BACKGROUND: Overexpression of microRNA-31 (miR-31) is implicated in the pathogenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), a deadly disease associated with dietary zinc deficiency. Using a rat model that recapitulates features of human ESCC, the mechanism whereby Zn regulates miR-31 expression to promote ESCC is examined.
METHODS: To inhibit in vivo esophageal miR-31 overexpression in Zn-deficient rats (n = 12-20 per group), locked nucleic acid-modified anti-miR-31 oligonucleotides were administered over five weeks. miR-31 expression was determined by northern blotting, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridization. Physiological miR-31 targets were identified by microarray analysis and verified by luciferase reporter assay. Cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and expression of inflammation genes were determined by immunoblotting, caspase assays, and immunohistochemistry. The miR-31 promoter in Zn-deficient esophagus was identified by ChIP-seq using an antibody for histone mark H3K4me3. Data were analyzed with t test and analysis of variance. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: In vivo, anti-miR-31 reduced miR-31 overexpression (P = .002) and suppressed the esophageal preneoplasia in Zn-deficient rats. At the same time, the miR-31 target Stk40 was derepressed, thereby inhibiting the STK40-NF-κΒ-controlled inflammatory pathway, with resultant decreased cellular proliferation and activated apoptosis (caspase 3/7 activities, fold change = 10.7, P = .005). This same connection between miR-31 overexpression and STK40/NF-κΒ expression was also documented in human ESCC cell lines. In Zn-deficient esophagus, the miR-31 promoter region and NF-κΒ binding site were activated. Zn replenishment restored the regulation of this genomic region and a normal esophageal phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS: The data define the in vivo signaling pathway underlying interaction of Zn deficiency and miR-31 overexpression in esophageal neoplasia and provide a mechanistic rationale for miR-31 as a therapeutic target for ESCC.
Recommended CitationTaccioli, Cristian; Garofalo, Michela; Chen, Hongping; Jiang, Yubao; Tagliazucchi, Guidantonio Malagoli; Di Leva, Gianpiero; Alder, Hansjuerg; Fadda, Paolo; Middleton, Justin; Smalley, Karl J.; Selmi, Tommaso; Naidu, Srivatsava; Farber, John L.; Croce, Carlo M.; and Fong, Louise, "Repression of Esophageal Neoplasia and Inflammatory Signaling by Anti-miR-31 Delivery In Vivo." (2015). Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 258.