of our large cohort of PPBL patients, to describe subsequent malignancies occurring during the follow-up, and to investigate the role of the long arm of chromosome 3 in PPBL.
RESULTS: We analyzed clinical, biological and cytogenetic characteristics (conventional cytogenetic analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization) of 150 patients diagnosed with PPBL. We performed high-resolution SNP arrays in 10 PPBL patients, comparing CD19(+) versus CD19(-) lymphoid cells. We describe the cytogenetic characteristics in 150 PPBL patients consisting in the presence of supernumerary isochromosome +i(3)(q10) (59%) and chromosomal instability (55%). In CD19(+) B-cells, we observed recurrent copy number aberrations of 143 genes with 129 gains (90%) on 3q and a common minimal amplified genomic region in the MECOM gene. After a median follow-up of 60 months, we observed the occurrence of 12 subsequent malignancies (12%), 6 solid tumors and 6 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas, and 6 monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS), requiring a long-term clinical follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: Our clinical and cytogenetic observations lead us to hypothesize that isochromosome 3q, especially MECOM abnormality, could play a key role in PPBL.

Obayashi M, Yoshida M, Tsunematsu T, et al.
microRNA-203 suppresses invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition induction via targeting NUAK1 in head and neck cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(7):8223-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has a high capacity for invasion. To identify microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate HNSCC invasion, we compared miRNA expression profiles between a parent HNSCC cell line and a highly invasive clone. The miR-200 family and miR-203 were downregulated in the clone. Here we focused on the role of miR-203 in invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) induction in HNSCC. miR-203 was downregulated during EMT induction. Moreover, ectopic overexpression of miR-203 suppressed the invasion and induced mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) in HNSCC cells. Interestingly, we identified NUAK family SNF1-like kinase 1 (NUAK1) as a novel target gene of miR-203 by cyclopedic analysis using anti-Ago2 antibody. Increased expression of NUAK1 was observed during EMT induction, and ectopic expression of miR-203 delayed EMT induction by suppressing NUAK1 expression. Moreover, NUAK1 overexpression promoted the invasion of HNSCC cells. Importantly, NUAK1 expression was well correlated with poor differentiation, invasiveness, and lymph node metastasis in HNSCC cases. Overall, miR-203 has a tumor-suppressing role in invasion and EMT induction by targeting NUAK1 in HNSCC, suggesting miR-203 as a potential new diagnostic and therapeutic target for the treatment of HNSCC.

Shankar S, Pitchiaya S, Malik R, et al.
KRAS Engages AGO2 to Enhance Cellular Transformation.
Cell Rep. 2016; 14(6):1448-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncogenic mutations in RAS provide a compelling yet intractable therapeutic target. Using co-immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry, we uncovered an interaction between RAS and Argonaute 2 (AGO2). Endogenously, RAS and AGO2 co-sediment and co-localize in the endoplasmic reticulum. The AGO2 N-terminal domain directly binds the Switch II region of KRAS, agnostic of nucleotide (GDP/GTP) binding. Functionally, AGO2 knockdown attenuates cell proliferation in mutant KRAS-dependent cells and AGO2 overexpression enhances KRAS(G12V)-mediated transformation. Using AGO2-/- cells, we demonstrate that the RAS-AGO2 interaction is required for maximal mutant KRAS expression and cellular transformation. Mechanistically, oncogenic KRAS attenuates AGO2-mediated gene silencing. Overall, the functional interaction with AGO2 extends KRAS function beyond its canonical role in signaling.

Harrison CJ, Schwab C
Constitutional abnormalities of chromosome 21 predispose to iAMP21-acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Eur J Med Genet. 2016; 59(3):162-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
In addition to Down syndrome, individuals with other constitutional abnormalities of chromosome 21 have an increased risk of developing childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Specifically, carriers of the Robertsonian translocation between chromosomes 15 and 21, rob(15;21) (q10; q10)c, have ∼2,700 increased risk of developing ALL with iAMP21 (intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21). In these patients, chromosome 15 as well as chromosome 21 is involved in the formation of iAMP21, referred to here as der(21)(15;21). Individuals with constitutional ring chromosomes involving chromosome 21, r(21)c, are also predisposed to iAMP21-ALL, involving the same series of mutational processes as seen in sporadic- and der(21)(15;21)-iAMP21 ALL. Evidence is accumulating that the dicentric nature of the Robertsonian and ring chromosome is the initiating factor in the formation of the complex iAMP21 structure. Unravelling these intriguing predispositions to iAMP21-ALL may provide insight into how other complex rearrangements arise in cancer.

