Spliceosome-associated micrornas signify breast cancer cells and portray potential novel nuclear targets

Shelly Mahlab-Aviv, Keren Zohar, Yael Cohen, Ayelet R. Peretz, Tsiona Eliyahu, Michal Linial*, Ruth Sperling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) act as negative regulators of gene expression in the cytoplasm. Previous studies have identified the presence of miRNAs in the nucleus. Here we study human breast cancer-derived cell-lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and a non-tumorigenic cell-line (MCF-10A) and compare their miRNA sequences at the spliceosome fraction (SF). We report that the levels of miRNAs found in the spliceosome, their identity, and pre-miRNA segmental composition are cell-line specific. One such miRNA is miR-7704 whose genomic position overlaps HAGLR, a cancer-related lncRNA. We detected an inverse expression of miR-7704 and HAGLR in the tested cell lines. Specifically, inhibition of miR-7704 caused an increase in HAGLR expression. Furthermore, elevated levels of miR-7704 slightly altered the cell-cycle in MDA-MB-231. Altogether, we show that SF-miR-7704 acts as a tumor-suppressor gene with HAGLR being its nuclear target. The relative levels of miRNAs found in the spliceosome fractions (e.g., miR-100, miR-30a, and let-7 family) in non-tumorigenic relative to cancer-derived cell-lines was monitored. We found that the expression trend of the abundant miRNAs in SF was different from that reported in the literature and from the observation of large cohorts of breast cancer patients, suggesting that many SF-miRNAs act on targets that are different from the cytoplasmic ones. Altogether, we report on the potential of SF-miRNAs as an unexplored route for cancerous cell state.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8132
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • AntimiR
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Metastasis
  • NcRNA
  • Nuclear miRNAs
  • OncomiR
  • RNA-seq


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