Aberrant post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs (miRNAs) has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In a previous study, we performed a large functional screen using a retroviral barcoded miRNA expression library. Here, we report that overexpression of miR-9/9* in myeloid 32D cell line (32D-miR-9/9*) had profound impact on granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-induced differentiation. Further in vitro studies showed that enforced expression of miR-9/9* blocked normal neutrophil development in 32D and in primary murine lineage-negative bone marrow cells. We examined the expression of miR-9/9* in a cohort of 647 primary human AMLs. In most cases, miR-9 and miR-9* were significantly upregulated and their expression levels varied according to AML subtype, with the highest expression in MLL-related leukemias harboring 11q23 abnormalities and the lowest expression in AML cases with t(8;21) and biallelic mutations in CEBPA. Gene expression profiling of AMLs with high expression of miR-9/9* and 32D-miR-9/9* identified ETS-related gene (Erg) as the only common potential target. Upregulation of ERG in 32D cells rescued miR-9/9*-induced block in neutrophil differentiation. Taken together, this study demonstrates that miR-9/9* are aberrantly expressed in most of AML cases and interfere with normal neutrophil differentiation by downregulation of ERG.

doi.org/10.1038/leu.2015.183, hdl.handle.net/1765/83184
Department of Hematology

Nowek, K., Sun, S. M., Bullinger, L., Bindels, E., Exalto, C., Dijkstra, M. K., … Jongen-Lavrencic, M. (2016). Aberrant expression of miR-9/9 in myeloid progenitors inhibits neutrophil differentiation by post-transcriptional regulation of ERG. Leukemia, 30(1), 229–237. doi:10.1038/leu.2015.183