Ge Y, Yan X, Jin Y, et al.
MiRNA-192 [corrected] and miRNA-204 Directly Suppress lncRNA HOTTIP and Interrupt GLS1-Mediated Glutaminolysis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
PLoS Genet. 2015; 11(12):e1005726 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Accumulated evidence demonstrated that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a pivotal role in tumorigenesis. However, it is still largely unknown how these lncRNAs were regulated by small ncRNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), at the post-transcriptional level. We here use lncRNA HOTTIP as an example to study how miRNAs impact lncRNAs expression and its biological significance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). LncRNA HOTTIP is a vital oncogene in HCC, one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. In the current study, we identified miR-192 and miR-204 as two microRNAs (miRNAs) suppressing HOTTIP expression via the Argonaute 2 (AGO2)-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) pathway in HCC. Interaction between miR-192 or miR-204 and HOTTIP were further confirmed using dual luciferase reporter gene assays. Consistent with this notion, a significant negative correlation between these miRNAs and HOTTIP exists in HCC tissue specimens. Interestingly, the dysregulation of the three ncRNAs was associated with overall survival of HCC patients. In addition, the posttranscriptional silencing of HOTTIP by miR-192, miR-204 or HOTTIP siRNAs could significantly suppress viability of HCC cells. On the contrary, antagonizing endogenous miR-192 or miR-204 led to increased HOTTIP expression and stimulated cell proliferation. In vivo mouse xenograft model also support the tumor suppressor role of both miRNAs. Besides the known targets (multiple 5' end HOX A genes, i.e. HOXA13), glutaminase (GLS1) was identified as a potential downstream target of the miR-192/-204-HOTTIP axis in HCC. Considering glutaminolysis as a crucial hallmark of cancer cells and significantly inhibited cell viability after silencingGLS1, we speculate that the miR-192/-204-HOTTIP axis may interrupt HCC glutaminolysis through GLS1 inhibition. These results elucidate that the miR-192/-204-HOTTIP axis might be an important molecular pathway during hepatic cell tumorigenesis. Our data in clinical HCC samples highlight miR-192, miR-204 and HOTTIP with prognostic and potentially therapeutic implications.

Sharma NR, Wang X, Majerciak V, et al.
Cell Type- and Tissue Context-dependent Nuclear Distribution of Human Ago2.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(5):2302-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Argonaute-2 protein (Ago2), a major component of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), has been viewed as a cytoplasmic protein. In this study, we demonstrated by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy that Ago2 is distributed mainly as a nuclear protein in primary human foreskin keratinocytes in monolayer cultures and their derived organotypic (raft) cultures, although it exhibits only a minimal level of nuclear distribution in continuous cell lines such as HeLa and HaCaT cells. Oncogenic human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) or type 18 (HPV18) infection of the keratinocytes does not affect the nuclear Ago2 distribution. Examination of human tissues reveals that Ago2 exhibits primarily as a nuclear protein in skin, normal cervix, and cervical cancer tissues, but not in larynx. Together, our data provide the first convincing evidence that the subcellular distribution of Ago2 occurs in a cell type- and tissue context-dependent manner and may correlate with its various functions in regulation of gene expression.

Li P, Meng J, Zhai Y, et al.
Argonaute 2 and nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a genetic association study and functional analysis.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:862 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Argonaute 2 (AGO2), a central component of RNA-induced silencing complex, plays critical roles in cancer. We examined whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of AGO2 were related to the risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
METHODS: Twenty-five tag SNPs within AGO2 were genotyped in Guangxi population consisting of 855 NPC patients and 1036 controls. The SNPs significantly associated with NPC were further replicated in Guangdong population consisting of 996 NPC patients and 972 controls. Functional experiments were conducted to examine the biologic roles of AGO2 in NPC.
RESULTS: A significantly increased risk of advanced lymph node metastasis of NPC was identified for the AGO2 rs3928672 GA + AA genotype compared with GG genotype in both the Guangxi and Guangdong populations (combined odd ratio = 2.08, 95 % confidence interval = 1.44-3.01, P = 8.60 × 10(-5)). Moreover, the AGO2 protein expression levels of rs3928672 GA + AA genotype carriers were higher than the GG genotype carriers in the NPC tissues (P = 0.041), and AGO2 was significantly over-expressed in NPC tissues compared with non-cancerous nasopharyngeal tissues (P = 0.011). In addition, AGO2 knockdown reduced cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and inhibited migration of NPC cells. Furthermore, gene expression microarray showed that genes altered following AGO2 knockdown were clustered in tumorigenesis and metastasis relevant pathways.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the genetic polymorphism in AGO2 may be a risk factor for the advanced lymph node metastasis of NPC in Chinese populations, and AGO2 acts as an oncogene in the development of NPC.

