DICER1

Gene Summary

Gene:DICER1; dicer 1, ribonuclease type III
Aliases: DCR1, MNG1, Dicer, HERNA, RMSE2, Dicer1e, K12H4.8-LIKE
Location:14q32.13
Summary:This gene encodes a protein possessing an RNA helicase motif containing a DEXH box in its amino terminus and an RNA motif in the carboxy terminus. The encoded protein functions as a ribonuclease and is required by the RNA interference and small temporal RNA (stRNA) pathways to produce the active small RNA component that represses gene expression. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2010]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:endoribonuclease Dicer
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 21 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 21 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 21 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: DICER1 (cancer-related)

Liu TT, Arango-Argoty G, Li Z, et al.
Noncoding RNAs that associate with YB-1 alter proliferation in prostate cancer cells.
RNA. 2015; 21(6):1159-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
The highly conserved, multifunctional YB-1 is a powerful breast cancer prognostic indicator. We report on a pervasive role for YB-1 in which it associates with thousands of nonpolyadenylated short RNAs (shyRNAs) that are further processed into small RNAs (smyRNAs). Many of these RNAs have previously been identified as functional noncoding RNAs (http://www.johnlab.org/YB1). We identified a novel, abundant, 3'-modified short RNA antisense to Dicer1 (Shad1) that colocalizes with YB-1 to P-bodies and stress granules. The expression of Shad1 was shown to correlate with that of YB-1 and whose inhibition leads to an increase in cell proliferation. Additionally, Shad1 influences the expression of additional prognostic markers of cancer progression such as DLX2 and IGFBP2. We propose that the examination of these noncoding RNAs could lead to better understanding of prostate cancer progression.

Kurzynska-Kokorniak A, Koralewska N, Pokornowska M, et al.
The many faces of Dicer: the complexity of the mechanisms regulating Dicer gene expression and enzyme activities.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(9):4365-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
There is increasing evidence indicating that the production of small regulatory RNAs is not the only process in which ribonuclease Dicer can participate. For example, it has been demonstrated that this enzyme is also involved in chromatin structure remodelling, inflammation and apoptotic DNA degradation. Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that cellular transcript and protein levels of Dicer must be strictly controlled because even small changes in their accumulation can initiate various pathological processes, including carcinogenesis. Accordingly, in recent years, a number of studies have been performed to identify the factors regulating Dicer gene expression and protein activity. As a result, a large amount of complex and often contradictory data has been generated. None of these data have been subjected to an exhaustive review or critical discussion. This review attempts to fill this gap by summarizing the current knowledge of factors that regulate Dicer gene transcription, primary transcript processing, mRNA translation and enzyme activity. Because of the high complexity of this topic, this review mainly concentrates on human Dicer. This review also focuses on an additional regulatory layer of Dicer activity involving the interactions of protein and RNA factors with Dicer substrates.

Mansour NM, Bernal GM, Wu L, et al.
Decoy Receptor DcR1 Is Induced in a p50/Bcl3-Dependent Manner and Attenuates the Efficacy of Temozolomide.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(10):2039-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/05/2016 Related Publications
Temozolomide is used widely to treat malignant glioma, but the overall response to this agent is generally poor. Resistance to DNA-damaging drugs such as temozolomide has been related to the induction of antiapoptotic proteins. Specifically, the transcription factor NF-κB has been suggested to participate in promoting the survival of cells exposed to chemotherapy. To identify factors that modulate cytotoxicity in the setting of DNA damage, we used an unbiased strategy to examine the NF-κB-dependent expression profile induced by temozolomide. By this route, we defined the decoy receptor DcR1 as a temozolomide response gene induced by a mechanism relying upon p50/NF-κB1. A conserved NF-κB-binding sequence (κB-site) was identified in the proximal promoter and was demonstrated to be required for DcR1 induction by temozolomide. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies reveal that the atypical IκB protein, Bcl3, is also required for induction of DcR1 by temozolomide. Mechanistically, DcR1 attenuates temozolomide efficacy by blunting activation of the Fas receptor pathway in p53(+/+) glioma cells. Intracranial xenograft studies show that DcR1 depletion in glioma cells enhances the efficacy of temozolomide. Taken together, our results show how DcR1 upregulation mediates temozolomide resistance and provide a rationale for DcR1 targeting as a strategy to sensitize gliomas to this widely used chemotherapy.

