Research ArticleCancer Biology

TRPS1 Targeting by miR-221/222 Promotes the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer

Sci. Signal.  14 Jun 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 177, pp. ra41
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2001538

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The basal-like subtype of breast cancer has an aggressive clinical behavior compared to that of the luminal subtype. We identified the microRNAs (miRNAs) miR-221 and miR-222 (miR-221/222) as basal-like subtype–specific miRNAs and showed that expression of miR-221/222 decreased expression of epithelial-specific genes and increased expression of mesenchymal-specific genes, and increased cell migration and invasion in a manner characteristic of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The transcription factor FOSL1 (also known as Fra-1), which is found in basal-like breast cancers but not in the luminal subtype, stimulated the transcription of miR-221/222, and the abundance of these miRNAs decreased with inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or MEK (mitogen-activated or extracellular signal–regulated protein kinase kinase), placing miR-221/222 downstream of the RAS pathway. Furthermore, miR-221/222–mediated reduction in E-cadherin abundance depended on their targeting the 3′ untranslated region of the GATA family transcriptional repressor TRPS1 (tricho-rhino-phalangeal syndrome type 1), which inhibited EMT by decreasing ZEB2 (zinc finger E-box–binding homeobox2) expression. We conclude that by promoting EMT, miR-221/222 may contribute to the more aggressive clinical behavior of basal-like breast cancers.

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