HOXA5

Gene Summary

Gene:HOXA5; homeobox A5
Aliases: HOX1, HOX1C, HOX1.3
Location:7p15.2
Summary:In vertebrates, the genes encoding the class of transcription factors called homeobox genes are found in clusters named A, B, C, and D on four separate chromosomes. Expression of these proteins is spatially and temporally regulated during embryonic development. This gene is part of the A cluster on chromosome 7 and encodes a DNA-binding transcription factor which may regulate gene expression, morphogenesis, and differentiation. Methylation of this gene may result in the loss of its expression and, since the encoded protein upregulates the tumor suppressor p53, this protein may play an important role in tumorigenesis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:homeobox protein Hox-A5
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)

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.

  • Messenger RNA
  • Chromatin
  • Base Sequence
  • Mutation
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Apoptosis
  • Epigenetics
  • Chromosome 7
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Binding Sites
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Wound Healing
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription Factors
  • RTPCR
  • Staging
  • p53 Protein
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeobox Genes
  • DNA Methylation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Survival Rate
  • CpG Islands
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Leukaemia
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Multigene Family
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: HOXA5 (cancer-related)

Zhang H, Zhao JH, Suo ZM
Knockdown of HOXA5 inhibits the tumorigenesis in esophageal squamous cell cancer.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:149-154 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homeobox A5 (HOXA5) is a member of the homeobox (HOX) family and was upregulated in many types of tumors. However, its expression and role in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remain unclear. In this study, the aim of this study was to investigate the expression and function of HOXA5 in ESCC. Our results showed that HOXA5 was highly expressed in ESCC cell lines. The in vitro experiments demonstrated that knockdown of HOXA5 significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of ESCC cells. Furthermore, the in vivo experiments showed that knockdown of HOXA5 significantly inhibited the tumor growth of ESCC in mice xenograft model. Finally, sh-HOXA5 inhibited the expression of β-catenin, cyclin D1 and c-Myc in ESCC cells. Taken together, these data revealed that knockdown of HOXA5 suppressed the proliferation and metastasis partly by interfering with Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in ESCC cells. Therefore, these findings suggest that HOXA5 may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of ESCC.

Zhao MY, Yu Y, Xie M, et al.
Digital gene expression profiling analysis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 13(5):4321-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in children. It is a heterogeneous disease, and is determined by multiple gene alterations and chromosomal rearrangements. To improve current understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of ALL, the present study profiled genome‑wide digital gene expression (DGE) in a population of children with ALL in China. Using second‑generation sequencing technology, the profiling revealed that 2,825 genes were upregulated and 1,952 were downregulated in the ALL group. Based on the DGE profiling data, the present study further investigated seven genes (WT1, RPS26, MSX1, CD70, HOXC4, HOXA5 and HOXC6) using reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Gene Ontology analysis suggested that the differentially expressed genes were predominantly involved in immune cell differentiation, metabolic processes and programmed cell death. The results of the present study provided novel insights into the gene expression patterns in children with ALL.

Liu WJ, Zhang T, Guo QL, et al.
Effect of ATRA on the expression of HOXA5 gene in K562 cells and its relationship with cell cycle and apoptosis.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 13(5):4221-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leukemia is the most common malignant disease in children with high incidence and mortality rates, and a poor treatment effect. The aim of the present study was to examine the changes in the expression of homeobox (Hox) A5 gene and its relationship with cell cycle and apoptosis through the intervention of human K562 myeloid leukemia cell line by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), to analyze the role of HOXA5 in the pathogenesis and development process of myeloid leukemia. The optimal concentration of ATRA to be used with K562 cells was determined using a cell counting kit‑8 (CCK‑8). After 24, 72 and 48 h following treatment of K562 cells with 10 µmol/l ATRA, cell cycle events and apoptosis were measured using flow cytometry. HOXA5 mRNA and protein expression in K562 cells was assessed by RT‑PCR and western blot analysis, and the relationship between HOXA5 expression and cell cycle and apoptosis was analyzed. The HOXA5 mRNA and protein expression levels were increased following treatment with ATRA in K562 cells. Apoptosis was increased significantly. The cell cycle was inhibited in G0/G1 phase. Cell proliferation was also inhibited. HOXA5 mRNA and protein expression rates positively correlated with cell apoptosis and the increased percentage and cell cycle of the G0/G1 phase. However, HOXA5 negatively correlated with the reduced percentage of S stage. In conclusion, the expression of HOXA5 in cells was increased following treatment with ATRA in K562 cells, in a time-dependent manner. Additionally, ATRA may inhibit the proliferation of K562 cells and promote apoptosis by upregulating the HOXA5 mRNA and protein expression.

Huang HP, Liu WJ, Guo QL, Bai YQ
Effect of silencing HOXA5 gene expression using RNA interference on cell cycle and apoptosis in Jurkat cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 37(3):669-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a common malignant tumor with a high morbidity rate among children, accounting for approximately 80% of leukemia cases. Although there have been improvements in the treatment of patients frequent relapse lead to a poor prognosis. The aim of the present study was to determine whether HOXA5 may be used as a target for gene therapy in leukemia in order to provide a new treatment. Mononuclear cells were extracted from the bone marrow according to the clinical research aims. After testing for ALL in the acute stage, the relative mRNA and protein expression of HOXA5 was detected in the ALL remission groups (n=25 cases per group) and the control group [n=20 cases, immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)]. Gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) was used to investigate the effect of silencing HOXA5 after small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection to Jurkat cells. The HOXA5-specific siRNA was transfected to Jurkat cells using lipofectamine. The experiment was divided into the experimental group (liposomal transfection of HOXA5 targeting siRNA), the negative control group (liposomal transfection of cells with negative control siRNA) and the control group (plus an equal amount of cells and culture media only). Western blotting and quantitative fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (QF‑PCR) were used to detect the relative HOXA5 mRNA expression and protein distribution in each cell group. Cell distribution in the cell cycle and the rate of cells undergoing apoptosis were determined using flow cytometry. The expression of HOXA5 at the mRNA and protein levels in the acute phase of ALL was significantly higher than that in ALL in the remission and control groups. In cells transfected with HOXA5-specific siRNA, the expression of HOXA5 at the mRNA and protein levels decreased significantly (P<0.05). The distribution of cells in the cell cycle was also altered. Specifically, more cells were present in the G0/G1 phase compared to the S phase (P<0.05). In addition, the apoptotic rate was significantly higher in cells transfected with HOXA5‑specific siRNA (P<0.05). In conclusion, high expression levels of HOXA5 mRNA and protein in children with ALL indicate that HOXA5 is closely associated with childhood ALL. In addition, HOXA5-specific siRNA effectively silences HOXA5 gene expression and induces apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in Jurkat cells, thus inhibiting cell proliferation.

Ordóñez-Morán P, Dafflon C, Imajo M, et al.
HOXA5 Counteracts Stem Cell Traits by Inhibiting Wnt Signaling in Colorectal Cancer.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 28(6):815-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hierarchical organization of tissues relies on stem cells, which either self-renew or produce committed progenitors predestined for lineage differentiation. Here we identify HOXA5 as an important repressor of intestinal stem cell fate in vivo and identify a reciprocal feedback between HOXA5 and Wnt signaling. HOXA5 is suppressed by the Wnt pathway to maintain stemness and becomes active only outside the intestinal crypt where it inhibits Wnt signaling to enforce differentiation. In colon cancer, HOXA5 is downregulated, and its re-expression induces loss of the cancer stem cell phenotype, preventing tumor progression and metastasis. Tumor regression by HOXA5 induction can be triggered by retinoids, which represent tangible means to treat colon cancer by eliminating cancer stem cells.

Mustafa M, Lee JY, Kim MH
CTCF negatively regulates HOXA10 expression in breast cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 467(4):828-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
HOX genes not only play important roles in defining body patterning during embryonic development, but also control numerous cellular events in adult cells. Deregulated HOX gene expression in different cancers including breast cancer is now increasingly being reported. Given that human HOXA cluster is marked with several CTCF binding sites, we investigated whether the presence of CTCF is associated directly with expression of HOXA genes in breast cancer cells. Several HOX genes, such as HOXA4, HOXA5 and HOXA10, were deregulated by CTCF overexpression and knockdown in MCF-7 cells. Among these genes, HOXA10 is an emerging tumor suppressor for its role in activation of p53 and in countering tumorigenesis in breast cancer. Here we provided evidences that CTCF functions as a negative regulator of HOXA10 in breast cancer cells. The putative promoter region of HOXA10 lies between 5.3 and 6.1 kb upstream of its start codon and its promoter activity was negatively regulated by CTCF. Together with in-silico analysis and in vitro mutation assay we identified a 20 bp CTCF binding motif flanking with core promoter element of HOXA10. HOXA10 promoter region was kept inactivated by maintaining H3K27me3 inactivation marks in the presence of CTCF. Epigenetic silencing of HOXA10 by CTCF in breast cancer cells may contribute towards tumorigenesis by decreasing apoptosis and promoting metastasis.

Burillo-Sanz S, Morales-Camacho RM, Caballero-Velázquez T, et al.
NUP98-HOXA9 bearing therapy-related myeloid neoplasm involves myeloid-committed cell and induces HOXA5, EVI1, FLT3, and MEIS1 expression.
Int J Lab Hematol. 2016; 38(1):64-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Chromosomal rearrangements involving NUP98 gene have been associated with human leukemias such as de novo AML, therapy-related AML (t-AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Genetic fusion NUP98-HOXA9, caused by t(7;11)(p15;p15), is a recurrent cytogenetic alteration in de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) usually found in young Asian patients and its description in therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN) is rare. Only one Asian case with molecular demonstration of the NUP98-HOXA9 fusion has been reported in therapy-related leukemia. NUP98-HOXA9 leukemogenic mechanism is derived from the transcription factor activity of the chimeric protein, which enhances the expression of genes related to cellular differentiation arrest and proliferation.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied a Caucasian woman with a therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia after Ewing's sarcoma. Molecular demonstration of the genetic fusion NUP98-HOXA9 was performed by RT-PCR, and gene expression was analyzed by real-time PCR, including four AML patients with MLL rearrangements for comparative analysis. Cytologic and flow cytometric analysis was also carried out.
RESULTS: After cytologic and flow cytometric analysis diagnostics was therapy-related myeloid neoplasm (t-MN). The major component of blasts in the acute leukemia was with neutrophilic differentiation, but 13% erythroid lineage blasts were also found. Cytogenetic and FISH analysis revealed t(7;11)(p15;p15) and NUP98-HOXA9 fusion gene was demonstrated. Gene expression analysis showed upregulation of EVI1 and MEIS1 in the index patient, both of them previously related to a worst outcome.
CONCLUSION: In this work, we include a detailed molecular, clinical, cytological, and cytometric study of the second t-AML bearing NUP98-HOXA9 genetic fusion.

Li N, Jia X, Wang J, et al.
Knockdown of homeobox A5 by small hairpin RNA inhibits proliferation and enhances cytarabine chemosensitivity of acute myeloid leukemia cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(5):6861-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homeobox genes encode transcription factors that are essential for embryonic morphogenesis and differentiation. Transcription factors containing the highly conserved homeobox motif show considerable promise as potential regulators of hematopoietic maturation events. Previous studies have suggested that the increased expression levels of homeobox (HOX)A genes was correlated with the cytogenetic findings associated with poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia and mixed lineage leukemia. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of HOXA5 in leukemia. The U937 human leukemia cell line was transfected with a HOXA5‑targeted short hairpin RNA (shRNA) to determine the effects of downregulation of the HOXA5 on proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle distribution and chemoresistance in leukemia cells. Reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analyses demonstrated that the mRNA and protein expression levels of HOXA5 were markedly suppressed following transfection with an shRNA‑containing vector. Knockdown of HOXA5 significantly inhibited cell proliferation, as determined by Cell Counting kit‑8 assay. Flow cytometry revealed that reduced HOXA5 expression levels resulted in cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase, and induced apoptosis. In addition, western blot analysis demonstrated that HOXA5 knockdown increased the expression levels of caspase‑3, and reduced the expression levels of survivin in the U937 cells. Furthermore, knockdown of HOXA5 in the U937 cells enhanced their chemosensitivity to cytarabine. The results of the present study suggested that downregulation of HOXA5 by shRNA may trigger apoptosis and overcome drug resistance in leukemia cells. Therefore, HOXA5 may serve as a potential target for developing novel therapeutic strategies for leukemia.

Abba MC, Gong T, Lu Y, et al.
A Molecular Portrait of High-Grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(18):3980-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive precursor lesion to invasive breast carcinoma. We still have no understanding on why only some DCIS lesions evolve to invasive cancer whereas others appear not to do so during the life span of the patient. Here, we performed full exome (tumor vs. matching normal), transcriptome, and methylome analysis of 30 pure high-grade DCIS (HG-DCIS) and 10 normal breast epithelial samples. Sixty-two percent of HG-DCIS cases displayed mutations affecting cancer driver genes or potential drivers. Mutations were observed affecting PIK3CA (21% of cases), TP53 (17%), GATA3 (7%), MLL3 (7%) and single cases of mutations affecting CDH1, MAP2K4, TBX3, NF1, ATM, and ARID1A. Significantly, 83% of lesions displayed numerous large chromosomal copy number alterations, suggesting they might precede selection of cancer driver mutations. Integrated pathway-based modeling analysis of RNA-seq data allowed us to identify two DCIS subgroups (DCIS-C1 and DCIS-C2) based on their tumor-intrinsic subtypes, proliferative, immune scores, and in the activity of specific signaling pathways. The more aggressive DCIS-C1 (highly proliferative, basal-like, or ERBB2(+)) displayed signatures characteristic of activated Treg cells (CD4(+)/CD25(+)/FOXP3(+)) and CTLA4(+)/CD86(+) complexes indicative of a tumor-associated immunosuppressive phenotype. Strikingly, all lesions showed evidence of TP53 pathway inactivation. Similarly, ncRNA and methylation profiles reproduce changes observed postinvasion. Among the most significant findings, we observed upregulation of lncRNA HOTAIR in DCIS-C1 lesions and hypermethylation of HOXA5 and SOX genes. We conclude that most HG-DCIS lesions, in spite of representing a preinvasive stage of tumor progression, displayed molecular profiles indistinguishable from invasive breast cancer.

Lee DH, Forscher C, Di Vizio D, Koeffler HP
Induction of p53-independent apoptosis by ectopic expression of HOXA5 in human liposarcomas.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:12580 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLPS) is a highly malignant subtype of human liposarcoma (LPS), whose genomic profile is characterized by chromosomal amplification at 12q13-q22. miR-26a-2 is one of the most frequently amplified genes in the region, and inhibition of its downstream target genes likely contributes to LPS tumorigenesis. Our previous study of LPS predicted homeobox protein A5 (HOXA5) as a target of miR-26a-2, and here we explored further the function of HOXA5, and its relationship with miR-26a-2 in DDLPS cells. Compared to normal human adipocytes, all LPS cell lines showed significant downregulation of HOXA5 (p = 0.046), and inhibition of miR-26a-2 using anti-miR-26a-2 substantially upregulated HOXA5 expression in these LPS cells. Interestingly, overexpression of HOXA5 alone induced very strong apoptotic response of LPS cells. HOXA5-induced apoptosis was p53-independent and caspase-dependent. Surprisingly, overexpression of HOXA5 induced nuclear translocation of RELA (p65), which was not associated with the transcriptional activity of RELA. Rather, nucleolar sequestration of RELA was observed. Overall, our study demonstrated for the first time that the downregulation of HOXA5 in LPS cells, partly by overexpression of miR-26a-2 in DDLPS, confers LPS cells resistance to apoptotic death. Further studies are required to understand the relationship of HOXA5 and the NFκB pathway in LPS cells.

Du J, Zhang L
Integrated analysis of DNA methylation and microRNA regulation of the lung adenocarcinoma transcriptome.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(2):585-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma, as a common type of non-small cell lung cancer (40%), poses a significant threat to public health worldwide. The present study aimed to determine the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms in lung adenocarcinoma. Illumina sequence data GSE 37764 including expression profiling, methylation profiling and non-coding RNA profiling of 6 never-smoker Korean female patients with non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma were obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Differentially methylated genes, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) between normal and tumor tissues of the same patients were screened with tools in R. Functional enrichment analysis of a variety of differential genes was performed. DEG-specific methylation and transcription factors (TFs) were analyzed with ENCODE ChIP-seq. The integrated regulatory network of DEGs, TFs and miRNAs was constructed. Several overlapping DEGs, such as v-ets avian erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog (ERG) were screened. DEGs were centrally modified by histones of tri-methylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27me3) and di-acetylation of lysine 12 or 20 on histone H2 (H2BK12/20AC). Upstream TFs of DEGs were enriched in different ChIP-seq clusters, such as glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). Two miRNAs (miR-126-3p and miR-30c-2-3p) and three TFs including homeobox A5 (HOXA5), Meis homeobox 1 (MEIS1) and T-box 5 (TBX5), played important roles in the integrated regulatory network conjointly. These DEGs, and DEG-related histone modifications, TFs and miRNAs may be important in the pathogenesis of lung adenocarcinoma. The present results may indicate directions for the next step in the study of the further elucidation and targeted prevention of lung adenocarcinoma.

Zhao P, Tan L, Ruan J, et al.
Aberrant Expression of HOXA5 and HOXA9 in AML.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(9):3941-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant expression of HOX gene expression has been observed in cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate the alteration of HOXA5 and HOXA9 expression and their clinical significance in acute meloid leukemia (AML).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression of HOXA5 and HOXA9 genes of bone marrow samples from 75 newly diagnosed AML patients and 22 healthy controls for comparison were examined by Real- time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR) assay. Statistical analysis was conducted to evaluate HOXA5 and HOXA9 expression as possible biomarkers for AML.
RESULTS: The results showed that the complete remission rate (52.6%) of the patients who highly expressed HOXA5 and HOXA9 was significantly lower than that (88.9%) in patients who lowly express the genes (P=0.015). Spearmann correlation coefficients indicated that the expression levels for HOXA5 and HOXA9 genes were highly interrelated (r=0.657, P<0.001). Meanwhile, we detected significant correlations between HOXA9 expression and age in this limited set of patients (P=0.009).
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest a prognostic impact of increased expression of HOXA5 and HOXA9 in AML patients.

Wang CC, Su KY, Chen HY, et al.
HOXA5 inhibits metastasis via regulating cytoskeletal remodelling and associates with prolonged survival in non-small-cell lung carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0124191 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Homeobox genes comprise a family of regulatory genes that contain a common homeobox domain and act as transcription factors. Recent studies indicate that homeobox A5 (HOXA5) may serve as a tumour suppressor gene in breast cancers. However, the precise role and the underlying mechanism of HOXA5 in lung cancer remain unclear. Oligonucleotide microarrays and an invasion/metastasis lung adenocarcinoma cell line model were used to determine the correlation between HOXA5 expression and cancer cell invasion ability. We found that ectopic expression of HOXA5 in highly invasive cancer cells suppressed cell migration, invasion, and filopodia formation in vitro and inhibited metastatic potential in vivo. Knockdown of HOXA5 promoted the invasiveness of lung cancer cells. In addition, HOXA5 expression was associated with better clinical outcome in non-small cell lung cancer patients with wild-type EGFR. Furthermore, genome-wide transcriptomic and pathway analyses were performed to identify the potential molecular mechanisms. Our data showed that HOXA5 may bind to the promoters of the cytoskeleton-related genes and downregulate their mRNA and protein expression levels. Our studies provide new insights into how HOXA5 may contribute to the suppression of metastasis in lung cancer via cytoskeleton remodelling regulation. Therefore, targeted induction of HOXA5 may represent a promising approach for non-small-cell lung cancer therapy.

Wang Y, Xu L, Jiang L
miR-1271 promotes non-small-cell lung cancer cell proliferation and invasion via targeting HOXA5.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 458(3):714-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs (∼ 22 nt) that play important roles in the pathogenesis of human diseases by negatively regulating numerous target genes at posttranscriptional level. However, the role of microRNAs in lung cancer, particularly non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), has remained elusive. In this study, two microRNAs, miR-1271 and miR-628, and their predicted target genes were identified differentially expressed in NSCLC by analyzing the miRNA and mRNA expression data from NSCLC tissues and their matching normal controls. miR-1271 and its target gene HOXA5 were selected for further investigation. CCK-8 proliferation assay showed that the cell proliferation was promoted by miR-1271 in NSCLC cells, while miR-1271 inhibitor could significantly inhibited the proliferation of NSCLC cells. Interestingly, migration and invasion assay indicated that overexpression of miR-1271 could significantly promoted the migration and invasion of NSCLC cells, whereas miR-1271 inhibitor could inhibited both cell migration and invasion of NSCLC cells. Western blot showed that miR-1271 suppressed the protein level of HOXA5, and luciferase assays confirmed that miR-1271 directly bound to the 3'untranslated region of HOXA5. This study indicated indicate that miR-1271 regulates NSCLC cell proliferation and invasion, via the down-regulation of HOXA5. Thus, miR-1271 may represent a potential therapeutic target for NSCLC intervention.

Musialik E, Bujko M, Kober P, et al.
Promoter DNA methylation and expression levels of HOXA4, HOXA5 and MEIS1 in acute myeloid leukemia.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 11(5):3948-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
HOXA genes encode transcription factors, which are crucial for embryogenesis and tissue differentiation and are involved in the early stages of hematopoiesis. Aberrations in HOXA genes and their cofactor MEIS1 are found in human neoplasms, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The present study investigated the role of HOXA4, HOXA5 and MEIS1 promoter DNA methylation and mRNA expression in AML. Samples from 78 AML patients and 12 normal bone marrow (BM) samples were included. The levels of promoter DNA methylation were determined using quantitative methylation‑specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR; qMSP) and the relative expression levels were measured using reverse transcription quantitative PCR in Ficoll‑separated BM mononuclear cells and in fluorescent activated cell sorting‑sorted populations of normal hematopoietic progenitors. In total, 38.1 and 28.9% of the patients exhibited high methylation levels of HOXA4 and HOXA5, respectively, compared with the control samples, and MEIS1 methylation was almost absent. An inverse correlation between HOXA4 methylation and expression was identified in a group of patients with a normal karyotype (NK AML). An association between the genes was observed and correlation between the DNA methylation and expression levels of the HOXA gene promoter with the expression of MEIS1 was observed. Patients with favorable chromosomal aberrations revealed a low level of HOXA4 methylation and decreased expression levels of HOXA5 and MEIS1 compared with the NK AML and the adverse cytogenetic risk patients. The NK AML patients with NPM1 mutations exhibited elevated HOXA4 methylation and expression levels of HOXA5 and MEIS1 compared with the NPM1 wild‑type patients. Comparison of the undifferentiated BM‑derived hematopoietic CD34+CD38low, CD34+CD38+ and CD15+ cells revealed a gradual decrease in the expression levels of these three genes and an increase in HOXA4 promoter methylation. This differentiation‑associated variability was not observed in AML, which was classified according to the French‑American‑British system.

Zhang ML, Nie FQ, Sun M, et al.
HOXA5 indicates poor prognosis and suppresses cell proliferation by regulating p21 expression in non small cell lung cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(5):3521-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homeobox genes, a superfamily of evolutionarily conserved developmental genes, function as critical master regulatory factors in controlling body plan specification and cell fate determination. Recently, a substantial body of evidence indicates that the aberrant Homeobox (HOX) genes also play key roles in the development of cancers. Many reports have shown not only that HOX gene expression is upregulated or downregulated in many cancers but also that the expression of specific HOX genes tends to differ based on tissue type. Homeobox A5 (HOXA5) is a master regulator of the morphogenesis and cell differentiation, and its expression is also downregulated in many cancers mediated by DNA methylation. However, its biological role and clinical significance in nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) development and progression are not well documented. In this study, we found that expression levels of HOXA5 were significantly decreased in NSCLC tissues compared with adjacent normal tissues. Its expression level was significantly correlated with tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stages, tumor size, and lymph node metastasis. Moreover, patients with lower levels of HOXA5 expression had a relatively poor prognosis. Furthermore, ectopic overexpression of HOXA5 could inhibit cell proliferation and invasion, while knockdown HOXA5 by siRNA promoted cell proliferation in NSCLC cells partly via regulating p21 expression. Our findings present that decreased HOXA5 could be identified as a poor prognostic biomarker in NSCLC and regulate cell proliferation and invasion.

Conway K, Edmiston SN, May R, et al.
DNA methylation profiling in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study defines cancer subclasses differing in clinicopathologic characteristics and survival.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(5):450 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, with several intrinsic subtypes differing by hormone receptor (HR) status, molecular profiles, and prognosis. However, the role of DNA methylation in breast cancer development and progression and its relationship with the intrinsic tumor subtypes are not fully understood.
METHODS: A microarray targeting promoters of cancer-related genes was used to evaluate DNA methylation at 935 CpG sites in 517 breast tumors from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, a population-based study of invasive breast cancer.
RESULTS: Consensus clustering using methylation (β) values for the 167 most variant CpG loci defined four clusters differing most distinctly in HR status, intrinsic subtype (luminal versus basal-like), and p53 mutation status. Supervised analyses for HR status, subtype, and p53 status identified 266 differentially methylated CpG loci with considerable overlap. Genes relatively hypermethylated in HR+, luminal A, or p53 wild-type breast cancers included FABP3, FGF2, FZD9, GAS7, HDAC9, HOXA11, MME, PAX6, POMC, PTGS2, RASSF1, RBP1, and SCGB3A1, whereas those more highly methylated in HR-, basal-like, or p53 mutant tumors included BCR, C4B, DAB2IP, MEST, RARA, SEPT5, TFF1, THY1, and SERPINA5. Clustering also defined a hypermethylated luminal-enriched tumor cluster 3 that gene ontology analysis revealed to be enriched for homeobox and other developmental genes (ASCL2, DLK1, EYA4, GAS7, HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXB13, IHH, IPF1, ISL1, PAX6, TBX1, SOX1, and SOX17). Although basal-enriched cluster 2 showed worse short-term survival, the luminal-enriched cluster 3 showed worse long-term survival but was not independently prognostic in multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis, likely due to the mostly early stage cases in this dataset.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that epigenetic patterns are strongly associated with HR status, subtype, and p53 mutation status and may show heterogeneity within tumor subclass. Among HR+ breast tumors, a subset exhibiting a gene signature characterized by hypermethylation of developmental genes and poorer clinicopathologic features may have prognostic value and requires further study. Genes differentially methylated between clinically important tumor subsets have roles in differentiation, development, and tumor growth and may be critical to establishing and maintaining tumor phenotypes and clinical outcomes.

Thanasopoulou A, Tzankov A, Schwaller J
Potent co-operation between the NUP98-NSD1 fusion and the FLT3-ITD mutation in acute myeloid leukemia induction.
Haematologica. 2014; 99(9):1465-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The NUP98-NSD1 fusion, product of the t(5;11)(q35;p15.5) chromosomal translocation, is one of the most prevalent genetic alterations in cytogenetically normal pediatric acute myeloid leukemias and is associated with poor prognosis. Co-existence of an FLT3-ITD activating mutation has been found in more than 70% of NUP98-NSD1-positive patients. To address functional synergism, we determined the transforming potential of retrovirally expressed NUP98-NSD1 and FLT3-ITD in the mouse. Expression of NUP98-NSD1 provided mouse strain-dependent, aberrant self-renewal potential to bone marrow progenitor cells. Co-expression of FLT3-ITD increased proliferation and maintained self-renewal in vitro. Transplantation of immortalized progenitors co-expressing NUP98-NSD1 and FLT3-ITD into mice resulted in acute myeloid leukemia after a short latency. In contrast, neither NUP98-NSD1 nor FLT3-ITD single transduced cells were able to initiate leukemia. Interestingly, as reported for patients carrying NUP98-NSD1, an increased Flt3-ITD to wild-type Flt3 mRNA expression ratio with increased FLT3-signaling was associated with rapidly induced disease. In contrast, there was no difference in the expression levels of the NUP98-NSD1 fusion or its proposed targets HoxA5, HoxA7, HoxA9 or HoxA10 between animals with different latencies to develop disease. Finally, leukemic cells co-expressing NUP98-NSD1 and FLT3-ITD were very sensitive to a small molecule FLT3 inhibitor, which underlines the significance of aberrant FLT3 signaling for NUP98-NSD1-positive leukemias and suggests new therapeutic approaches that could potentially improve patient outcome.

