Background: The importance of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) as fine regulators of eukaryotic gene expression has emerged by several studies focusing on microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs represent a newly discovered family of non coding-RNAs. They are thought to be crucial players of human hematopoiesis and related tumorigenesis and to represent a potential tool to detect the early stages of cancer. More recently, the expression regulation of numerous long ncRNAs has been linked to cell growth, differentiation and cancer although the molecular mechanism of their function is still unknown.NB4 cells are promyelocytic cells that can be induced to differentiation upon retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment and represent a feasible model to study changes of non coding RNAs expression between cancer cells and their terminally differentiated counterpart.
Findings: we screened, by microarray analysis, the expression of 243 miRNAs and 492 human genes transcribing for putative long ncRNAs different from miRNAs in NB4 cells before and after ATRA induced differentiation. Our data show that 8 miRNAs, and 58 long ncRNAs were deregulated by ATRA induced NB4 differentiation.
Conclusion: our data suggest that ATRA-induced differentiation lead to deregulation of a large number of the ncRNAs that can play regulatory roles in both tumorigenesis and differentiation.