© Ngankeu et al. We previously reported that microRNA (miR)-29b is down-regulated and has a tumor suppressor role in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, little is known about the mechanisms responsible for miR-29b expression downregulation in AML. In this work we screened for mutations that could affect miR-29b expression. Using Sanger sequencing, we identified a germline thymidine (T) base deletion within the miR-29b-1/miR-29a cluster precursor in 16% of AML patients. Remarkably we found a significant enrichment for the presence of the miR-29 polymorphism in core binding factor (CBF) newly diagnosed AML patients (n = 61/303; 20%) with respect to age, sex and race matched controls (n = 43/402:11%, P < 0.01). Mechanistically, this polymorphism affects the expression ratio of mature miR-29b and miR-29a by dampening the processing of miR-29a. RNA immunoprecipitation assays showed reduced DROSHA binding capacity to the polymorphism with respect to the controls. Finally, we showed that this polymorphism negatively impacts the ability of miR- 29b-1/miR-29a cluster to target MCL-1 and CDK6, both known miR-29 targets.
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School of Medicine