Background: Our previous report demonstrated that genetic ablation of miR-301a reduces Kras-driven lung tumorigenesis in mice. However, the impact of miR-301a on host anti-tumor immunity remains unexplored. Here we assessed the underlying molecular mechanisms of miR-301a in the tumor microenvironment.
Methods: The differentially expressed genes were identified by using deep sequencing. The immune cell counts, and cytokines expression were analyzed by realtime PCR, immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. The role of miR-301a/Runx3 in lung tumor was evaluated on cell growth, migration and invasion. The function of miR-301a/Runx3 in regulating tumor microenvironment and tumor metastasis were evaluated in Kras transgenic mice and B16/LLC1 syngeneic xenografts tumor models.
Results: In this work, we identified 1166 up-regulated and 475 down-regulated differentially expressed genes in lung tumor tissues between KrasLA2 and miR-301a-/-; KrasLA2 mice. Immune response and cell cycle were major pathways involved in the protective role of miR-301a deletion in lung tumorigenesis. Overexpression of the miR-301a target, Runx3, was an early event identified in miR-301a-/-; KrasLA2 mice compared to WT-KrasLA2 mice. We found that miR-301a deletion enhanced CD8+ T cell accumulation and IFN-γ production in the tumor microenvironment and mediated antitumor immunity. Further studies revealed that miR-301a deficiency in the tumor microenvironment effectively reduced tumor metastasis by elevating Runx3 and recruiting CD8+ T cells, whereas miR-301a knockdown in tumor cells themselves restrained cell migration by elevating Runx3 expression.
Conclusions: Our findings further underscore that miR-301a facilitates tumor microenvironment antitumor immunity by Runx3 suppression in lung tumorigenesis.
Keywords: CD8+ T cells; IFN-γ; Kras; Runx3; miR-301a.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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