Durieux E, Descotes F, Nguyen AM, et al.
Somatic DICER1 gene mutation in sporadic intraocular medulloepithelioma without pleuropulmonary blastoma syndrome.
Hum Pathol. 2015; 46(5):783-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germline DICER1 gene mutation has been described in ocular medulloepithelioma associated with pleuropulmonary blastoma family tumor and dysplasia syndrome. We present a case of sporadic ocular medulloepithelioma in an 18-year-old woman with D1709N somatic mutation in DICER1 gene, which has not been previously described. This case highlights the potential use of DICER1 gene sequencing to resolve the diagnostic challenge in recurrent and metastatic malignant medulloepithelioma, when morphology and immunohistochemistry are inconclusive. Further studies in larger series of this type of tumor are needed to confirm the relevance of this molecular abnormality in the tumorigenesis of this embryonic-type ocular tumor.

Izzotti A, Pulliero A
Molecular damage and lung tumors in cigarette smoke-exposed mice.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015; 1340:75-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cigarette smoke (CS) induces lung cancer through a multistep process that is now being depicted by molecular analyses. During the early phase (weeks), DNA damage occurs in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, triggering adaptive responses activated by transient microRNA downregulation in the expression of defensive genes and proteins. During the intermediate phase (months), damaged cells are removed by apoptosis and the resulting cell loss is counteracted by a recruitment of stem cells that are highly sensitive to genotoxic damage. In parallel, microRNA downregulation becomes irreversible because of an accumulation of molecular damage in DICER. During the late phase (years), apoptosis efficacy is decreased by fragile histidine triad loss, while irreversible microRNA downregulation triggers the expression of mutated oncogenes, resulting in adenoma appearance. Furthermore, deletions occur in microRNA-encoding genes, causing carcinoma formation and uncontrolled growth. All reported pathogenic steps are required to obtain a fully developed lung cancer. This complex pathogenesis develops over a long period of time; therefore, it is difficult to induce cancer in short-living animals exposed to CS, whereas in humans there is a long latency from the start of smoke exposure to the onset of cancer.

González-Duarte RJ, Cázares-Ordoñez V, Ávila-Chávez E
The microRNA biogenesis machinery: regulation by steroid hormones and alterations in cancer.
Rev Invest Clin. 2014 Sep-Oct; 66(5):460-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs are a class of non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. The major proteins of the canonical microRNA biogenesis pathway in human are: Drosha, DGCR8, DDX5, DDX17, Exportin 5, Dicer and Argonaute 2. Recent studies suggest that gene expression of some canonical microRNA biogenesis components could be regulated by steroid hormones. Furthermore, various alterations in microRNA biogenesis have been associated with diseases like cancer. Due to the importance of microRNAs in cell physiology, the study of the factors that regulate or affect their biogenesis is critical.

Wegert J, Ishaque N, Vardapour R, et al.
Mutations in the SIX1/2 pathway and the DROSHA/DGCR8 miRNA microprocessor complex underlie high-risk blastemal type Wilms tumors.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(2):298-311 [PubMed] Related Publications
Blastemal histology in chemotherapy-treated pediatric Wilms tumors (nephroblastoma) is associated with adverse prognosis. To uncover the underlying tumor biology and find therapeutic leads for this subgroup, we analyzed 58 blastemal type Wilms tumors by exome and transcriptome sequencing and validated our findings in a large replication cohort. Recurrent mutations included a hotspot mutation (Q177R) in the homeo-domain of SIX1 and SIX2 in tumors with high proliferative potential (18.1% of blastemal cases); mutations in the DROSHA/DGCR8 microprocessor genes (18.2% of blastemal cases); mutations in DICER1 and DIS3L2; and alterations in IGF2, MYCN, and TP53, the latter being strongly associated with dismal outcome. DROSHA and DGCR8 mutations strongly altered miRNA expression patterns in tumors, which was functionally validated in cell lines expressing mutant DROSHA.

Shen J, Hung MC
Signaling-mediated regulation of MicroRNA processing.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(5):783-91 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2016 Related Publications
miRNAs are important regulatory elements for gene expression that are involved in diverse physiologic and pathologic processes. Canonical miRNA biogenesis consists of a two-step processing, from primary transcripts (pri-miRNA) to precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNA) mediated by Drosha in the nucleus and from pre-miRNAs to mature miRNAs mediated by Dicer in the cytoplasm. Various routes of miRNA maturation that are tightly regulated by signaling cascades and specific to an individual or a subclass of miRNAs have been recently identified. Here, we review the current findings in signaling-mediated miRNA processing as well as their potential clinical relevance in cancer.

Erler P, Keutgen XM, Crowley MJ, et al.
Dicer expression and microRNA dysregulation associate with aggressive features in thyroid cancer.
Surgery. 2014; 156(6):1342-50; discussion 1350 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Altered miRNA expression and down-regulation of Dicer has been shown in various cancers. We investigated Dicer expression and global miRNA environment in correlation with malignant features of thyroid tumors.
METHODS: Dicer gene expression was assessed for 22 normal thyroids, 16 follicular adenomas, 28 papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs), 10 tall-cell variants of PTC, 11 follicular variants of PTC, as well as the four thyroid cell lines BCPAP, TPC1, KTC1, and TAD2 via quantitative polymerase chain reaction. BRAF((V600E)) mutation screening was completed for 31 neoplasms. Next-generation sequencing was performed on a subset of PTC and normal thyroid. Protein levels were assessed via Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Dicer mRNA was down-regulated in malignant thyroid samples and cell lines compared with normal tissues, benign neoplasms, and the fetal cell line TAD2. Decreased Dicer gene expression in malignant tissues was correlated greatly with aggressive features: extrathyroidal extension, angiolymphatic invasion, multifocality, lymph node and distant metastasis, recurrence, and BRAF((V600E)) mutation. Conversely, increased levels of Dicer protein were observed in malignant tissues and cell lines. Sequencing yielded 19 differentially expressed miRNAs. Eight samples had a nonsignificant a global down-regulation in malignant tissues.
CONCLUSION: Dysregulation of Dicer and possibly altered expression of miRNAs are associated with aggressive features in thyroid cancers. These findings suggest that disruption in normal miRNA processing involving Dicer may play a role in thyroid cancer progression.

Melo SA, Sugimoto H, O'Connell JT, et al.
Cancer exosomes perform cell-independent microRNA biogenesis and promote tumorigenesis.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(5):707-21 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Exosomes are secreted by all cell types and contain proteins and nucleic acids. Here, we report that breast cancer associated exosomes contain microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with the RISC-Loading Complex (RLC) and display cell-independent capacity to process precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) into mature miRNAs. Pre-miRNAs, along with Dicer, AGO2, and TRBP, are present in exosomes of cancer cells. CD43 mediates the accumulation of Dicer specifically in cancer exosomes. Cancer exosomes mediate an efficient and rapid silencing of mRNAs to reprogram the target cell transcriptome. Exosomes derived from cells and sera of patients with breast cancer instigate nontumorigenic epithelial cells to form tumors in a Dicer-dependent manner. These findings offer opportunities for the development of exosomes based biomarkers and therapies.

Sioud M
RNA interference: mechanisms, technical challenges, and therapeutic opportunities.
Methods Mol Biol. 2015; 1218:1-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ability to inhibit gene expression via RNA interference (RNAi) has a broad therapeutic potential for various human diseases such as infections and cancers. Recent advances in mechanistic understanding of RNAi have improved the design of functional small interfering (si) RNAs with superior potency and specificity. With respect to delivery, new developments in delivery strategies have facilitated preclinical and clinical siRNA applications. This review provides valuable insights to guide the design and delivery of therapeutic siRNAs.

Ye F, Tang C, Shi W, et al.
A MDM2-dependent positive-feedback loop is involved in inhibition of miR-375 and miR-106b induced by Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(9):2120-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been linked to virulence factors of Helicobacter pylori and shown to contribute to the progression of gastric cancer. However, the mechanisms of these processes remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a virulence factor of H. pylori, regulates miR-375 and miR-106b expression in gastric epithelial cells. The results show that LPS from H. pylori 26695 downregulated the expression of miR-375 and miR-106b in gastric epithelial cells, and low levels of Dicer were also observed. Downregulation of miR-375 was found to increase expression of MDM2 with SP1 activation. Overexpression of MDM2 inhibited Dicer by repressing p63 to create a positive-feedback loop involving SP1/MDM2/p63/Dicer that leads to inhibition of miR-375 and miR-106b expression. In addition, we demonstrated that JAK1 and STAT3 were downstream target genes of miR-106b. H. pylori LPS also enhanced the tyrosine phosphorylation of JAK1, JAK2 and STAT3. Together, these results provide insight into the regulatory mechanisms of MDM2 on H. pylori LPS-induced specific miRNAs, and furthermore, suggest that gastric epithelial cells treated with H. pylori LPS may be susceptible to JAK/STAT3 signal pathway activation via inhibition of miR-375 and miR-106b.

Yu Z, Kim J, He L, et al.
Functional analysis of miR-34c as a putative tumor suppressor in high-grade serous ovarian cancer.
Biol Reprod. 2014; 91(5):113 [PubMed] Related Publications
Altered microRNA expression patterns are implicated in the formation of many human diseases, including ovarian cancer. Our laboratory previously created Dicer(fl/fl)/Pten(fl/fl)/Amhr2(cre/+) mice, which developed high-grade serous carcinomas originating from mouse fallopian tubes, while neither Dicer(fl/fl)/Amhr2(cre/+) nor Pten(fl/fl)/Amhr2(cre/+) mice developed tumors. To explore miRNAs involved in the tumorigenesis in the double-knockout (DKO) mice, tumor cell lines were established from mouse primary tumors, and the most abundant miRNAs present in mouse normal fallopian tubes, let-7b and miR-34c, were expressed in these cell lines. We found that miR-34c had a more dramatic effect on inhibiting tumor cell viability than let-7b. The action of miR-34c induced tumor cell cycle arrest in G1 phase and apoptosis, and was accompanied with the regulation of key genes involved in cell proliferation and cell cycle G1/S transition. miR-34c suppressed the expression of Ezh2 and Mybl2, which may transcriptionally and functionally activate Cdkn1c. Furthermore, miR-34c levels are extremely low in human serous adenocarcinomas compared with human normal fallopian tubes. Expression of miR-34c in human ovarian cancer cells phenocopied its effects in DKO mouse tumor cells. However, miR-34b/c(-/-)/Pten(fl/fl)/Amhr2(cre/+) mice failed to develop high-grade serous carcinomas, implicating a combination of miRNAs in the tumorigenesis process. Thus, while miR-34c is a putative tumor suppressor in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma with potential therapeutic advantages, screening of additional miRNAs for their effects alone and in combination with miR-34c is highly warranted to uncover miRNAs that synergize with miR-34c against cancer.

Hong CC, Chen PS, Chiou J, et al.
miR326 maturation is crucial for VEGF-C-driven cortactin expression and esophageal cancer progression.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6280-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal cancer is an aggressive human malignancy with increasing incidence in the developed world. VEGF-C makes crucial contributions to esophageal cancer progression that are not well understood. Here, we report the discovery of regulatory relationship in esophageal cancers between the expression of VEGF-C and cortactin (CTTN), a regulator of the cortical actin cytoskeleton. Upregulation of CTTN expression by VEGF-C enhanced the invasive properties of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in vitro and tumor metastasis in vivo. Mechanistic investigations showed that VEGF-C increased CTTN expression by downregulating Dicer-mediated maturation of miR326, thereby relieving the suppressive effect of miR326 on CTTN expression. Clinically, expression of Dicer and miR326 correlated with poor prognosis in patients with esophageal cancer. Our findings offer insights into how VEGF-C enhances the robust invasive and metastatic properties of esophageal cancer, which has potential implications for the development of new biomarkers or therapies in this setting.

Molina-Pinelo S, Carnero A, Rivera F, et al.
MiR-107 and miR-99a-3p predict chemotherapy response in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:656 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in numerous biological and pathological processes including colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of our study was to evaluate the ability of miRNA expression patterns to predict chemotherapy response in a cohort of 78 patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC).
METHODS: We examined expression levels of 667 miRNAs in the training cohort and evaluated their potential association with relevant clinical endpoints. We identified a miRNA profile that was analysed by RT-qPCR in an independent cohort. For a set of selected miRNAs, bioinformatic target predictions and pathway analysis were also performed.
RESULTS: Eight miRNAs (let-7 g*, miR-107, miR-299-5p, miR-337-5p, miR-370, miR-505*, miR-889 and miR-99a-3p) were significant predictors of response to chemotherapy in the training cohort. In addition, overexpression of miR-107, miR-337-5p and miR-99a-3p, and underexpression of miR-889, were also significantly associated with improved progression-free and/or overall survival. MicroRNA-107 and miR-99a-3p were further validated in an independent cohort as predictive markers for chemotherapy response. In addition, an inverse correlation was confirmed in our study population between miR-107 levels and mRNA expression of several potential target genes (CCND1, DICER1, DROSHA and NFKB1).
CONCLUSIONS: MiR-107 and miR-99a-3p were validated as predictors of response to standard fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy in patients with mCRC.

Foulkes WD, Priest JR, Duchaine TF
DICER1: mutations, microRNAs and mechanisms.
Nat Rev Cancer. 2014; 14(10):662-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dicer is central to microRNA-mediated silencing and several other RNA interference phenomena that are profoundly embedded in cancer gene networks. Most recently, both germline and somatic mutations in DICER1 have been identified in diverse types of cancer. Although some of the mutations clearly reduce the dosage of this key enzyme, others dictate surprisingly specific changes in select classes of small RNAs. This Review reflects on the molecular properties of the Dicer enzymes in small RNA silencing pathways, and rationalizes the newly discovered mutations on the basis of the activities and functions of its determinants.

Liao YC, Lin TH, Chen CY, et al.
The antileukemia activity of natural product HQ17(3) is possibly associated with downregulation of miR-17-92 cluster.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:306718 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
The compound 10'(Z),13'(E),15'(E)-heptadecatrienylhydroquinone [HQ17(3)] was purified from the sap of the lacquer tree Rhus succedanea. HQ17(3) has cytotoxic effect on cancer cells and can inhibit topoisomerase (topo) IIα activity. We treated various cancer cells with different doses of HQ17(3) and found that leukemia cells were most sensitive to HQ17(3). After analysis of microRNA (miRNA) profiling, we found that treatment with HQ17(3) caused downregulation of miR-17-92 cluster in some leukemia cells. These changes partially restored the normal levels from leukemia-specific miRNA expression signature. Messenger RNAs of tumor suppressor proteins, such as pRB, PTEN, and Dicer, are targets of miR-17-92 cluster. Their protein levels were increased after the treatment. c-Myc is a regulatory protein for miR-17-92 gene. Similar to topo IIα, we found that c-Myc decreased its activity after the HQ17(3) treatment, which may explain the downregulation of miR-17-92 cluster. Combined with 5-fluorouracil, NaAsO2, or ABT-737, HQ17(3) elicited additive inhibitory effects on leukemia cells. In conclusion, the high sensitivity of leukemia cells to HQ17(3) may be associated with the reduction of topo IIα and c-Myc activities, as well as with the downregulation of the miR-17-92 cluster expression.

Vidaurre S, Fitzpatrick C, Burzio VA, et al.
Down-regulation of the antisense mitochondrial non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) is a unique vulnerability of cancer cells and a potential target for cancer therapy.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(39):27182-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Hallmarks of cancer are fundamental principles involved in cancer progression. We propose an additional generalized hallmark of malignant transformation corresponding to the differential expression of a family of mitochondrial ncRNAs (ncmtRNAs) that comprises sense and antisense members, all of which contain stem-loop structures. Normal proliferating cells express sense (SncmtRNA) and antisense (ASncmtRNA) transcripts. In contrast, the ASncmtRNAs are down-regulated in tumor cells regardless of tissue of origin. Here we show that knockdown of the low copy number of the ASncmtRNAs in several tumor cell lines induces cell death by apoptosis without affecting the viability of normal cells. In addition, knockdown of ASncmtRNAs potentiates apoptotic cell death by inhibiting survivin expression, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family. Down-regulation of survivin is at the translational level and is probably mediated by microRNAs generated by dicing of the double-stranded stem of the ASncmtRNAs, as suggested by evidence presented here, in which the ASncmtRNAs are bound to Dicer and knockdown of the ASncmtRNAs reduces reporter luciferase activity in a vector carrying the 3'-UTR of survivin mRNA. Taken together, down-regulation of the ASncmtRNAs constitutes a vulnerability or Achilles' heel of cancer cells, suggesting that the ASncmtRNAs are promising targets for cancer therapy.

Fletcher CE, Dart DA, Bevan CL
Interplay between steroid signalling and microRNAs: implications for hormone-dependent cancers.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(5):R409-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hormones are key drivers of cancer development. To date, interest has largely been focussed on the classical model of hormonal gene regulation, but there is increasing evidence for a role of hormone signalling pathways in post-translational regulation of gene expression. In particular, a complex and dynamic network of bi-directional interactions with microRNAs (miRs) at all stages of biogenesis and during target gene repression is emerging. miRs, which act mainly by negatively regulating gene expression through association with 3'-UTRs of mRNA species, are increasingly understood to be important in development, normal physiology and pathogenesis. Given recent demonstrations of altered miR profiles in a diverse range of cancers, their ability to function as oncogenes or tumour suppressors, and hormonal regulation of miRs, understanding mechanisms by which miRs are generated and regulated is vitally important. miRs are transcribed by RNA polymerase II and then processed in the nucleus by the Drosha-containing Microprocessor complex and in the cytoplasm by Dicer, before mature miRs are incorporated into the RNA-induced silencing complex. It is increasingly evident that multiple cellular signalling pathways converge upon the miR biogenesis cascade, adding further layers of regulatory complexity to modulate miR maturation. This review summarises recent advances in identification of novel components and regulators of the Microprocessor and Dicer complexes, with particular emphasis on the role of hormone signalling pathways in regulating their activity. Understanding hormone regulation of miR production and how this is perturbed in cancer are critical for the development of miR-based therapeutics and biomarkers.

Bandara V, Michael MZ, Gleadle JM
Hypoxia represses microRNA biogenesis proteins in breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:533 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancers are commonly characterised by hypoxia and also by global reductions in the levels of mature microRNAs. We have examined the hypothesis that hypoxia might mediate this reduction through repressive effects on microRNA biogenesis proteins.
METHODS: Breast cancer cell lines were exposed to hypoxia and manipulations of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) and HIF hydroxylase activity. The effects of hypoxia on the mRNA and protein levels of enzymes involved in microRNA biogenesis (Dicer, Drosha, TARPB2, DCGR8, XPO5) was determined by RT PCR and immunoblotting. The effect of hypoxia on microRNAs was determined with microarray studies, RT PCR and reporter assays.
RESULTS: In breast cancer lines there was significant reduction of Dicer mRNA and protein levels in cells exposed to hypoxia. This effect was independent of HIF but dependent on the HIF hydroxylase PHD2 and was partly mediated by feedback effects via microRNAs. Furthermore, several other proteins with critical roles in microRNA biogenesis (Drosha, TARBP2 and DCGR8) also showed significant and co-ordinated repression under hypoxic conditions. Despite these substantial alterations no, or modest, changes were observed in mature microRNA production.
CONCLUSION: These observations provide further and important interfaces between oxygen availability and gene expression and a potential mechanistic explanation for the reduced levels of microRNAs observed in some cancers. They provide further support for the existence of feedback mechanisms in the regulation of the microRNA biogenesis pathway and the relative stability of microRNAs.

Kramer GD, Arepalli S, Shields CL, Shields JA
Ciliary body medulloepithelioma association with pleuropulmonary blastoma in a familial tumor predisposition syndrome.
J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2014; 51 Online:e48-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ciliary body medulloepithelioma can rarely present in association with pleuropulmonary blastoma as part of a familial tumor predisposition syndrome. This is thought to occur secondary to a germline mutation in the DICER1 gene. The authors describe a case of ciliary body medulloepithelioma in a 9-year-old girl with a known medical history of pleuropulmonary blastoma.

de Kock L, Sabbaghian N, Druker H, et al.
Germ-line and somatic DICER1 mutations in pineoblastoma.
Acta Neuropathol. 2014; 128(4):583-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Germ-line RB-1 mutations predispose to pineoblastoma (PinB), but other predisposing genetic factors are not well established. We recently identified a germ-line DICER1 mutation in a child with a PinB. This was accompanied by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the wild-type allele within the tumour. We set out to establish the prevalence of DICER1 mutations in an opportunistically ascertained series of PinBs. Twenty-one PinB cases were studied: Eighteen cases had not undergone previous testing for DICER1 mutations; three patients were known carriers of germ-line DICER1 mutations. The eighteen PinBs were sequenced by Sanger and/or Fluidigm-based next-generation sequencing to identify DICER1 mutations in blood gDNA and/or tumour gDNA. Testing for somatic DICER1 mutations was also conducted on one case with a known germ-line DICER1 mutation. From the eighteen PinBs, we identified four deleterious DICER1 mutations, three of which were germ line in origin, and one for which a germ line versus somatic origin could not be determined; in all four, the second allele was also inactivated leading to complete loss of DICER1 protein. No somatic DICER1 RNase IIIb mutations were identified. One PinB arising in a germ-line DICER1 mutation carrier was found to have LOH. This study suggests that germ-line DICER1 mutations make a clinically significant contribution to PinB, establishing DICER1 as an important susceptibility gene for PinB and demonstrates PinB to be a manifestation of a germ-line DICER1 mutation. The means by which the second allele is inactivated may differ from other DICER1-related tumours.

Tian F, Yourek G, Shi X, Yang Y
The development of Wilms tumor: from WT1 and microRNA to animal models.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1846(1):180-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms tumor recapitulates the development of the kidney and represents a unique opportunity to understand the relationship between normal and tumor development. This has been illustrated by the findings that mutations of Wnt/β-catenin pathway-related WT1, β-catenin, and WTX together account for about one-third of Wilms tumor cases. While intense efforts are being made to explore the genetic basis of the other two-thirds of tumor cases, it is worth noting that, epigenetic changes, particularly the loss of imprinting of the DNA region encoding the major fetal growth factor IGF2, which results in its biallelic over-expression, are closely associated with the development of many Wilms tumors. Recent investigations also revealed that mutations of Drosha and Dicer, the RNases required for miRNA generation, and Dis3L2, the 3'-5' exonuclease that normally degrades miRNAs and mRNAs, could cause predisposition to Wilms tumors, demonstrating that miRNA can play a pivotal role in Wilms tumor development. Interestingly, Lin28, a direct target of miRNA let-7 and potent regulator of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, is significantly elevated in some Wilms tumors, and enforced expression of Lin28 during kidney development could induce Wilms tumor. With the success in establishing mice nephroblastoma models through over-expressing IGF2 and deleting WT1, and advances in understanding the ENU-induced rat model, we are now able to explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms induced by these genetic, epigenetic, and miRNA alterations in animal models to understand the development of Wilms tumor. These animal models may also serve as valuable systems to assess new treatment targets and strategies for Wilms tumor.

