Mol Carcinog. 2016 Aug;55(8):1229-42.

Progression of mouse skin carcinogenesis is associated with the orchestrated deregulation of mir-200 family members, mir-205 and their common targets.

Skourti E, Logotheti S, Kontos CK, Pavlopoulou A, Dimoragka PT, Trougakos IP, Gorgoulis V, Scorilas A, Michalopoulos I, Zoumpourlis V.

Abstract


MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs which regulate post-transcriptionally hundreds of target mRNAs. Given that their expression is deregulated in several cancer types, they represent potential diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers, as well as next-generation therapeutic targets. Nevertheless, the involvement of miRNAs in non-melanoma skin cancer, a cancer type with increasing prevalence, is not extensively studied, and their comprehensive characterization as regard to the initiation, promotion, and progression stages is missing. To this end, we exploited a well-established multistage mouse skin carcinogenesis model in order to identify miRNAs consistently implicated in different stages of skin carcinogenesis. The cell lines comprising this model were subjected to miRNA expression profiling using microarrays, followed by bioinformatics analysis and validation with Q-PCR, as well as treatment with miRNA modulators. We showed that among all deregulated miRNAs in our system, only a functionally coherent group consisting of the miR-200 family members and miR-205-5p displays a pattern of progressive co-downregulation from the early toward the most aggressive stages of carcinogenesis. Their overlapping, co-regulated putative targets are potentially inter-associated and, of these, the EMT-related Rap1a is overexpressed toward aggressive stages. Ectopic expression of miR-205-5p in spindle cancer cells reduces Rap1a, mitigates cell invasiveness, decreases proliferation, and delays tumor onset. We conclude that deregulation of this miRNA group is primarily associated with aggressive phenotypes of skin cancer cells. Restoration of the miR-205-5p member of this group in spindle cells reduces the expression of critical, co-regulated targets that favor cancer progression, thus reversing the EMT characteristics.