Lin28A is a highly conserved RNA-binding protein that concurs to control the balance between stemness and differentiation in several tissue lineages. Here, we report the role of miR-128a/Lin28A axis in blocking cell differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a genetically heterogeneous disease characterized by abnormally controlled proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells accompanied by partial or total inability to undergo terminal differentiation. First, we found Lin28A underexpressed in blast cells from AML patients and AML cell lines as compared with CD34+ normal precursors. In vitro transfection of Lin28A in NPM1-mutated OCI-AML3 cell line significantly triggered cell-cycle arrest and myeloid differentiation, with increased expression of macrophage associate genes (EGR2, ZFP36 and ANXA1). Furthermore, miR-128a, a negative regulator of Lin28A, was found overexpressed in AML cells compared with normal precursors, especially in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and in 'AML with maturation' (according to 2016 WHO classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia). Its forced overexpression by lentiviral infection in OCI-AML3 downregulated Lin28A with ensuing repression of macrophage-oriented differentiation. Finally, knockdown of miR-128a in OCI-AML3 and in APL/AML leukemic cells (by transfection and lentiviral infection, respectively) induced myeloid cell differentiation and increased expression of Lin28A, EGR2, ZFP36 and ANXA1, reverting myeloid differentiation blockage. In conclusion, our findings revealed a new mechanism for AML differentiation blockage, suggesting new strategies for AML therapy based upon miR-128a inhibition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research