Guo J, Lv J, Liu M, Tang H
miR-346 Up-regulates Argonaute 2 (AGO2) Protein Expression to Augment the Activity of Other MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and Contributes to Cervical Cancer Cell Malignancy.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(51):30342-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, and AGO2 is essential for miRNA activity. In this study, we focused on the regulation of AGO2 by miR-346 and the consequences in cervical cancer cells. miR-346 enhanced the expression of AGO2, resulting in the increased activity of other miRNAs and contributing to the malignancy of HeLa cells. GRSF1 participated in the regulation of AGO2 by miR-346, and the middle sequence of miR-346 was vital for the synergy effect of miR-346 and GRSF1. We determined that miR-346 promoted the migration and invasion of HeLa cells. In summary, we are the first to report that AGO2 is regulated positively by miRNA and that GRSF1 participates in the miRNA pathway.

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.

Slezak-Prochazka I, Kluiver J, de Jong D, et al.
Inhibition of the miR-155 target NIAM phenocopies the growth promoting effect of miR-155 in B-cell lymphoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(3):2391-400 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several studies have indicated an important role for miR-155 in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphoma. Highly elevated levels of miR-155 were indeed observed in most B-cell lymphomas with the exception of Burkitt lymphoma (BL). However, the molecular mechanisms that underlie the oncogenic role of miR-155 in B-cell lymphoma are not well understood. To identify the miR-155 targets relevant for B-cell lymphoma, we performed RNA immunoprecipitation of Argonaute 2 in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cells upon miR-155 inhibition and in BL cells upon ectopic expression of miR-155. We identified 54 miR-155-specific target genes in BL cells and confirmed miR-155 targeting of DET1, NIAM, TRIM32, HOMEZ, PSIP1 and JARID2. Five of these targets are also regulated by endogenous miR-155 in HL cells. Both overexpression of miR-155 and inhibition of expression of the novel miR-155 target gene NIAM increased proliferation of BL cells. In primary B-cell lymphoma NIAM-positive cases have significant lower levels of miR-155 as compared to NIAM-negative cases, suggesting that NIAM is also regulated by miR-155 in primary B-cell lymphoma. Thus, our data indicate an oncogenic role for miR-155 in B-cell lymphoma which involves targeting the tumor suppressor NIAM.

Stengel A, Kern W, Zenger M, et al.
Genetic characterization of T-PLL reveals two major biologic subgroups and JAK3 mutations as prognostic marker.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2016; 55(1):82-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is a rare post-thymic T-cell neoplasm with aggressive clinical course and short overall survival. So far, due to the rareness of this disease, genetic data are available only from individual cases or small cohorts. In our study, we aimed at performing a comprehensive cytogenetic and molecular genetic characterization of T-PLL comprising the largest cohort of patients with T-PLL analyzed so far, including correlations between the respective markers and their impact on prognosis. Genetic abnormalities were found in all 51 cases with T-PLL, most frequently involving the TCRA/D locus (86%). Deletions were detected for ATM (69%) and TP53 (31%), whereas i(8)(q10) was observed in 61% of cases. Mutations in ATM, TP53, JAK1, and JAK3 were detected in 73, 14, 6, and 21% of patients, respectively. Additionally, BCOR mutations were observed for the first time in a lymphoid malignancy (8%). Two distinct genetic subgroups of T-PLL were identified: A large subset (86% of patients) showed abnormalities involving the TCRA/D locus activating the proto-oncogenes TCL1 or MTCP1, while the second group was characterized by a high frequency of TP53 mutations (4/7 cases). Further, analyses of overall survival identified JAK3 mutations as important prognostic marker, showing a significant negative impact.

