Hypoxia-upregulated microRNA-630 targets Dicer, leading to increased tumor progression

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules that affect cellular processes by controlling gene expression. Recent studies have shown that hypoxia downregulates Drosha and Dicer, key enzymes in miRNA biogenesis, causing a decreased pool of miRNAs in cancer and resulting in increased tumor growth and metastasis. Here we demonstrate a previously unrecognized mechanism by which hypoxia downregulates Dicer. We found that miR-630, which is upregulated under hypoxic conditions, targets and downregulates Dicer expression. In an orthotopic mouse model of ovarian cancer, delivery of miR-630 using 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) nanoliposomes resulted in increased tumor growth and metastasis, and decreased Dicer expression. Treatment with the combination of anti-miR-630 and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody in mice resulted in rescue of Dicer expression and significantly decreased tumor growth and metastasis. These results indicate that targeting miR-630 is a promising approach to overcome Dicer deregulation in cancer. As demonstrated in the study, use of DOPC nanoliposomes for antimiR delivery serves as a better alternative approach to cell line-based overexpression of sense or antisense miRNAs, while avoiding potential in vitro selection effects. Findings from this study provide a new understanding of miRNA biogenesis downregulation observed under hypoxia and suggest therapeutic avenues to target this dysregulation in cancer.

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