Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary bone tumor that is most prevalent during adolescence. RUNX2, which stimulates differentiation and suppresses proliferation of osteoblasts, is deregulated in OS. Here, we define pathological roles of RUNX2 in the etiology of OS and mechanisms by which RUNX2 expression is stimulated. RUNX2 is often highly expressed in human OS biopsies and cell lines. Small interference RNA (siRNA)-mediated depletion of RUNX2 inhibits growth of U2OS OS cells. RUNX2 levels are inversely linked to loss of p53 (which predisposes to OS) in distinct OS cell lines and osteoblasts. RUNX2 protein levels decrease upon stabilization of p53 with the MDM2 inhibitor Nutlin-3. Elevated RUNX2 protein expression is post-transcriptionally regulated and directly linked to diminished expression of several validated RUNX2 targeting microRNAs (miRNAs) in human OS cells compared to mesenchymal progenitor cells. The p53-dependent miR-34c is the most significantly down-regulated RUNX2 targeting miRNA in OS. Exogenous supplementation of miR-34c markedly decreases RUNX2 protein levels, while 3UTR reporter assays establish RUNX2 as a direct target of miR-34c in OS cells. Importantly, Nutlin-3 mediated stabilization of p53 increases expression of miR-34c and decreases RUNX2. Thus, a novel RUNX2-p53-miR34 network controls cell growth of osseous cells and is compromised in OS.
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Biology