It has been established that microRNA expression and function contribute to phenotypic features of malignant cells, including resistance to apoptosis. Although targets and functional roles for a number of microRNAs have been described in cholangiocarcinoma, many additional microRNAs dysregulated in this tumor have not been assigned functional roles. In this study, we identify elevated miR-25 expression in malignant cholangiocarcinoma cell lines as well as patient samples. In cultured cells, treatment with the Smoothened inhibitor, cyclopamine, reduced miR-25 expression, suggesting Hedgehog signaling stimulates miR-25 production. Functionally, miR-25 was shown to protect cells against TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis. Correspondingly, antagonism of miR-25 in culture sensitized cells to apoptotic death. Computational analysis identified the TRAIL Death Receptor-4 (DR4) as a potential novel miR-25 target, and this prediction was confirmed by immunoblot, cell staining, and reporter assays. Conclusion: These data implicate elevated miR-25 levels in the control of tumor cell apoptosis in cholangiocarcinoma. The identification of the novel miR-25 target DR4 provides a mechanism by which miR-25 contributes to evasion of TRAIL-induced cholangiocarcinoma apoptosis.
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