MiR-1285-3p controls colorectal cancer proliferation and escape from apoptosis through DAPK2

Lidia Villanova, Chiara Barbini, Cristina Piccolo, Alessandra Boe, Ruggero De Maria, Micol Eleonora Fiori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MicroRNAs are tiny but powerful regulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Aberrant expression of oncogenic and tumor-suppressor microRNAs has been recognized as a common feature of human cancers. Colorectal cancer represents a major clinical challenge in the developed world and the design of innovative therapeutic approaches relies on the identification of novel biological targets. Here, we perform a functional screening in colorectal cancer cells using a library of locked nucleic acid (LNA)-modified anti-miRs in order to unveil putative oncogenic microRNAs whose inhibition yields a cytotoxic effect. We identify miR-1285-3p and further explore the effect of its targeting in both commercial cell lines and primary colorectal cancer stem cells, finding induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. We show that DAPK2, a known tumor-suppressor, is a novel miR-1285 target and mediates both the anti-proliferative and the pro-apoptotic effects of miR-1285 depletion. Altogether, our findings uncover a novel oncogenic microRNA in colorectal cancer and lay the foundation for further studies aiming at the development of possible therapeutic strategies based on miR-1285 targeting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2423
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Cell cycle
  • Colorectal cancer
  • DAPK2
  • LNAs
  • MicroRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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