Epithelial carcinomas are well known to activate a prolonged wound-healing program that promotes malignant transformation. Wound closure requires the activation of keratinocyte migration via a dual-state molecular switch. This switch involves production of either the anti-migratory microRNA miR-198 or the pro-migratory follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) protein from a single transcript; miR-198 expression in healthy skin is down-regulated in favor of FSTL1 upon wounding, which enhances keratinocyte migration and promotes re-epithelialization.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) constitute a major, but poorly characterized part of human transcriptome. Recent evidence indicates that many lncRNAs are involved in cancer and can be used as predictive and prognostic biomarkers. Significant fraction of lncRNAs is represented on widely used microarray platforms, however they have usually been ignored in cancer studies.
Post-transcriptional switches are flexible effectors of dynamic changes in gene expression. Here we report a new post-transcriptional switch that dictates the spatiotemporal and mutually exclusive expression of two alternative gene products from a single transcript. Expression of primate-specific exonic microRNA-198 (miR-198), located in the 3'-untranslated region of follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) messenger RNA, switches to expression of the linked open reading frame of FSTL1 upon wounding in a human ex vivo organ culture system.
Malignant gliomas are the most aggressive forms of brain tumors, associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Recurrence and tumorigenesis are attributed to a subpopulation of tumor-initiating glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are intrinsically resistant to therapy. Initiation and progression of gliomas have been linked to alterations in microRNA expression. Here, we report the identification of microRNA-138 (miR-138) as a molecular signature of GSCs and demonstrate a vital role for miR-138 in promoting growth and survival of bona fide tumor-initiating cells with self-renewal potential.