miR-181a promotes G1/S transition and cell proliferation in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia by targeting ATM

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016 Jan;142(1):77-87. doi: 10.1007/s00432-015-1995-1. Epub 2015 Jun 26.


Purpose: Abnormal expression of miRNAs is intimately related to a variety of human cancers. The purpose of this study is to confirm the expression of miR-181a and elucidate its physiological function and mechanism in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Methods: Pediatric AML patients and healthy controls were enrolled, and the expression of miR-181a and ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) in tissues were examined using quantitative PCR. Moreover, cell proliferation and cell cycle were evaluated in several cell lines (HL60, NB4 and K562) by using flow cytometry after transfected with miR-181a mimics and inhibitors, or ATM siRNA and control siRNA. Finally, ATM as the potential target protein of miR-181a was examined.

Results: We found that miR-181a was significantly increased in pediatric AML, which showed an inverse association with ATM expression. Overexpressed miR-181a in cell lines significantly enhanced cell proliferation, as well as increased the ratio of S-phase cells by miR-181a mimics transfection in vitro. Luciferase activity of the reporter construct identified ATM as the direct molecular target of miR-181a. ATM siRNA transfection significantly enhanced cell proliferation and increased the ratio of S-phase cells in vitro.

Conclusion: The results revealed novel mechanism through which miR-181a regulates G1/S transition and cell proliferation in pediatric AML by regulating the tumor suppressor ATM, providing insights into the molecular mechanism in pediatric AML.

Keywords: ATM; Acute myeloid leukemia; Cell proliferation; MicroRNA; Tumor suppressor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology*
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • MIrn181 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins