BMB Reports 2019; 52(3): 214-219
Regulation of IL-6 signaling by miR-125a and let-7e in endothelial cells controls vasculogenic mimicry formation of breast cancer cells
Youngsook Park1 & Jongmin Kim1,2,*
1Division of Biological Sciences, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul 04310, 2Research Institute for Women’s Health, Sookmyung
Women’s University, Seoul 04310, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-2-710-9553; Fax: +82-2-2077-7322; E-mail:
Received: December 19, 2018; Revised: January 4, 2019; Accepted: January 8, 2019; Published online: March 31, 2019.
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The role of tumor-proximal factors in tumor plasticity during chemoresistance and metastasis following chemotherapy is well studied. However, the role of endothelial cell (EC) derived paracrine factors in tumor plasticity, their effect on chemotherapeutic outcome, and the mechanism by which these paracrine factors modulate the tumor microenvironment are not well understood. In this study, we report a novel mechanism by which endothelial miR-125a and let-7e-mediated regulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6) signaling can manipulate vasculogenic mimicry (VM) formation of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. We found that endothelial IL-6 levels were significantly higher in response to cisplatin treatment, whereas levels of IL-6 upon cisplatin exposure remained unchanged in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. We additionally found an inverse correlation between IL-6 and miR-125a/let-7e expression levels in cisplatin treated ECs. Interestingly, IL-6, IL-6 receptor (IL-6R), and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) genes in the IL-6 pathway are closely regulated by miR-125a and let-7e, which directly target its 3' untranslated region. Functional analyses revealed that endothelial miR-125a and let-7e inhibit IL-6-induced adhesion of monocytes to ECs. Furthermore, conditioned medium from cisplatin treated ECs induced a significantly higher formation of VM in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells as compared to that from intact ECs; this effect of cisplatin treatment was abrogated by concurrent overexpression of miR-125a and let-7e. Overall, this study reveals a novel EC-tumor cell crosstalk mediated by the endothelial miR-125a/let-7e-IL-6 signaling axis, which might improve chemosensitivity and provide potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer.
Keywords: Chemoresistance, Endothelial cell, IL-6 signaling, microRNA, Vasculogenic mimicry

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