Loh M, Liem N, Vaithilingam A, et al.
DNA methylation subgroups and the CpG island methylator phenotype in gastric cancer: a comprehensive profiling approach.
BMC Gastroenterol. 2014; 14:55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Methylation-induced silencing of promoter CpG islands in tumor suppressor genes plays an important role in human carcinogenesis. In colorectal cancer, the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is defined as widespread and elevated levels of DNA methylation and CIMP+ tumors have distinctive clinicopathological and molecular features. In contrast, the existence of a comparable CIMP subtype in gastric cancer (GC) has not been clearly established. To further investigate this issue, in the present study we performed comprehensive DNA methylation profiling of a well-characterised series of primary GC.
METHODS: The methylation status of 1,421 autosomal CpG sites located within 768 cancer-related genes was investigated using the Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Panel I assay on DNA extracted from 60 gastric tumors and matched tumor-adjacent gastric tissue pairs. Methylation data was analysed using a recursively partitioned mixture model and investigated for associations with clinicopathological and molecular features including age, Helicobacter pylori status, tumor site, patient survival, microsatellite instability and BRAF and KRAS mutations.
RESULTS: A total of 147 genes were differentially methylated between tumor and matched tumor-adjacent gastric tissue, with HOXA5 and hedgehog signalling being the top-ranked gene and signalling pathway, respectively. Unsupervised clustering of methylation data revealed the existence of 6 subgroups under two main clusters, referred to as L (low methylation; 28% of cases) and H (high methylation; 72%). Female patients were over-represented in the H tumor group compared to L group (36% vs 6%; P = 0.024), however no other significant differences in clinicopathological or molecular features were apparent. CpG sites that were hypermethylated in group H were more frequently located in CpG islands and marked for polycomb occupancy.
CONCLUSIONS: High-throughput methylation analysis implicates genes involved in embryonic development and hedgehog signaling in gastric tumorigenesis. GC is comprised of two major methylation subtypes, with the highly methylated group showing some features consistent with a CpG island methylator phenotype.

Martínez R, Carmona FJ, Vizoso M, et al.
DNA methylation alterations in grade II- and anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:213 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is a rare WHO grade II tumor accounting for less than 1% of all astrocytomas. Malignant transformation into PXA with anaplastic features, is unusual and correlates with poorer outcome of the patients.
METHODS: Using a DNA methylation custom array, we have quantified the DNA methylation level on the promoter sequence of 807 cancer-related genes of WHO grade II (n = 11) and III PXA (n = 2) and compared to normal brain tissue (n = 10) and glioblastoma (n = 87) samples. DNA methylation levels were further confirmed on independent samples by pyrosequencing of the promoter sequences.
RESULTS: Increasing DNA promoter hypermethylation events were observed in anaplastic PXA as compared with grade II samples. We further validated differential hypermethylation of CD81, HCK, HOXA5, ASCL2 and TES on anaplastic PXA and grade II tumors. Moreover, these epigenetic alterations overlap those described in glioblastoma patients, suggesting common mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Even taking into consideration the small size of our patient populations, our data strongly suggest that epigenome-wide profiling of PXA is a valuable tool to identify methylated genes, which may play a role in the malignant progression of PXA. These methylation alterations may provide useful biomarkers for decision-making in those patients with low-grade PXA displaying a high risk of malignant transformation.

Sengupta S, Weeraratne SD, Sun H, et al.
α5-GABAA receptors negatively regulate MYC-amplified medulloblastoma growth.
Acta Neuropathol. 2014; 127(4):593-603 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neural tumors often express neurotransmitter receptors as markers of their developmental lineage. Although these receptors have been well characterized in electrophysiological, developmental and pharmacological settings, their importance in the maintenance and progression of brain tumors and, importantly, the effect of their targeting in brain cancers remains obscure. Here, we demonstrate high levels of GABRA5, which encodes the α5-subunit of the GABAA receptor complex, in aggressive MYC-driven, "Group 3" medulloblastomas. We hypothesized that modulation of α5-GABAA receptors alters medulloblastoma cell survival and monitored biological and electrophysiological responses of GABRA5-expressing medulloblastoma cells upon pharmacological targeting of the GABAA receptor. While antagonists, inverse agonists and non-specific positive allosteric modulators had limited effects on medulloblastoma cells, a highly specific and potent α5-GABAA receptor agonist, QHii066, resulted in marked membrane depolarization and a significant decrease in cell survival. This effect was GABRA5 dependent and mediated through the induction of apoptosis as well as accumulation of cells in S and G2 phases of the cell cycle. Chemical genomic profiling of QHii066-treated medulloblastoma cells confirmed inhibition of MYC-related transcriptional activity and revealed an enrichment of HOXA5 target gene expression. siRNA-mediated knockdown of HOXA5 markedly blunted the response of medulloblastoma cells to QHii066. Furthermore, QHii066 sensitized GABRA5 positive medulloblastoma cells to radiation and chemotherapy consistent with the role of HOXA5 in directly regulating p53 expression and inducing apoptosis. Thus, our results provide novel insights into the synthetic lethal nature of α5-GABAA receptor activation in MYC-driven/Group 3 medulloblastomas and propose its targeting as a novel strategy for the management of this highly aggressive tumor.

Chung J, Karkhanis V, Tae S, et al.
Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) inhibition induces lymphoma cell death through reactivation of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor pathway and polycomb repressor complex 2 (PRC2) silencing.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(49):35534-47 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epigenetic regulation mediated by lysine- and arginine-specific enzymes plays an essential role in tumorigenesis, and enhanced expression of the type II protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 as well as the polycomb repressor complex PRC2 has been associated with increased cell proliferation and survival. Here, we show that PRMT5 is overexpressed in three different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines and clinical samples as well as in mouse primary lymphoma cells and that it up-regulates PRC2 expression through inactivation of the retinoblastoma proteins RB1 and RBL2. Although PRMT5 epigenetically controls RBL2 expression, it indirectly promotes RB1 phosphorylation through enhanced cyclin D1 expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PRMT5 knockdown in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines and mouse primary lymphoma cells leads to RBL2 derepression and RB1 reactivation, which in turn inhibit PRC2 expression and trigger derepression of its CASP10, DAP1, HOXA5, and HRK pro-apoptotic target genes. We also show that reduced PRMT5 expression leads to cyclin D1 transcriptional repression via loss of TP53K372 methylation, which results in decreased BCL3 expression and enhanced recruitment of NF-κB p52-HDAC1 repressor complexes to the cyclin D1 promoter. These findings indicate that PRMT5 is a master epigenetic regulator that governs expression of its own target genes and those regulated by PRC2 and that its inhibition could offer a promising therapeutic strategy for lymphoma patients.

