MicroRNA-128-2 targets the transcriptional repressor E2F5 enhancing mutant p53 gain of function
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p53 mutations have profound effects on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) resistance to chemotherapeutic treatments. Mutant p53 proteins are usually expressed at high levels in tumors, where they exert oncogenic functions. Here we show that p53R175H, a hotspot p53 mutant, induces microRNA (miRNA)-128-2 expression. Mutant p53 binds to the putative promoter of miR128-2 host gene, ARPP21, determining a concomitant induction of ARPP21 mRNA and miR-128-2. miR-128-2 expression in lung cancer cells inhibits apoptosis and confers increased resistance to cisplatin, doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracyl treatments. At the molecular level, miR-128-2 post-transcriptionally targets E2F5 and leads to the abrogation of its repressive activity on p21(waf1) transcription. p21(waf1) protein localizes to the cytoplasmic compartment, where it exerts an anti-apoptotic effect by preventing pro-caspase-3 cleavage. This study emphasizes miRNA-128-2 role as a master regulator in NSCLC chemoresistance.