Ono M, Yamada K, Avolio F, et al.
Targeted Knock-Down of miR21 Primary Transcripts Using snoMEN Vectors Induces Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cell Lines.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0138668 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We have previously reported an antisense technology, 'snoMEN vectors', for targeted knock-down of protein coding mRNAs using human snoRNAs manipulated to contain short regions of sequence complementarity with the mRNA target. Here we characterise the use of snoMEN vectors to target the knock-down of micro RNA primary transcripts. We document the specific knock-down of miR21 in HeLa cells using plasmid vectors expressing miR21-targeted snoMEN RNAs and show this induces apoptosis. Knock-down is dependent on the presence of complementary sequences in the snoMEN vector and the induction of apoptosis can be suppressed by over-expression of miR21. Furthermore, we have also developed lentiviral vectors for delivery of snoMEN RNAs and show this increases the efficiency of vector transduction in many human cell lines that are difficult to transfect with plasmid vectors. Transduction of lentiviral vectors expressing snoMEN targeted to pri-miR21 induces apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells, which express high levels of miR21, but not in human primary cells. We show that snoMEN-mediated suppression of miRNA expression is prevented by siRNA knock-down of Ago2, but not by knock-down of Ago1 or Upf1. snoMEN RNAs colocalise with Ago2 in cell nuclei and nucleoli and can be co-immunoprecipitated from nuclear extracts by antibodies specific for Ago2.

Yamamoto K, Ito S, Hanafusa H, et al.
Uncovering Direct Targets of MiR-19a Involved in Lung Cancer Progression.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0137887 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Micro RNAs (miRNAs) regulate the expression of target genes posttranscriptionally by pairing incompletely with mRNA in a sequence-specific manner. About 30% of human genes are regulated by miRNAs, and a single miRNA is capable of reducing the production of hundreds of proteins by means of incomplete pairing upon miRNA-mRNA binding. Lately, evidence implicating miRNAs in the development of lung cancers has been emerging. In particular, miR-19a, which is highly expressed in malignant lung cancer cells, is considered the key miRNA for tumorigenesis. However, its direct targets remain underreported. In the present study, we focused on six potential miR-19a target genes selected by miRNA target prediction software. To evaluate these genes as direct miR-19a target genes, we performed luciferase, pull-down, and western blot assays. The luciferase activity of plasmids with each miR-19a-binding site was observed to decrease, while increased luciferase activity was observed in the presence of anti-miR-19a locked nucleic acid (LNA). The pull-down assay showed biotinylated miR-19a to bind to AGO2 protein and to four of six potential target mRNAs. Western blot analysis showed that the expression levels of the four genes changed depending on treatment with miR-19a mimic or anti-miR-19a-LNA. Finally, FOXP1, TP53INP1, TNFAIP3, and TUSC2 were identified as miR-19a targets. To examine the function of these four target genes in lung cancer cells, LK79 (which has high miR-19a expression) and A549 (which has low miR-19a expression) were used. The expression of the four target proteins was higher in A549 than in LK79 cells. The four miR-19a target cDNA expression vectors suppressed cell viability, colony formation, migration, and invasion of A549 and LK79 cells, but LK79 cells transfected with FOXP1 and TP53INP1 cDNAs showed no difference compared to the control cells in the invasion assay.

Lu H, He Y, Lin L, et al.
Long non-coding RNA MALAT1 modulates radiosensitivity of HR-HPV+ cervical cancer via sponging miR-145.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(2):1683-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) is a lncRNA playing oncogenic role in several cancers, including cervical cancer. However, its role in radiosensitivity of cervical cancer is not yet well understood. This study explored the role of MALAT1 in radiosensitivity of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV)-positive cervical cancer and whether there is a ceRNA mechanism which participated in its regulation over radiosensitivity. Based on tissue samples from 50 cervical cancer cases and 25 healthy controls, we found MALAT1 expression was significantly higher in radioresistant than in radiosensitive cancer cases. In addition, MALAT1 and miR-145 expression inversely changed in response to irradiation in HR-HPV+ cervical cancer cells. By using clonogenic assay and flow cytometry analysis of cell cycle distribution and apoptosis, we found CaSki and Hela cells with knockdown of MALAT1 had significantly lower colony formation, higher ratio of G2/M phase block and higher ratio of cell apoptosis. By performing RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation (RIP) assay and RNA pull-down assay, we confirmed that miR-145 and MALAT1 were in the same Ago2 complex and there was a reciprocal repression between them. Then, we explored the function of MALAT1-miR-145 in radiosensitivity of cervical cancers cells and demonstrated that si-MALAT1 and miR-145 had some level of synergic effect in reducing cancer cell colony formation, cell cycle regulation, and inducing apoptosis. These findings provide an important clue about microRNA-lncRNA interaction in the mechanism of radioresistance of cervical cancer.

