The miR-17~92 cluster collaborates with the Sonic Hedgehog pathway in medulloblastoma

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 24;106(8):2812-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0809579106. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


Medulloblastomas (MBs) are the most common brain tumors in children. Some are thought to originate from cerebellar granule neuron progenitors (GNPs) that fail to undergo normal cell cycle exit and differentiation. Because microRNAs regulate numerous aspects of cellular physiology and development, we reasoned that alterations in miRNA expression might contribute to MB. We tested this hypothesis using 2 spontaneous mouse MB models with specific initiating mutations, Ink4c-/-; Ptch1+/- and Ink4c-/-; p53-/-. We found that 26 miRNAs showed increased expression and 24 miRNAs showed decreased expression in proliferating mouse GNPs and MBs relative to mature mouse cerebellum, regardless of genotype. Among the 26 overexpressed miRNAs, 9 were encoded by the miR-17 approximately 92 cluster family, a group of microRNAs implicated as oncogenes in several tumor types. Analysis of human MBs demonstrated that 3 miR-17 approximately 92 cluster miRNAs (miR-92, miR-19a, and miR-20) were also overexpressed in human MBs with a constitutively activated Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway, but not in other forms of the disease. To test whether the miR-17 approximately 92 cluster could promote MB formation, we enforced expression of these miRNAs in GNPs isolated from cerebella of postnatal (P) day P6 Ink4c-/-; Ptch1+/- mice. These, but not similarly engineered cells from Ink4c-/-; p53-/- mice, formed MBs in orthotopic transplants with complete penetrance. Interestingly, orthotopic mouse tumors ectopically expressing miR-17 approximately 92 lost expression of the wild-type Ptch1 allele. Our findings suggest a functional collaboration between the miR-17 approximately 92 cluster and the SHH signaling pathway in the development of MBs in mouse and man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / growth & development
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism*
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Multigene Family*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Shh protein, mouse

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE14470