A miR-24 microRNA binding-site polymorphism in dihydrofolate reductase gene leads to methotrexate resistance

Prasun J. Mishra, Rita Humeniuk, Pravin J. Mishra, Giuseppe S.A. Longo-Sorbello, Debabrata Banerjee, Joseph R. Bertino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

384 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs are predicted to regulate ≈30% of all human genes by targeting sequences in their 3′ UTR. Polymorphisms in 3′ UTR of several genes have been reported to affect gene expression, but the mechanism is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that 829C→T, a naturally occurring SNP, near the miR-24 binding site in the 3′ UTR of human dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) affects DHFR expression by interfering with miR-24 function, resulting in DHFR overexpression and methotrexate resistance. miR-24 has a conserved binding site in DHFR 3′ UTR. DHFR with WT and 3′ UTR containing the 829C→T mutation were expressed in DG44 cells that lack DHFR. Overexpression of miR-24 in cells with WT DHFR resulted in down-regulation of DHFR protein, whereas no effect on DHFR protein expression was observed in the mutant 3′ UTR-expressing cells. Inhibition of endogenous miR-24 with a specific inhibitor led to up-regulation of DHFR in WT and not in mutant cells. Cells with the mutant 3′ UTR had a 2-fold increase in DHFR mRNA half-life, expressed higher DHFR mRNA and DHFR protein, and were 4-fold more resistant to methotrexate as compared with WT cells. SNP-829C→T, therefore, leads to a decrease in microRNA binding leading to overexpression of its target and results in resistance to methotrexate. We demonstrate that a naturally occurring miRSNP (a SNP located at or near a microRNA binding site in 3′ UTR of the target gene or in a microRNA) is associated with enzyme overproduction and drug resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13513-13518
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 14 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • 3′ UTR
  • Drug resistance
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Translational regulation
  • mRNA stability


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