Stark MS, Klein K, Weide B, et al.
The Prognostic and Predictive Value of Melanoma-related MicroRNAs Using Tissue and Serum: A MicroRNA Expression Analysis.
EBioMedicine. 2015; 2(7):671-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The overall 5-year survival for melanoma is 91%. However, if distant metastasis occurs (stage IV), cure rates are < 15%. Hence, melanoma detection in earlier stages (stages I-III) maximises the chances of patient survival. We measured the expression of a panel of 17 microRNAs (miRNAs) (MELmiR-17) in melanoma tissues (stage III; n = 76 and IV; n = 10) and serum samples (collected from controls with no melanoma, n = 130; and patients with melanoma (stages I/II, n = 86; III, n = 50; and IV, n = 119)) obtained from biobanks in Australia and Germany. In melanoma tissues, members of the 'MELmiR-17' panel were found to be predictors of stage, recurrence, and survival. Additionally, in a minimally-invasive blood test, a seven-miRNA panel (MELmiR-7) detected the presence of melanoma (relative to controls) with high sensitivity (93%) and specificity (≥ 82%) when ≥ 4 miRNAs were expressed. Moreover, the 'MELmiR-7' panel characterised overall survival of melanoma patients better than both serum LDH and S100B (delta log likelihood = 11, p < 0.001). This panel was found to be superior to currently used serological markers for melanoma progression, recurrence, and survival; and would be ideally suited to monitor tumour progression in patients diagnosed with early metastatic disease (stages IIIa-c/IV M1a-b) to detect relapse following surgical or adjuvant treatment.

Du J, Zheng X, Cai S, et al.
MicroRNA‑506 participates in pancreatic cancer pathogenesis by targeting PIM3.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(4):5121-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA (miRNA) is a type of short non-coding RNA that suppresses the expression of protein coding genes by partial complementary binding to the 3'‑untranslated regions (UTRs) of mRNAs. miRNA expression alterations are involved in the initiation, progression and metastasis of human cancer and it has been suggested that miRNAs function as tumor suppressors as well as oncogenes in cancer development. PIM-3 is a member of the proto-oncogene PIM family, the aberrant expression of which exists in human pancreatic cancer tissues. There are reports indicating that overexpression of PIM3 is associated with the promotion of pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. The aim of the present study was to identify micro (mi)RNAs that regulate the expression of the oncogene PIM3 in PC. It was confirmed that the expression of PIM3 was regulated by miRNAs through an AGO2 knockout experiment. Subsequently, a dual luciferase assay system was constructed and used to screen 13 selected miRNAs that may target the PIM3 3'UTR directly. The results indicated that miR‑15a/b, miR‑16, miR‑33a/b, miR‑124, miR‑195 and miR‑506 repressed the luciferase activity by targeting the PIM3 3'UTR. However, only the expression of miR‑506 was negatively correlated with PIM3 expression in PC tissues (r=‑0.38, P=0.017). Furthermore, a biological functional study indicated that miR‑506 functioned as a tumor suppressor by repressing PC cell proliferation, which was partially reversed by PIM3 overexpression. To the best of our knowledge, the present study was the first to reveal the tumor suppressor function of miR‑506 in PC, which has the potential to be employed in the diagnosis and treatment of PC.

Onur S, Niklowitz P, Fischer A, et al.
Determination of the coenzyme Q10 status in a large Caucasian study population.
Biofactors. 2015 Jul-Aug; 41(4):211-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 ) exists in a reduced (ubiquinol) and an oxidized (ubiquinone) form in all human tissues and functions, amongst others, in the respiratory chain, redox-cycles, and gene expression. As the status of CoQ10 is an important risk factor for several diseases, here we determined the CoQ10 status (ubiquinol, ubiquinone) in a large Caucasian study population (n = 1,911). The study population covers a wide age range (age: 18-83 years, 43.4% men), has information available on more than 10 measured clinical phenotypes, more than 30 diseases (presence vs. absence), about 30 biomarkers, and comprehensive genetic information including whole-genome SNP typing (>891,000 SNPs). The major aim of this long-term resource in CoQ10 research is the comprehensive analysis of the CoQ10 status with respect to integrated health parameters (i.e., fat metabolism, inflammation), disease-related biomarkers (i.e., liver enzymes, marker for heart failure), common diseases (i.e., neuropathy, myocardial infarction), and genetic risk in humans. Based on disease status, biomarkers, and genetic variants, our cohort is also useful to perform Mendelian randomisation approaches. In conclusion, the present study population is a promising resource to gain deeper insight into CoQ10 status in human health and disease.

