MicroRNA-204/CREB5 axis regulates vasculogenic mimicry in breast cancer cells Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is characterized by formation of three-dimensional (3D) channels-like structures by tumor cells, supplying the nutrients needed for tumor growth. VM is stimulated by hypoxic tumor microenvironment, and it has been associated with increased metastasis and clinical poor outcome in cancer patients. cAMP responsive element (CRE)-binding protein 5 (CREB5) is a hypoxia-activated transcription factor involved in tumorigenesis. However, CREB5 functions in VM and if its regulated by microRNAs remains unknown in breast cancer. OBJECTIVE: We aim to study the functional relationships between VM, CREB5 and microRNA-204-5p (miR-204) in breast cancer cells. METHODS: CREB5 expression was evaluated by mining the public databases, and using RT-qPCR and Western blot assays. CREB5 expression was silenced using short-hairpin RNAs in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. VM formation was analyzed using matrigel-based cultures in hypoxic conditions. MiR-204 expression was restored in cancer cells by transfection of RNA mimics. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to evaluate the binding of miR-204 to 3′UTR of CREB5. RESULTS: Our data showed that CREB5 mRNA expression was upregulated in a set of breast cancer cell lines and clinical tumors, and it was positively associated with poor prognosis in lymph nodes positive and grade 3 basal breast cancer patients. Silencing of CREB5 impaired the hypoxia-induced formation of 3D channels-like structures representative of the early stages of VM in MDA-MB-231 cells. In contrast, VM formation was not observed in MCF-7 cells. Interestingly, we found that CREB5 expression was negatively regulated by miR-204 mimics in breast cancer cells. Functional analysis confirmed that miR-204 binds to CREB5 3′-UTR indicating that it%27s an ulterior effector. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggested that CREB5 could be a potential biomarker of disease progression in basal subtype of breast cancer, and that perturbations of the miR-204/CREB5 axis plays an important role in VM development in breast cancer cells. © 2022-IOS Press. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2022-01-01