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The Hedgehog signal transducer Smoothened and microRNA-326: pathogenesis and regulation of drug resistance in pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Authors Sheybani Z, Rahgozar S, Ghodousi ES

Received 5 May 2019

Accepted for publication 15 July 2019

Published 12 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 7621—7630


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Nakshatri

Zahra Sheybani, Soheila Rahgozar, Elaheh Sadat Ghodousi

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Purpose: Multidrug resistance (MDR) and the subsequent disease relapse are the major causes of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) related death. The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway can contribute to cancer MDR. In the current study, Smoothened (Smo) was selected as the experimental target due to its importance in the Hh pathway in order to evaluate its probable role in pediatric B-ALL drug resistance.
Patients and methods: The study included 27 pediatric B-ALL and 16 control bone marrow samples. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to investigate the expression levels of Smo and miR-326 as the key players of the Hh pathway. Western blot analysis was performed. The presence of minimal residual disease was studied using PCR-SSCP. The association between Smo expression and drug resistance was analyzed statistically.
Results: Results showed a significant increase in the Smo expression levels in drug-resistant patients in comparison with drug-sensitive children with B-ALL (P=0.0128, AUC=0.82). A considerable negative association between miR-326 and Smo expression levels was identified (r=−0.624, P=0.002). A binomial test confirmed the regulatory role of miR-326 on the translational repression of Smo (P=0.031). Statistics showed no association between Smo and ABCA2 expression levels. However, a significant positive correlation was observed between the Smo and ABCA3 transcripts in the resistant ALL children (r=0.607, P=0.016).
Conclusion: Data revealed the possible oncogenic impact of Smo on leukemogenesis and drug resistance in pediatric B-ALL. Upregulation of Smo was introduced, for the first time, as a prognostic factor for drug resistance in childhood B-ALL. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that shows a positive correlation between Smo and ABCA3 expression levels in pediatric B-ALL, explaining a possible mechanism for the development of drug resistance in this cancer. Moreover, the current project revealed a negative modulatory effect of miR-326 on the expression levels of Smo.

Keywords: Hh pathway, Smo, miR-326, ABC transporter

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