Prodromaki E, Korpetinou A, Giannopoulou E, et al.
Expression of the microRNA regulators Drosha, Dicer and Ago2 in non-small cell lung carcinomas.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2015; 38(4):307-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: MicroRNAs are evolutionarily conserved non-coding components of the transcriptome that can post-transcriptionally control gene expression. Altered microRNA expression has been found to be a common feature of several cancers, including lung carcinomas. The biogenesis and maturation of microRNAs is known to be mediated by the ribonucleases Drosha, Dicer and Ago2. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the expression and distribution of Drosha, Dicer and Ago2 in human non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) and to relate the respective expression patterns to clinocopatholical features.
METHODS: We used five human NSCLC-derived cell lines and primary formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 83 NSCLC patients. Drosha, Dicer and Ago2 mRNA and protein expression levels, and their sub-cellular distributions, were assessed using RT-PCR, Western blotting, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry, respectively.
RESULTS: We found that Drosha, Dicer and Ago2 were expressed in all the cell lines and primary neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissue samples tested. The intensity of the immunohistochemical staining was found to be significantly lower in stage I tumors compared to normal lung tissues. Dicer expression was found to be significantly higher in stage II compared to stage I tumors, and in stage III compared to stage II and stage I tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results point at a role of Drosha, Dicer and Ago2 in the development of NSCLC and suggest that Dicer may be implicated in the progression of these tumors to advanced stages.

Zhang H, Sheng C, Yin Y, et al.
PABPC1 interacts with AGO2 and is responsible for the microRNA mediated gene silencing in high grade hepatocellular carcinoma.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 367(1):49-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been considered as oncogenes, tumor suppressors, or modulators involved in the tumorigenesis and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) today. As miRNA induces mRNA degradation or translation inhibition in RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), the changes in RISC and its interacted proteins might contribute to the functional alternations of miRNA. To explore the molecular function of RISC in HCC, we co-purified RISC interacted proteins by anti-AGO2 antibody and identified 12 AGO2 binding proteins by mass spectrometry. Among them, we found PABPC1 was over-expressed in HCC, especially in high grade HCC. Further studies showed PABPC1 interacted with AGO2 in the cytoplasm of HCC cells. This interaction increased the recruitment of mRNA to RISC and enhanced the inhibition efficiency of miRNA. In general, PABPC1 acted as an oncogene in HCC as it induced cell proliferation by promoting entry into the S phase and enhanced the anchorage independent growth. Our study identified a novel method by which the activities of miRNA could be enhanced with the increase of PABPC1 in HCC and could explain why several miRNAs play critical roles in HCC progression without clear level changes. This finding would benefit the diagnosis and treatment of HCC.

Suzuki HI, Katsura A, Yasuda T, et al.
Small-RNA asymmetry is directly driven by mammalian Argonautes.
Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2015; 22(7):512-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Asymmetric selection of single-stranded guide RNAs from double-stranded RNA precursors is crucial in RNA silencing-mediated gene regulation. However, the precise mechanisms of small-RNA asymmetry are unclear, especially because asymmetric selection can still occur when the putative asymmetry sensors Drosophila R2D2 and mammalian Dicer are depleted. Here we report a direct contribution of mammalian Argonaute 2 (Ago2) to microRNA (miRNA) asymmetry. Ago2 selects strands with 5'-uridine or 5'-adenosine and thermodynamically unstable 5' ends in parallel through its two sensor regions, which contact the 5' nucleobases and 5'-phosphates of prospective guide strands. Hence, miRNA asymmetry shows superposed patterns reflecting 5'-end nucleotide identity ('digital' pattern) and thermodynamic stability ('analog' pattern). Furthermore, we demonstrate that cancer-associated miRNA variations reprogram asymmetric selection. Finally, our study presents a model of this universal principle, to aid in comprehensive understanding of miRNA function and development of new RNA-silencing therapies in precision medicine.

