In an attempt to reveal deregulated miRNAs associated with the progression of carcinomas developed in BALB-neuT transgenic mice, we found increased expression of miR-135b during malignancy. Relevantly, we observed that miR-135b is up-regulated in basal or normal-like human breast cancers, and it correlates with patient survival and early metastatization. Therefore, we investigated its biological functions by modulating its expression (up- or down-regulation) in mammary tumor cells. Although no effect was observed on proliferation in cell culture and in orthotopically injected mice, miR-135b was able to control cancer cell stemness in a mammosphere assay, anchorage-independent growth in vitro, and lung cancer cell dissemination in mice after tail vein injections. Focusing on the miR-135b molecular mechanism, we observed that miR-135b controls malignancy via its direct targets, midline 1 (MID1) and mitochondrial carrier homolog 2 (MTCH2), as proved by biochemical and functional rescuing/phenocopying experiments. Consistently, an anti-correlation between miR-135b and MID1 or MTCH2 was found in human primary tumor samples. In conclusion, our research led us to the identification of miR-135b and its targets, MID1 and MTCH2, as relevant coordinators of mammary gland tumor progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine