Downregulation of microRNA-515-5p by the Estrogen Receptor Modulates Sphingosine Kinase 1 and Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation

Filipa G. Pinho, Adam E. Frampton, Joao Nunes, Jonathan Krell, Heba Alshaker, Jimmy Jacob, Loredana Pellegrino, Laura Roca-Alonso, Alexander de Giorgio, Victoria Harding, Jonathan Waxman, Justin Stebbing, Dmitry Pchejetski, Leandro Castellano

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67 Citations (Scopus)


Sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) plays an important role in estrogen-dependent breast tumorigenesis, but its regulation is poorly understood. A subset of microRNAs (miRNA, miR) is regulated by estrogen and contributes to cellular proliferation and cancer progression. Here, we describe that miR-515-5p is transcriptionally repressed by estrogen receptor α (ERα) and functions as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer. Its downregulation enhances cell proliferation and estrogen-dependent SK1 activity, mediated by a reduction of miR-515-5p posttranscriptional repression. Enforced expression of miR-515-5p in breast cancer cells causes a reduction in SK1 activity, reduced cell proliferation, and the induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis. Conversely, opposing effects occur with miR-515-5p inhibition and by SK1 silencing. Notably, we show that estradiol (E2) treatment downregulates miR-515-5p levels, whereas the antiestrogen tamoxifen causes a decrease in SK1, which is rescued by silencing miR-515-5p. Analysis of chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) data reveals that miR-515-5p suppression is mediated by a direct interaction of ERα within its promoter. RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis of breast cancer cells after overexpressing miR-515-5p indicates that it partly modulates cell proliferation by regulating the Wnt pathway. The clinical implications of this novel regulatory system are shown as miR-515-5p is significantly downregulated in ER-positive (n = 146) compared with ER-negative (n = 98) breast cancers. Overall, we identify a new link between ERα, miR-515-5p, proliferation, and apoptosis in breast cancer tumorigenesis. Cancer Res; 73(19); 5936–48. ©2013 AACR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5936-5948
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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