The MIR-27a-calreticulin axis affects drug-induced immunogenic cell death in human colorectal cancer cells

T. Colangelo, G. Polcaro, P. Ziccardi, L. Muccillo, M. Galgani, B. Pucci, M. Rita Milone, A. Budillon, M. Santopaolo, G. Mazzoccoli, G. Matarese, L. Sabatino, V. Colantuoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunogenic cell death (ICD) evoked by chemotherapeutic agents implies emission of selected damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMP) such as cell surface exposure of calreticulin, secretion of ATP and HMGB1. We sought to verify whether miR-27a is implicated in ICD, having demonstrated that it directly targets calreticulin. To this goal, we exposed colorectal cancer cell lines, genetically modified to express high or low miR-27a levels, to two bona fide ICD inducers (mitoxantrone and oxaliplatin). Low miR-27a-expressing cells displayed more ecto-calreticulin on the cell surface and increased ATP and HMGB1 secretion than high miR-27a-expressing ones in time-course experiments upon drug exposure. A calreticulin target protector counteracted the miR-27a effects while specific siRNAs mimicked them, confirming the results reported. In addition, miR-27a negatively influenced the PERK-mediated route and the late PI3K-dependent secretory step of the unfolded protein response to endoplasmic reticulum stress, suggesting that miR-27a modulates the entire ICD program. Interestingly, upon chemotherapeutic exposure, low miR-27a levels associated with an earlier and stronger induction of apoptosis and with morphological and molecular features of autophagy. Remarkably, in ex vivo setting, under the same chemotherapeutic induction, the conditioned media from high miR-27a-expressing cells impeded dendritic cell maturation while increased the secretion of specific cytokines (interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-8) and negatively influenced CD4+ T-cell interferon γ production and proliferation, all markers of a tumor immunoevasion strategy. In conclusion, we provide the first evidence that miR-27a impairs the cell response to drug-induced ICD through the regulatory axis with calreticulin.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2108
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 25 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology
  • Cancer Research
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The MIR-27a-calreticulin axis affects drug-induced immunogenic cell death in human colorectal cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this