MicroRNA miR-125b induces senescence in human melanoma cells

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules involved in gene regulation. Aberrant expression of miRNA has been associated with the development or progression of several diseases, including cancer. In a previous study, we found that the expression of miRNA-125b (miR-125b) was two-fold lower in malignant melanoma producing lymph node micrometastases than in nonmetastasizing tumors. To get further insight into the functional role of miR-125b, we assessed whether its overexpression or silencing affects apoptosis, proliferation, or senescence in melanoma cell lines. We showed that overexpression of miR-125b induced typical senescent cell morphology, including increased cytoplasmatic/nucleus ratio and intensive cytoplasmatic β-galactosidase expression. In contrast, inhibition of miR-125b resulted in 30–35% decreased levels of spontaneous apoptosis. We propose that downregulation of miR-125b in an early cutaneous malignant melanoma can contribute to the increased metastatic capability of this tumor.

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