The Wilms' tumor gene WT1 is overexpressed in leukemia and solid tumors and has an oncogenic role in leukemogenesis and tumorigenesis. However, precise regulatory mechanisms of WT1 overexpression remain undetermined. In the present study, microRNA-125a (miR-125a) was identified as a miRNA that suppressed WT1 expression via binding to the WT1-3'UTR. MiR-125a knockout mice overexpressed WT1, developed myeloproliferative disorder (MPD) characterized by expansion of myeloid cells in bone marrow (BM), spleen and peripheral blood, and displayed urogenital abnormalities. Silencing of WT1 expression in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells of miR-125a knockout MPD mice by short-hairpin RNA inhibited myeloid colony formation in vitro. Furthermore, the incidence and severity of MPD were lower in miR-125a (-/-) mice than in miR-125a (+/-) mice, indicating the operation of compensatory mechanisms for the complete loss of miR-125a. To elucidate the compensatory mechanisms, miRNA array was performed. MiR-486 was occasionally induced in compete loss of miR-125a and inhibited WT1 expression instead of miR-125a, resulting in the cancellation of MPD occurrence. These results showed for the first time the post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of WT1 by both miR-125a and miR-486 and should contribute to the elucidation of mechanisms of normal hematopoiesis and kidney development.
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