Pugh TJ, Yu W, Yang J, et al.
Exome sequencing of pleuropulmonary blastoma reveals frequent biallelic loss of TP53 and two hits in DICER1 resulting in retention of 5p-derived miRNA hairpin loop sequences.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(45):5295-302 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Pleuropulmonary blastoma is a rare childhood malignancy of lung mesenchymal cells that can remain dormant as epithelial cysts or progress to high-grade sarcoma. Predisposing germline loss-of-function DICER1 variants have been described. We sought to uncover additional contributors through whole exome sequencing of 15 tumor/normal pairs, followed by targeted resequencing, miRNA analysis and immunohistochemical analysis of additional tumors. In addition to frequent biallelic loss  of TP53 and mutations of NRAS or BRAF in some cases, each case had compound disruption of DICER1: a germline (12 cases) or somatic (3 cases) loss-of-function variant plus a somatic missense mutation in the RNase IIIb domain. 5p-Derived microRNA (miRNA) transcripts retained abnormal precursor miRNA loop sequences normally removed by DICER1. This work both defines a genetic interaction landscape with DICER1 mutation and provides evidence for alteration in miRNA transcripts as a consequence of DICER1 disruption in cancer.

Geng L, Sun B, Gao B, et al.
MicroRNA-103 promotes colorectal cancer by targeting tumor suppressor DICER and PTEN.
Int J Mol Sci. 2014; 15(5):8458-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, noncoding RNAs that act as key regulators in various physiological and pathological processes. However, the regulatory mechanisms for miRNAs in colorectal cancer remain largely unknown. Here, we found that miR-103 is up-regulated in colorectal cancer and its overexpression is closely associated with tumor proliferation and migration. In addition, repressing the expression of miR-103 apparently inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation and migration in vitro and HCT-116 xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Subsequent software analysis and dual-luciferase reporter assay identified two tumor suppressor genes DICER and PTEN as direct targets of miR-103, and up-regulation of DICER and PTEN obtained similar results to that occurred in the silencing of miR-103. In addition, restoration of DICER and PTEN can inhibit miR-103-induced colorectal cancer cell proliferation and migration. Our data collectively demonstrate that miR-103 is an oncogene miRNA that promotes colorectal cancer proliferation and migration through down-regulation of the tumor suppressor genes DICER and PTEN. Thus, miR-103 may represent a new potential diagnostic and therapeutic target for colorectal cancer treatment.

Sahakitrungruang T, Srichomthong C, Pornkunwilai S, et al.
Germline and somatic DICER1 mutations in a pituitary blastoma causing infantile-onset Cushing's disease.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(8):E1487-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Pituitary blastoma causing Cushing's syndrome in infancy is very rare, and its molecular pathomechanism is not well understood.
OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to identify genetic changes of a pituitary blastoma causing infantile-onset Cushing's syndrome in a Thai girl without a family history of cancers.
METHODS: Genomic DNA from both leukocytes and tumor tissues was used for whole-exome sequencing (WES) and Sanger sequencing of DICER1. The cDNA reverse-transcribed from RNA extracted from both leukocytes and tumor tissues was used for Sanger sequencing, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), and pyrosequencing of DICER1.
RESULTS: WES of leukocytes identified a novel heterozygous c.3046delA (p.S1016VfsX1065) mutation in the DICER1 gene. WES of the tumor tissues detected the same frameshift germline mutation and another novel somatic missense c.5438A→T (p.E1813V) mutation. Both mutations were validated by Sanger sequencing. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the DICER1 mRNA levels of the tumor tissues were 54% compared with those of her leukocytes. Pyrosequencing showed that the deletion allele constituted 12% and 0% of the DICER1 cDNA of the proband's leukocytes and tumor tissues, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Our study extends the phenotypic and mutational spectrum of DICER1 mutations to include infantile-onset Cushing's disease and 2 novel mutations. Loss of function of both DICER1 alleles appears to be crucial to initiate tumor development.

Banno K, Yanokura M, Iida M, et al.
Application of microRNA in diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:232817 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis because early detection is difficult and recurrent ovarian cancer is usually drug-resistant. The morbidity and mortality of ovarian cancer are high worldwide and new methods of diagnosis and therapy are needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression that are involved in carcinogenesis, metastasis, and invasion. Thus, miRNAs are likely to be useful as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and for cancer therapy. Many miRNAs have altered expression in ovarian cancer compared to normal ovarian tissues and these changes may be useful for diagnosis and treatment. For example, deficiencies of enzymes including Dicer and Drosha that are required for miRNA biogenesis may be adverse prognostic factors; miRNAs such as miR-214 and miR-31, which are involved in drug resistance, and the miR-200 family, which is implicated in metastasis, may serve as biomarkers; and transfection of downregulated miRNAs and inhibition of upregulated miRNAs may be effective for treatment of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy targeting epigenetic mechanisms associated with miRNAs may also be effective to reverse gene silencing.

