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Deregulation of miR‐27a may contribute to canine fibroblast activation after coculture with a mast cell tumour cell line

Matias Aguilera‐Rojas, Soroush Sharbati, Torsten Stein, Ralf Einspanier
FEBS Open Bio 2020 v.10 no.5 pp. 802-816
RNA interference, actin, carcinogenesis, cell growth, cell lines, coculture, cyclins, dogs, exosomes, extracellular matrix, fibroblasts, interleukin-6, mast cells, microRNA, muscles, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, protein content
The tumour microenvironment comprises a diverse range of cells, including fibroblasts, immune cells and endothelial cells, along with extracellular matrix. In particular, fibroblasts are of significant interest as these cells are reprogrammed during tumorigenesis to become cancer‐associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which in turn support cancer cell growth. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to be involved in this intercellular crosstalk in humans. To assess whether miRNAs are also involved in the activation of fibroblasts in dogs, we cocultured primary canine skin fibroblasts with the canine mast cell tumour cell line C2 directly or with C2‐derived exosomes, and measured differential abundance of selected miRNAs. Expression of the CAF markers alpha‐smooth muscle actin (ACTA2) and stanniocalcin 1 confirmed the activation of our fibroblasts after coculture. We show that fibroblasts displayed significant downregulation of miR‐27a and let‐7 family members. These changes correlated with significant upregulation of predicted target mRNAs. Furthermore, RNA interference knockdown of miR‐27a revealed that cyclin G1 (CCNG1) exhibited negative correlation at the mRNA and protein level, suggesting that CCNG1 is a target of miR‐27a in canine fibroblasts and involved in their activation. Importantly, miR‐27a knockdown itself resulted in fibroblast activation, as demonstrated by the formation of ACTA2 filaments. In addition, interleukin‐6 (IL‐6) was strongly induced in our fibroblasts when cocultured, indicating potential reciprocal signalling. Taken together, our findings are consistent with canine fibroblasts being reprogrammed into CAFs to further support cancer development and that downregulation of miR‐27a may play an important role in the tumour–microenvironment crosstalk.