Activation Induced cytidine Deaminase (AID) targets the immunoglobulin genes of activated B cells, where it converts cytidine to uracil to induce mutagenesis and recombination. While essential for immunoglobulin gene diversification, AID misregulation can result in genomic instability and oncogenic transformation. This is classically illustrated in Burkitt's lymphoma, which is characterized by AID-induced mutation and reciprocal translocation of the c-MYC oncogene with the IgH loci. Originally thought to be B cell-specific, AID now appears to be misexpressed in several epithelial cancers, raising the specter that AID may also participate in non-B cell carcinogenesis.
The mutagenic potential of AID argues for the existence of cellular regulators capable of repressing inappropriate AID expression. MicroRNAs (miRs) have this capacity, and we have examined the publically available human AID EST dataset for miR complementarities to the human AID 3'UTR. In this work, we have evaluated the capacity of two candidate miRs to repress human AID expression in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells.
We have discovered moderate miR-155 and pronounced miR-93 complementary target sites encoded within the human AID mRNA. Luciferase reporter assays indicate that both miR-93 and miR-155 can interact with the 3'UTR of AID to block expression. In addition, over-expression of either miR in MCF-7 cells reduces endogenous AID protein, but not mRNA, levels. Similarly indicative of AID translational regulation, depletion of either miR in MCF-7 cells increases AID protein levels without concurrent increases in AID mRNA.
Together, our findings demonstrate that miR-93 and miR-155 constitutively suppress AID translation in MCF-7 cells, suggesting widespread roles for these miRs in preventing genome cytidine deaminations, mutagenesis, and oncogenic transformation. In addition, our characterization of an obscured miR-93 target site located within the AID 3'UTR supports the recent suggestion that many miR regulations have been overlooked due to the prevalence of truncated 3'UTR annotations.