MiR-29a down-regulation in ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphomas contributes to apoptosis blockade through MCL-1 overexpression

Blood. 2011 Jun 16;117(24):6627-37. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-09-301994. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Although deregulated expression of specific microRNAs (miRNAs) has been described in solid cancers and leukemias, little evidence of miRNA deregulation has been reported in ALK-positive (ALK(+)) anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL). These tumors overexpress the major antiapoptotic protein myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1), a situation that could compensate for the lack of BCL-2. We report that ALK(+) ALCL cell lines and biopsy specimens (n = 20) express a low level of miR-29a and that this down-modulation requires an active NPM-ALK kinase. Murine models (transgenic mice and mouse embryonic fibroblast [MEF] cells), which allow conditional NPM-ALK fusion protein expression, showed an increase of miR-29a expression in the absence of NPM-ALK. Concordant results were observed after the abolition of NPM-ALK kinase activity (siALK or PF-2341066) in NPM-ALK(+) ALCL cell lines. In addition, we showed that low expression of miR-29a, probably through methylation repression, plays an important regulatory role in MCL-1 overexpression that could promote tumor cell survival by inhibiting apoptosis. Enforced miR-29a expression was found to modulate apoptosis through inhibition of MCL-1 expression in ALCL cell lines and in a xenografted model, with a concomitant tumor growth reduction. Thus, synthetic miR-29a represents a potential new tool to affect tumorigenesis in these lymphomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / physiology
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • MIRN29a microRNA, human
  • Mcl1 protein, mouse
  • MicroRNAs
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • ALK protein, human
  • Alk protein, mouse
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases