Thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF-1 or NKX2-1) is an essential fetal lung developmental factor which can be recurrently activated by gene amplification in adult lung cancer. We have discovered the first microRNA (i.e., miR-365) that directly regulates TTF-1 by interacting with its 3'-untranslated region. By gene expression profiling, we identified other putative targets of miR-365 and miR-365*. In line with the microRNA/target relationship, the expression patterns of miR-365 and TTF-1 were in an inverse relationship in human lung cancer. Exploration of human lung cancer genomics data uncovered that TTF-1 gene amplification was significantly associated with DNA copy number loss at one of the two genomic loci encoding the precursor RNA of mature miR-365 (i.e., mir-365-1). This implies the existence of genetic selection pressure to lose the repressive miR-365 that would otherwise suppress amplified TTF-1. We detected a signaling loop between transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and miR-365 and this loop reinforced suppression of TTF-1 via miR-365. Mir-365 also targeted an epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT)-promoting gene HMGA2. In summary, these data connect the lung transcriptional program to the microRNA network.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology