Numerous studies have described the critical role played by microRNAs (miRNAs) in cancer progression and the potential of these small non-coding RNAs for diagnostic or therapeutic applications. However, the mechanisms responsible for the altered expression of miRNAs in malignant cells remain poorly understood. Herein, via epigenetic unmasking, we identified a group of miRNAs located in the imprinted delta like non-canonical Notch ligand 1 (DLK1)-maternally expressed 3 (MEG3) locus that were repressed in hepatic tumor cells. Notably, miR-493-5p epigenetic silencing was correlated with hypermethylation of the MEG3 differentially regulated region (DMR) in liver cancer cell lines and tumor tissues from patients. Experimental rescue of miR-493-5p promoted an anti-cancer response by hindering hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell growth in vitro and tumor progression in vivo. We found that miR-493-5p mediated part of its tumor-suppressor activity by abrogating overexpression of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and the IGF2-derived intronic oncomir miR-483-3p in HCC cells characterized by IGF2 loss of imprinting (LOI). In summary, this study describes an unknown miRNA-dependent regulatory mechanism between two distinct imprinted loci and a possible therapeutic window for liver cancer patients exhibiting IGF2-miR-483 LOI and amplification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research