Liu XH, Liu ZL, Sun M, et al.
The long non-coding RNA HOTAIR indicates a poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:464 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The identification of cancer-associated long non-coding RNAs and the investigation of their molecular and biological functions are important for understanding the molecular biology and progression of cancer. HOTAIR (HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA) has been implicated in several cancers; however, its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unknown. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression pattern of HOTAIR in NSCLC and to evaluate its biological role and clinical significance in tumor progression.
METHODS: Expression of HOTAIR was analyzed in 42 NSCLC tissues and four NSCLC cell lines by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Over-expression and RNA interference (RNAi) approaches were used to investigate the biological functions of HOTAIR. The effect of HOTAIR on proliferation was evaluated by MTT and colony formation assays, and cell migration and invasion were evaluated by transwell assays. Tail vein injection of cells was used to study metastasis in nude mice. Protein levels of HOTAIR targets were determined by western blot analysis. Differences between groups were tested for significance using Student's t-test (two-tailed).
RESULTS: HOTAIR was highly expressed both in NSCLC samples and cell lines compared with corresponding normal counterparts. HOTAIR upregulation was correlated with NSCLC advanced pathological stage and lymph-node metastasis. Moreover, patients with high levels of HOTAIR expression had a relatively poor prognosis. Inhibition of HOTAIR by RNAi decreased the migration and invasion of NSCLC cells in vitro and impeded cell metastasis in vivo. HOXA5 levels were affected by HOTAIR knockdown or over-expression in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that HOTAIR is significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissues, and regulates NSCLC cell invasion and metastasis, partially via the down-regulation of HOXA5. Thus, HOTAIR may represent a new marker of poor prognosis and is a potential therapeutic target for NSCLC intervention.

Kang JU
Characterization of amplification patterns and target genes on the short arm of chromosome 7 in early-stage lung adenocarcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2013; 8(5):1373-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal alterations are a predominant genomic force contributing to the development of lung adenocarcinoma (ADC). High density genomic arrays were conducted to identify critical genetic landmarks that may be important mediators in the formation or progression of early‑stage ADC. In this study, the most noteworthy and consistent observation was a copy number gain on the short arm of chromosome 7, which was detected in 85.7% (12/14) of cases. Notably, three distinct regions of amplification were identified between the 7p22.3 and q11.2 regions in 28.6% (4/14) of cases; at a size of 4.1 Mbp (7p22.3‑p21.1), 2.6 Mbp (7p15.2-p14.1) and 1.5 Mbp (7p12.3‑p11.2). Variations of the 7p11.2 locus that encodes EGFR are known to be oncogenic. Furthermore, potential target genes were identified that were previously not assumed to be involved in the pathogenesis of ADC, including CALM1P2 (7p11.2), HOXA4, HOXA5, HOXA6, HOXA7, HOXA9, HOXA10, HOXA11 and HOXA13 (7p15.2) and LOC442586, LOC442589, LOC442282, FAM20C and LOC442651 (7p22.3). The present study determined critical regions on the 7p arm of chromosome 7, which were implicated in ADC. The pattern of rearrangements on the 7p arm may be a consequence of the high density of potential targets and the identified genes at the 7p regions may aid in the development of therapeutic targets for ADC.

Asuthkar S, Stepanova V, Lebedeva T, et al.
Multifunctional roles of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in cancer stemness and chemoresistance of pancreatic cancer.
Mol Biol Cell. 2013; 24(17):2620-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost always lethal. One of the underlying reasons for this lethality is believed to be the presence of cancer stem cells (CSC), which impart chemoresistance and promote recurrence, but the mechanisms responsible are unclear. Recently the poor prognosis of PDAC has been correlated with increased expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). In the present study we examine the role of uPA in the generation of PDAC CSC. We observe a subset of cells identifiable as a side population (SP) when sorted by flow cytometry of MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells that possess the properties of CSC. A large fraction of these SP cells are CD44 and CD24 positive, are gemcitabine resistant, possess sphere-forming ability, and exhibit increased tumorigenicity, known characteristics of cancer stemness. Increased tumorigenicity and gemcitabine resistance decrease after suppression of uPA. We observe that uPA interacts directly with transcription factors LIM homeobox-2 (Lhx2), homeobox transcription factor A5 (HOXA5), and Hey to possibly promote cancer stemness. uPA regulates Lhx2 expression by suppressing expression of miR-124 and p53 expression by repressing its promoter by inactivating HOXA5. These results demonstrate that regulation of gene transcription by uPA contributes to cancer stemness and clinical lethality.

Calero-Nieto FJ, Joshi A, Bonadies N, et al.
HOX-mediated LMO2 expression in embryonic mesoderm is recapitulated in acute leukaemias.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(48):5471-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Lim Domain Only 2 (LMO2) leukaemia oncogene encodes an LIM domain transcriptional cofactor required for early haematopoiesis. During embryogenesis, LMO2 is also expressed in developing tail and limb buds, an expression pattern we now show to be recapitulated in transgenic mice by an enhancer in LMO2 intron 4. Limb bud expression depended on a cluster of HOX binding sites, while posterior tail expression required the HOX sites and two E-boxes. Given the importance of both LMO2 and HOX genes in acute leukaemias, we further demonstrated that the regulatory hierarchy of HOX control of LMO2 is activated in leukaemia mouse models as well as in patient samples. Moreover, Lmo2 knock-down impaired the growth of leukaemic cells, and high LMO2 expression at diagnosis correlated with poor survival in cytogenetically normal AML patients. Taken together, these results establish a regulatory hierarchy of HOX control of LMO2 in normal development, which can be resurrected during leukaemia development. Redeployment of embryonic regulatory hierarchies in an aberrant context is likely to be relevant in human pathologies beyond the specific example of ectopic activation of LMO2.

Otto B, Streichert T, Wegwitz F, et al.
Transcription factors link mouse WAP-T mammary tumors with human breast cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2013; 132(6):1311-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mouse models are important tools to decipher the molecular mechanisms of mammary carcinogenesis and to mimic the respective human disease. Despite sharing common phenotypic and genetic features, the proper translation of murine models to human breast cancer remains a challenging task. In a previous study we showed that in the SV40 transgenic WAP-T mice an active Met-pathway and epithelial-mesenchymal characteristics distinguish low- and high-grade mammary carcinoma. To assign these murine tumors to corresponding human tumors we here incorporated the analysis of expression of transcription factor (TF) coding genes and show that thereby a more accurate interspecies translation can be achieved. We describe a novel cross-species translation procedure and demonstrate that expression of unsupervised selected TFs, such as ELF5, HOXA5 and TFCP2L1, can clearly distinguish between the human molecular breast cancer subtypes--or as, for example, expression of TFAP2B between yet unclassified subgroups. By integrating different levels of information like histology, gene set enrichment, expression of differentiation markers and TFs we conclude that tumors in WAP-T mice exhibit similarities to both, human basal-like and non-basal-like subtypes. We furthermore suggest that the low- and high-grade WAP-T tumor phenotypes might arise from distinct cells of tumor origin. Our results underscore the importance of TFs as common cross-species denominators in the regulatory networks underlying mammary carcinogenesis.

Kachgal S, Mace KA, Boudreau NJ
The dual roles of homeobox genes in vascularization and wound healing.
Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Nov-Dec; 6(6):457-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Homeobox genes represent a family of highly conserved transcription factors originally discovered to regulate organ patterning during development. More recently, several homeobox genes were shown to affect processes in adult tissue, including angiogenesis and wound healing. Whereas a subset of members of the Hox-family of homeobox genes activate growth and migration to promote angiogenesis or wound healing, other Hox genes function to restore or maintain quiescent, differentiated tissue function. Pathological tissue remodeling is linked to differential expression of activating or stabilizing Hox genes and dysregulation of Hox expression can contribute to disease progression. Studies aimed at understanding the role and regulation of Hox genes have provided insight into how these potent morphoregulatory genes can be applied to enhance tissue engineering or limit cancer progression.

Novak RL, Harper DP, Caudell D, et al.
Gene expression profiling and candidate gene resequencing identifies pathways and mutations important for malignant transformation caused by leukemogenic fusion genes.
Exp Hematol. 2012; 40(12):1016-27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) and CALM-AF10 (CA10) are oncogenic fusion proteins produced by recurrent chromosomal translocations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Transgenic mice that express these fusions develop AML with a long latency and incomplete penetrance, suggesting that collaborating genetic events are required for leukemic transformation. We employed genetic techniques to identify both preleukemic abnormalities in healthy transgenic mice as well as collaborating events leading to leukemic transformation. Candidate gene resequencing revealed that 6 of 27 (22%) CA10 AMLs spontaneously acquired a Ras pathway mutation and 8 of 27 (30%) acquired an Flt3 mutation. Two CA10 AMLs acquired an Flt3 internal-tandem duplication, demonstrating that these mutations can be acquired in murine as well as human AML. Gene expression profiles revealed a marked upregulation of Hox genes, particularly Hoxa5, Hoxa9, and Hoxa10 in both NHD13 and CA10 mice. Furthermore, mir196b, which is embedded within the Hoxa locus, was overexpressed in both CA10 and NHD13 samples. In contrast, the Hox cofactors Meis1 and Pbx3 were differentially expressed; Meis1 was increased in CA10 AMLs but not NHD13 AMLs, whereas Pbx3 was consistently increased in NHD13 but not CA10 AMLs. Silencing of Pbx3 in NHD13 cells led to decreased proliferation, increased apoptosis, and decreased colony formation in vitro, suggesting a previously unexpected role for Pbx3 in leukemic transformation.

Liu XH, Lu KH, Wang KM, et al.
MicroRNA-196a promotes non-small cell lung cancer cell proliferation and invasion through targeting HOXA5.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:348 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs (~22 nt) that play important roles in the pathogenesis of human diseases by negatively regulating gene expression. Although miR-196a has been implicated in several other cancers, its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unknown. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression pattern of miR-196a in NSCLC and its clinical significance, as well as its biological role in tumor progression.
METHODS: Expression of miR-196a was analyzed in 34 NSCLC tissues and five NSCLC cell lines by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The effect of DNA methylation on miR-196a expression was investigated by 5-aza-2-deoxy-cytidine treatment and bisulfite sequencing. The effect of miR-196a on proliferation was evaluated by MTT and colony formation assays, and cell migration and invasion were evaluated by transwell assays. Analysis of target protein expression was determined by western blotting. Luciferase reporter plasmids were constructed to confirm the action of miR-196a on downstream target genes, including HOXA5. Differences between the results were tested for significance using Student's t-test (two-tailed).
RESULTS: miR-196a was highly expressed both in NSCLC samples and cell lines compared with their corresponding normal counterparts, and the expression of miR-196a may be affected by DNA demethylation. Higher expression of miR-196a in NSCLC tissues was associated with a higher clinical stage, and also correlated with NSCLC lymph-node metastasis. In vitro functional assays demonstrated that modulation of miR-196a expression affected NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Our analysis showed that miR-196a suppressed the expression of HOXA5 both at the mRNA and protein levels, and luciferase assays confirmed that miR-196a directly bound to the 3'untranslated region of HOXA5. Knockdown of HOXA5 expression in A549 cells using RNAi was shown to promote NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Finally, we observed an inverse correlation between HOXA5 and miR-196a expression in NSCLC tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that miR-196a is significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissues, and regulates NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion, partially via the down-regulation of HOXA5. Thus, miR-196a may represent a potential therapeutic target for NSCLC intervention.

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