Pyfferoen L, Mestdagh P, Vergote K, et al.
Lung tumours reprogram pulmonary dendritic cell immunogenicity at the microRNA level.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(12):2868-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer arises in a context of tumour-induced immune suppression. Dendritic cells (DCs) are central players in the induction of anti-tumoural immunity, providing critical signals that drive the induction of cytotoxic T-cell responses. Meanwhile, microRNAs are associated with tumour development as well as immune regulation. We postulated that lung tumours escape immune control by reprogramming DC immunogenicity at the microRNA level. Using an orthotopic model of lung cancer, we first identified the DC population responsible for transport and cross-presentation of lung tumour-derived antigens to naïve T cells in the draining mediastinal lymph nodes (LNs). Profiling the full microRNA repertoire of these DCs revealed a restricted set of microRNAs that was consistently dysregulated in the presence of lung tumours, with miR-301a as one of the top upregulated transcripts. Overexpression of miR-301a in DCs suppressed IL-12 secretion, decreased IFN-γ release from antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells, and shifted antigen-specific T helper cytokine profile away from IFN-γ towards IL-13 and IL-17A-secreting T cells. Strikingly, DC-selective Dicer1 gene deletion resulted in delayed lung tumour growth and a survival benefit. Taken together, our data reveal that lung tumours induce an immunosuppressive microRNA signature in pulmonary DCs. Interfering with the DC-intrinsic capacity to remodel microRNA repertoires affects lung tumour outcome.

He L, Wang HY, Zhang L, et al.
Prognostic significance of low DICER expression regulated by miR-130a in cervical cancer.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1205 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
Dicer is crucial for the maturation of microRNAs (miRNAs) and its dysregulation may contribute to tumor initiation and progression. The study explored the clinical implications of Dicer and its post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs in cervical cancer. qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry investigated Dicer mRNA and protein levels in cervical cancer tissues. The relationship between Dicer expression and survival was analyzed. MiRNA target prediction identified miRNAs that might target Dicer. Luciferase reporter and gain- or loss-of-function assays were performed. The results showed that 36.7% of cervical cancer cases showed low expression of Dicer mRNA and 63.3% cases showed high expression. At the protein level, 51% cases showed negative expression and 49% cases showed positive expression. Dicer mRNA and protein expressions were significantly associated with distant metastasis and recurrence in cervical cancer (P=0.002 and P=0.012, respectively). Multivariate Cox analysis indicated that low Dicer expression (P=0.016) and tumor stage (P=0.047) were independent predictors. Among the miRNAs predicted to target Dicer, 10 were detected by RT-PCR; their expressions were significantly higher in cervical cancers with lower Dicer expression than in those with higher Dicer expression and were negatively correlated with Dicer expression level (P<0.05). In vitro experiments demonstrated that miR-130a directly targeted Dicer mRNA to enhance migration and invasion in SiHa cells. Finally, survival analysis indicated that higher expression of miR-130a was significantly associated with poor disease-free survival. Taken together, Dicer expression regulated by miR-130a is an important potential prognostic factor in cervical cancer.

Avery-Kiejda KA, Braye SG, Forbes JF, Scott RJ
The expression of Dicer and Drosha in matched normal tissues, tumours and lymph node metastases in triple negative breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:253 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women world-wide. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive subtype that lacks expression of hormone receptors for estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor 2; and is associated with a high propensity for metastatic spread. Several studies have identified critical roles for microRNAs in breast cancer, but the role of two critical enzymes involved in microRNA biogenesis, Dicer and Drosha, is not well understood, particularly with respect to metastatic progression in this subtype.
METHODS: We examined the expression of Dicer and Drosha in a series of invasive 35 TNBCs with matched normal adjacent tissues (n = 18) and lymph node metastases (n = 15) using semi-quantitative real time RT-PCR. The relationship of their expression with clinical features including age at diagnosis, lymph node positivity and tumour size was analysed.
RESULTS: We report that Dicer was significantly decreased while Drosha was significantly increased in tumours when compared to normal adjacent tissues. While there was no difference in Drosha expression in lymph node metastases when compared to the primary tumour, Dicer was significantly increased. There was no correlation between the expression of either Dicer or Drosha to age at diagnosis, lymph node positivity and tumour size.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, Dicer and Drosha are dysregulated in TNBC and matched lymph node metastases however, the clinical relevance of this is still not known. The altered expression of Dicer and Drosha may serve as markers for disrupted miRNA biogenesis in TNBC.

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