MicroRNA-26a/cyclin-dependent kinase 5 axis controls proliferation, apoptosis and in vivo tumor growth of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cell lines

Floriana Maria Farina, Alessandra Inguscio, Paolo Kunderfranco, Alice Cortesi, Leonardo Elia, Manuela Quintavalle

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Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most frequent type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Despite a favorable therapeutic response to first-line chemo-immunotherapy, still 30-40% of patients is refractory, or relapse after this treatment. Thus, alternative strategies must be sought. Previous studies have indicated that cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5), a serine/threonine protein kinase, is involved in tumor development and progression, and it may represent a potential therapeutic target. However, its role in modulating DLBCL growth and progression remains largely unexplored. In this study, we show that CDK5 and its activator, cyclin-dependent kinase 5 activator 1 (CDK5R1 or p35), are overexpressed in DLBCL cell lines and that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation and activity is dependent on CDK5 expression in DLBCL. Using public data sets, we also demonstrate that patients with DLBCL show a higher expression of CDK5 compared with healthy individuals. By using loss-of-function approaches, we demonstrate that CDK5's activity regulates proliferation and survival of DLBCL cells. MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulating gene expression and are involved in cancer initiation and progression. We identify miR-26a as direct regulator of p35 expression and CDK5 activity. We show that miR-26a expression is lower in DLBCL cell lines compared to B lymphocytes and that its ectopic expression leads to a drastic reduction of DLBCL tumor growth in vivo and decreased proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and survival in vitro. Remarkably, concomitant overexpression of a 3'-UTR-truncated form of p35 promoted tumor growth in vivo and cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and cell survival in vitro. In conclusion, these results demonstrate an important role for miR-26a and CDK5 together in the survival and growth of DLBCL cells, suggesting the existence of potential novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of DLBCL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2890
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2017


  • Journal Article


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