Benderska N, Dittrich AL, Knaup S, et al.
miRNA-26b Overexpression in Ulcerative Colitis-associated Carcinogenesis.
Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015; 21(9):2039-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Longstanding ulcerative colitis (UC) bears a high risk for development of UC-associated colorectal carcinoma (UCC). The inflammatory microenvironment influences microRNA expression, which in turn deregulates target gene expression. microRNA-26b (miR-26b) was shown to be instrumental in normal tissue growth and differentiation. Thus, we aimed to investigate the impact of miR-26b in inflammation-associated colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Two different cohorts of patients were investigated. In the retrospective group, a tissue microarray with 38 samples from 17 UC/UCC patients was used for miR-26b in situ hybridization and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analyses. In the prospective group, we investigated miR-26b expression in 25 fresh-frozen colon biopsies and corresponding serum samples of 6 UC and 15 non-UC patients, respectively. In silico analysis, Ago2-RNA immunoprecipitation, luciferase reporter assay, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction examination, and miR-26b mimic overexpression were employed for target validation.
RESULTS: miR-26b expression was shown to be upregulated with disease progression in tissues and serum of UC and UCC patients. Using miR-26b and Ki-67 expression levels, an UCC was predicted with high accuracy. We identified 4 novel miR-26b targets (DIP1, MDM2, CREBBP, BRCA1). Among them, the downregulation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase DIP1 was closely related to death-associated protein kinase stabilization along the normal mucosa-UC-UCC sequence. In silico functional pathway analysis revealed that the common cellular pathways affected by miR-26b are highly related to cancerogenesis and the development of gastrointestinal diseases.
CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that miR-26b could serve as a biomarker for inflammation-associated processes in the gastrointestinal system. Because miR-26b expression is downregulated in sporadic colon cancer, it could discriminate between UCC and the sporadic cancer type.

Fontemaggi G, Bellissimo T, Donzelli S, et al.
Identification of post-transcriptional regulatory networks during myeloblast-to-monocyte differentiation transition.
RNA Biol. 2015; 12(7):690-700 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Treatment of leukemia cells with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 may overcome their differentiation block and lead to the transition from myeloblasts to monocytes. To identify microRNA-mRNA networks relevant for myeloid differentiation, we profiled the expression of mRNAs and microRNAs associated to the low- and high-density ribosomal fractions in leukemic cells and in their differentiated monocytic counterpart. Intersection between mRNAs shifted across the fractions after treatment with putative target genes of modulated microRNAs showed a series of molecular networks relevant for the monocyte cell fate determination, as for example the post-transcriptional regulation of the Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) by miR-22-3p and let-7e-5p.

Larne O, Hagman Z, Lilja H, et al.
miR-145 suppress the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells and correlates to prostate cancer prognosis.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(8):858-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Androgen signalling through the androgen receptor (AR) is essential for prostate cancer initiation, progression and transformation to the lethal castration-resistant state. The aim of this study was to characterize the mechanisms by which miR-145 deregulation contribute to prostate cancer progression. The miR-145 levels, measured by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, were found to inversely correlate with occurrence of metastases, survival and androgen deprivation therapy response in a well-characterized prostate cancer cohort. Introduction of ectopic miR-145 in prostate cancer cells generated an inhibitory effect on the AR at both transcript and protein levels as well as its activity and downstream targets prostate-specific antigen (PSA), kallikrein-related peptidase 2 and TMPRSS2. The regulation was shown to be mediated by direct binding using Ago2-specific immunoprecipitation, but there was also indication of synergetic AR activation. These findings were verified in clinical prostate specimens by demonstrating inverse correlations between miR-145 and AR expression as well as serum PSA levels. In addition, miR-145 was found to regulate androgen-dependent cell growth in vitro. Our findings put forward novel possibilities of therapeutic intervention, as miR-145 potentially could decrease both the stem cells and the AR expressing bulk of the tumour and hence reduce the transformation to the deadly castration-resistant form of prostate cancer.

