The role of microRNAs in mammary tumorigenesis
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that regulate the expression of mRNA targets, and are aberrantly expressed in several cancers, including breast cancer. Using a transgenic mouse model of mammary tumorigenesis (MTB-IGFIR), a miRNA array was previously performed in our lab to study the expression level of various miRNAs in mammary tumours compared to wild-type mammary tissue. Next, the expression of a number of the differentially expressed miRNAs was confirmed and manipulated in a tumour cell line (RM11A) generated from a MTB-IGFIR mammary tumour. Synthetic miRNA precursors and inhibitors were then used to overexpress and knockdown, respectively, the levels of five miRNAs: miR-31, miR-183, miR-200c, miR-210, and miR-378. Upon optimization of miRNA overexpression and downregulation in RM11A cells, this study tested the effects of these miRNAs on cellular growth, survival, or invasiveness in vitro. Compared to negative controls, overexpression of all five miRNAs was associated with a significant decrease in cellular invasion, while only the overexpression of miR-31 had a significant effect on proliferation. No significant effects were found on cell survival. Our results implicate these five miRNAs in different aspects of mammary tumorigenesis, as well as having a tissue specific role in RM11A cells.