A Regulatory Circuit of miR-148a/152 and DNMT1 in Modulating Cell Transformation and Tumor Angiogenesis Through IGF-IR and IRS1

J Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Feb;5(1):3-13. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjs049. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


Dysregulation of microRNAs is a common feature in human cancers, including breast cancer (BC). Here we describe the epigenetic regulation of miR-148a and miR-152 and their impact on BC cells. Due to the hypermethylation of CpG island, the expression levels of both miR-148a and miR-152 (miR-148a/152) are decreased in BC tissues and cells. DNMT1, the DNA methyltransferase 1 for the maintenance methylation, is aberrantly up-regulated in BC and its overexpression is responsible for hypermethylation of miR-148a and miR-152 promoters. Intriguingly, we found that DNMT1 expression, which is one of the targets of miR-148a/152, is inversely correlated with the expression levels of miR-148a/152 in BC tissues. Those results lead us to propose a negative feedback regulatory loop between miR-148a/152 and DNMT1 in BC. More importantly, we demonstrate that IGF-IR and IRS1, often overexpressed in BC, are two novel targets of miR-148a/152. Overexpression of miR-148a or miR-152 significantly inhibits BC cell proliferation, colony formation, and tumor angiogenesis via targeting IGF-IR and IRS1 and suppressing their downstream AKT and MAPK/ERK signaling pathways. Our results suggest a novel miR-148a/152-DNMT1 regulatory circuit and reveal that miR-148a and miR-152 act as tumor suppressors by targeting IGF-IR and IRS1, and that restoration of miR-148a/152 expression may provide a strategy for therapeutic application to treat BC patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / genetics
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / genetics*
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • IRS1 protein, human
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • MIRN148 microRNA, human
  • MIRN152 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNMT1 protein, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases