miR-15 and miR-16 are direct transcriptional targets of E2F1 that limit E2F-induced proliferation by targeting cyclin E

Matan Ofir, Dalia Hacohen, Doron Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


microRNAs (miR) are small noncoding RNA molecules that have recently emerged as critical regulators of gene expression and are often deregulated in cancer. In particular, miRs encoded by the miR-15a, miR-16-1 cluster seem to act as tumor suppressors. Here, we evidence that the miR-15a, miR-16-1 cluster and related miR-15b, miR-16-2 cluster comprise miRs regulated by E2F1, a pivotal transcription factor that can induce both proliferation and cell death. E2F1 is a critical downstream target of the tumor suppressor retinoblastoma (RB). The RB pathway is often inactivated in human tumors resulting in deregulated E2F activity. We show that expression levels of the 4 mature miRs, miR-15a, miR-16-1 and miR-15b, miR-16-2, as well as their precursor primiRNAs, are elevated upon activation of ectopic E2F1. Moreover, activation of endogenous E2Fs upregulates expression of these miRs and endogenous E2F1 binds their respective promoters. Importantly, we corroborate that miR-15a/b inhibits expression of cyclin E, the latter a key direct transcriptional target of E2F pivotal for the G1/S transition, raising the possibility that E2F1, miR-15, and cyclin E constitute a feed-forward loop that modulates E2F activity and cell-cycle progression. In support of this, ectopic expression of miR-15 inhibits the G1/S transition, and, conversely, inhibition of miR-15 expression enhances E2F1-induced upregulation of cyclin E1 levels. Furthermore, inhibition of both miR-15 and miR-16 enhances E2F1-induced G1/S transition. In summary, our data identify the miR-15 and miR-16 families as novel transcriptional targets of E2F, which, in turn, modulates E2F activity. Mol Cancer Res; 9(4); 440-7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-447
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


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