Ye ZL, Huang Y, Li LF, et al.
Argonaute 2 promotes angiogenesis via the PTEN/VEGF signaling pathway in human hepatocellular carcinoma.
Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2015; 36(10):1237-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: Argonaute2 (AGO2) protein is the active part of RNA-induced silencing complex, cleaving the target mRNA strand complementary to their bound siRNA. An increasing number of miRNAs has been identified as essential to angiogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study we investigated how AGO2 affected HCC angiogenesis.
METHODS: Human HCC cell lines HepG2, Hep3B, Huh7, SMMC-7721, Bel-7404, MHCC97-H and LM-3, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were tested. The expression of AGO2 in HCC cells was knocked down with siRNA and restored using recombinant adenovirus expressing Ago2. The levels of relevant mRNAs and proteins were examined using RT-PCR, Western blot and EILSA. Nude mice were implanted with Huh7 or SMMC-7721 cells, and tumor volumes were measured. After the mice were euthanized, the xenograft tumors were used for immunohistological analysis.
RESULTS: In 6 HCC cell lines, AGO2 protein expression was significantly correlated with VEGF expression (r=+0.79), and with VEGF secretion (r=+0.852). Knockdown of Ago2 in Huh7 cells and SMMC-7721 cells substantially decreased VEGF expression, whereas the restoration of AGO2 reversed both VEGF expression and secretion. Furthermore, knockdown of Ago2 significantly up-regulated the expression of PTEN (a tumor suppressor involved in the inhibition of HCC angiogenesis), and vice versa. Moreover, the specific PTEN inhibitor bisperoxovanadate (7, 14, 28 nmol/L) dose-dependently restored the expression of VEGF and the capacity of HCC cells to induce HUVECs to form capillary tubule structures. In the xenograft nude mice, knockdown of Ago2 markedly suppressed the tumor growth and decreased PTEN expression and CD31-positive microvascular in the xenograft tumors.
CONCLUSION: A direct relationship exists between the miRNA processing machinery AGO2 and HCC angiogenesis that is mediated by the AGO2/PTEN/VEGF signaling pathway. The results suggest the high value of Ago2 knockdown in anti-angiogenesis therapy for HCC.

Merkel O, Hamacher F, Griessl R, et al.
Oncogenic role of miR-155 in anaplastic large cell lymphoma lacking the t(2;5) translocation.
J Pathol. 2015; 236(4):445-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare, aggressive, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that is characterized by CD30 expression and disease onset in young patients. About half of ALCL patients bear the t(2;5)(p23;q35) translocation, which results in the formation of the nucleophosmin-anaplastic lymphoma tyrosine kinase (NPM-ALK) fusion protein (ALCL ALK(+)). However, little is known about the molecular features and tumour drivers in ALK-negative ALCL (ALCL ALK(-)), which is characterized by a worse prognosis. We found that ALCL ALK(-), in contrast to ALCL ALK(+), lymphomas display high miR-155 expression. Consistent with this, we observed an inverse correlation between miR-155 promoter methylation and miR-155 expression in ALCL. However, no direct effect of the ALK kinase on miR-155 levels was observed. Ago2 immunoprecipitation revealed miR-155 as the most abundant miRNA, and enrichment of target mRNAs C/EBPβ and SOCS1. To investigate its function, we over-expressed miR-155 in ALCL ALK(+) cell lines and demonstrated reduced levels of C/EBPβ and SOCS1. In murine engraftment models of ALCL ALK(-), we showed that anti-miR-155 mimics are able to reduce tumour growth. This goes hand-in-hand with increased levels of cleaved caspase-3 and high SOCS1 in these tumours, which leads to suppression of STAT3 signalling. Moreover, miR-155 induces IL-22 expression and suppresses the C/EBPβ target IL-8. These data suggest that miR-155 can act as a tumour driver in ALCL ALK(-) and blocking miR-155 could be therapeutically relevant. Original miRNA array data are to be found in the supplementary material (Table S1).

Zhang Z, Li Z, Wu X, et al.
TRAIL pathway is associated with inhibition of colon cancer by protopanaxadiol.
J Pharmacol Sci. 2015; 127(1):83-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Among important components of American ginseng, protopanaxadiol (PPD) showed more active anticancer potential than other triterpenoid saponins. In this study, we determined the in vivo effects of PPD in a mouse cancer model first. Then, using human colorectal cancer cell lines, we observed significant cancer cell growth inhibition by promoting G1 cell cycle redistribution and apoptosis. Subsequently, we characterized the downstream genes targeted by PPD in HCT-116 cancer cells. Using Affymetrix high density GeneChips, we obtained the gene expression profile of the cells. Microarray data indicated that the expression levels of 76 genes were changed over two-fold after PPD, of which 52 were upregulated while the remaining 24 were downregulated. Ingenuity pathway analysis of top functions affected was carried out. Data suggested that by regulating the interactions between p53 and DR4/DR5, the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway played a key role in the action of PPD, a promising colon cancer inhibitory compound.

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