Reduced levels of specific microRNA in cancer are frequently reported and associated with attenuated cancer genes and associated pathways. We previously reported a loss of miR-124a in glioblastoma (GBM) patient specimens; however, the upstream causes of this loss are largely unknown. Loss of miR-124a has been attributed to hypermethylation while other studies have shown miR-124a to be regulated by the repressor-element-1-silencing transcription factor (REST, also known as neuron-restrictive silencing factor). This current study looked at both epigenetic and transcription factor regulation as potential mechanisms resulting in the loss of miR-124a expression in GBM patient specimens and cell lines. Hypermethylation of miR-124a was observed in 82% of GBMpatient specimens (n=56). In vitro miR-124a expression levels also increased after treatment of several patient-derived cell lines with 5-aza-2?-deoxycytidine. Additionally, we also demonstrated a positive interaction between REST activity and miR-124a using a luciferase-binding assay and we correlated the reciprocal expression of REST and miR-124a in our clinical cohort. This result indicates that miR-124a expression may also be modulated through the upstream targeting of REST. Preclinical studies involving inhibitors of RESTand treatment with demethylating agents with the intent to increase miR-124a levels could be interesting.
- Glioblastoma (GBM)
- Repressor element-1-silencing transcription factor (REST)