HER2+ breast tumors have been shown to express elevated levels of PARP1 protein. Yet, the mechanism by which PARP1 is upregulated in HER2+ breast cancer is unknown. Here, knockdown of HER2 (ERBB2) in HER2+ breast cancer cells resulted in a reduction in PARP1 protein. Conversely, ectopic overexpression of HER2 in a non-HER2–overexpressing cell line resulted in increased PARP1 protein levels. Alterations in HER2 expression had no significant effect on PARP1 transcript levels. Instead, HER2 mRNA status was inversely correlated with let-7a miRNA levels in breast cancer cells. Ectopic expression of let-7a miRNA resulted in downregulation of PARP1 protein, whereas expression of the let-7a anti-miRNA increased PARP1 protein. Furthermore, luciferase assays demonstrate that let-7a regulates PARP1 via its 3′UTR. Importantly, let-7a was significantly lower in human HER2+ breast tumors compared with HER2− breast tumors and inversely correlated with PARP1 protein levels. Finally, HER2+ breast cancer cells exhibited similar cytotoxicity to ectopic let-7a expression as the PARP inhibitor veliparib (ABT-888). Collectively, these results reveal that increased PARP1 expression in HER2+ breast cancers is regulated by the let-7a miRNA, and that let-7a is a potential strategy to suppress PARP1 activity.
Implications: This study reports the novel findings that HER2 increases PARP1 protein via suppression of the let-7a miRNA, which regulates the PARP1 3′-UTR. Moreover, HER2 status correlates with high PARP1 and low let-7a in breast cancer clinical specimens. Mol Cancer Res; 15(3); 340–7. ©2016 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 235
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Research Online (http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 24, 2016.
- Revision received November 18, 2016.
- Accepted December 8, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.