Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

An integrative genomic approach reveals coordinated expression of intronic miR-335, miR-342, and miR-561 with deregulated host genes in multiple myeloma

Domenica Ronchetti12, Marta Lionetti12, Laura Mosca12, Luca Agnelli12, Adrian Andronache12, Sonia Fabris12, Giorgio Lambertenghi Deliliers12 and Antonino Neri12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Sciences, Leukemia Study Center, University of Milan, Italy

2 Hematology 1 Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico, Milan, Italy

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BMC Medical Genomics 2008, 1:37  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-1-37

Published: 13 August 2008

Abstract

Background

The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in multiple myeloma (MM) has yet to be fully elucidated. To identify miRNAs that are potentially deregulated in MM, we investigated those mapping within transcription units, based on evidence that intronic miRNAs are frequently coexpressed with their host genes. To this end, we monitored host transcript expression values in a panel of 20 human MM cell lines (HMCLs) and focused on transcripts whose expression varied significantly across the dataset.

Methods

miRNA expression was quantified by Quantitative Real-Time PCR. Gene expression and genome profiling data were generated on Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays. Significant Analysis of Microarrays algorithm was used to investigate differentially expressed transcripts. Conventional statistics were used to test correlations for significance. Public libraries were queried to predict putative miRNA targets.

Results

We identified transcripts specific to six miRNA host genes (CCPG1, GULP1, EVL, TACSTD1, MEST, and TNIK) whose average changes in expression varied at least 2-fold from the mean of the examined dataset. We evaluated the expression levels of the corresponding intronic miRNAs and identified a significant correlation between the expression levels of MEST, EVL, and GULP1 and those of the corresponding miRNAs miR-335, miR-342-3p, and miR-561, respectively. Genome-wide profiling of the 20 HMCLs indicated that the increased expression of the three host genes and their corresponding intronic miRNAs was not correlated with local copy number variations. Notably, miRNAs and their host genes were overexpressed in a fraction of primary tumors with respect to normal plasma cells; however, this finding was not correlated with known molecular myeloma groups. The predicted putative miRNA targets and the transcriptional profiles associated with the primary tumors suggest that MEST/miR-335 and EVL/miR-342-3p may play a role in plasma cell homing and/or interactions with the bone marrow microenvironment.

Conclusion

Our data support the idea that intronic miRNAs and their host genes are regulated dependently, and may contribute to the understanding of their biological roles in cancer. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of deregulated miRNA expression in MM, providing insights that may lead to the identification of new biomarkers and altered molecular pathways of the disease.