The various roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in controlling the phenotype of cancer cells are the focus of contemporary research efforts. We have recently shown that miR-17 directly targets the ADAR1 gene and thereby enhances melanoma cell aggressiveness. miR-17 and miR-20a belong to the miR-17/92 complex, and their mature forms are identical except for two non-seed nucleotides. Nevertheless, herewe show that these two miRNAs carry markedly different effects on melanoma cells. A strong positive correlation was observed between the expression of miR-17 and miR-20a among various melanoma cultures. Luciferase assays showed that miR-17 but not miR-20a directly targets the 3' untranslated region of the ADAR1 gene. Ectopic expression of these miRNAs in melanoma cells differentially alters the expression of five exemplar TargetScan-predicted target genes: ADAR1, ITGB8, TGFBR2, MMP2 and VEGF-A. Whole-genome expression microarrays confirm a markedly differential effect on the transcriptome. Functionally, over-expression of miR-20a but not of miR-17 in melanoma cells inhibits net proliferation in vitro. The differential functional effect was observed following ectopic expression of the mature miRNA or of the premiRNA sequences. This suggests that the two non-seed nucleotides dictate target sequence recognition and overall functional relevance. These miRNAs are clearly not redundant in melanoma cell biology.
- Differential regulation
- MiR-17-92 cluster