Regulation of pri-microRNA BIC transcription and processing in Burkitt lymphoma

Oncogene. 2007 May 31;26(26):3769-76. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210147. Epub 2006 Dec 18.


BIC is a primary microRNA (pri-miR-155) that can be processed to mature miR-155. In this study, we show the crucial involvement of protein kinase C (PKC) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in the regulation of BIC expression upon B-cell receptor triggering. Surprisingly, Northern blot analysis did not reveal any miR-155 expression upon induction of BIC expression in the Burkitt lymphoma-derived Ramos cell line, whereas other microRNAs were clearly detectable. Ectopic expression of BIC in Ramos and HEK293 cells resulted in miR-155 expression in HEK293, but not in Ramos cells, suggesting a specific block of BIC to miR-155 processing in Ramos. In line with the results obtained with Ramos, lack of miR-155 expression after induction of BIC expression was also observed in other Burkitt lymphoma cell lines, indicating a generic and specific blockade in the processing of BIC in Burkitt lymphoma. In contrast, induction of BIC expression in normal tonsillar B cells resulted in very high levels of miR-155 expression and induction of BIC expression in Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines. It also resulted in elevated levels of miR-155. Our data provide evidence for two levels of regulation for mature miR-155 expression: one at the transcriptional level involving PKC and NF-kappaB, and one at the processing level. Burkitt lymphoma cells not only express low levels of BIC, but also prevent processing of BIC via an, as yet, unknown mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • MicroRNAs
  • NF-kappa B
  • Protein Kinase C