Epigenetic regulation of AURKA by miR-4715-3p in upper gastrointestinal cancers

Ahmed Gomaa, Dunfa Peng, Zheng Chen, Mohammed Soutto, Khaled Abouelezz, Alejandro Corvalan, Wael El-Rifai

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11 Scopus citations


Aurora kinase A (AURKA) is frequently overexpressed in several cancers. miRNA sequencing and bioinformatics analysis indicated significant downregulation of miR-4715-3p. We found that miR-4715-3p has putative binding sites on the 3UTR region of AURKA. Upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma (UGC) tissue samples and cell models demonstrated significant overexpression of AURKA with downregulation of miR-4715-3p. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed binding of miR-4715-3p on the 3UTR region of AURKA. miR-4715-3p mediated a reduction in AURKA levels leading to G2/M delay, chromosomal polyploidy, and cell death. We also detected a remarkable decrease in GPX4, an inhibitor of ferroptosis, with an increase in cleaved PARP and caspase-3. Inhibition of AURKA using siRNA produced similar results, suggesting a possible link between AURKA and GPX4. Analysis of UGC samples and cell models demonstrated increased methylation levels of several CpG nucleotides upstream of miR-4715-3p. 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine induced demethylation of several CpG nucleotides, restoring miR-4715-3p expression, leading to downregulation of AURKA. In conclusion, our data identified a novel epigenetic mechanism mediating silencing of miR-4715-3p and induction of AURKA in UGCs. Inhibition of AURKA or reconstitution of miR-4715-3p inhibited GPX4 and induced cell death, suggesting a link between AURKA and ferroptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16970
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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