MicroRNA-3151 inactivates TP53 in BRAF-mutated human malignancies.

Lankenau MA, Patel R, Liyanarachchi S, Maharry SE, Hoag KW, Duggan M, Walker CJ, Markowitz J, Carson WE 3rd, Eisfeld AK, de la Chapelle A
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112 E6744-51 12/08/2015


The B-Raf proto-oncogene serine/threonine kinase (BRAF) gene is the most frequently mutated gene in malignant melanoma (MM) and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and is causally involved in malignant cell transformation. Mutated BRAF is associated with an aggressive disease phenotype, thus making it a top candidate for targeted treatment strategies in MM and PTC. We show that BRAF mutations in both MM and PTC drive increased expression of oncomiR-3151, which is coactivated by the SP1/NF-κB complex. Knockdown of microRNA-3151 (miR-3151) with short hairpin RNAs reduces cell proliferation and increases apoptosis of MM and PTC cells. Using a targeted RNA sequencing approach, we mechanistically determined that miR-3151 directly targets TP53 and other members of the TP53 pathway. Reducing miR-3151's abundance increases TP53's mRNA and protein expression and favors its nuclear localization. Consequently, knockdown of miR-3151 also leads to caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Simultaneous inhibition of aberrantly activated BRAF and knockdown of miR-3151 potentiates the effects of sole BRAF inhibition with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib and may provide a novel targeted therapeutic approach in BRAF-mutated MM and PTC patients. In conclusion, we identify miR-3151 as a previously unidentified player in MM and PTC pathogenesis, which is driven by BRAF-dependent and BRAF-independent mechanisms. Characterization of TP53 as a downstream effector of miR-3151 provides evidence for a causal link between BRAF mutations and TP53 inactivation.

Full Text