Expression of the mannose receptor (MRC1/CD206) identifies macrophage subtypes, such as alternatively activated macrophages (AAMs) and M2-polarized tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which are endowed with tissue-remodeling, proangiogenic, and protumoral activity. However, the significance of MRC1 expression for TAM's protumoral activity is unclear. Here, we describe and characterize miR-511-3p, an intronic microRNA (miRNA) encoded by both mouse and human MRC1 genes. By using sensitive miRNA reporter vectors, we demonstrate robust expression and bioactivity of miR-511-3p in MRC1(+) AAMs and TAMs. Unexpectedly, enforced expression of miR-511-3p tuned down the protumoral gene signature of MRC1(+) TAMs and inhibited tumor growth. Our findings suggest that transcriptional activation of Mrc1 in TAMs evokes a genetic program orchestrated by miR-511-3p, which limits rather than enhances their protumoral functions. Besides uncovering a role for MRC1 as gatekeeper of TAM's protumoral genetic programs, these observations suggest that endogenous miRNAs may operate to establish thresholds for inflammatory cell activation in tumors.
Copyright © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.