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Title: ABCB5 and the regulation of p16INK4a by non-coding RNA
Author: Braker, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 2554
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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p16INK4a (p16) traps the cell at the restriction point of the cell cycle by binding to cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 thus preventing the phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRB). As p16 accumulates the cell stops dividing and becomes senescent. This study investigates the modulation of p16 function by the putative membrane protein ABCB5 and a group of five putative oncogenic microRNAs (oncomiRs). ABCB5 is a poorly characterised member of the B-subfamily of human ATP Binding Cassette transporters. ABCB5 is reportedly transcribed into four transcripts, one of which could potentially encode a full-length transporter (ABCB5fl) whilst a second could encode a half-transporter (ABCB5β). The other two transcripts (ABCB5α and ABCB5γ) could only encode short polypeptides. Exogenous expression of ABCB5fl and ABCB5β was achieved in HEK293T cells, but the recombinant protein expressed poorly and localised to the endoplasmic reticulum. Point mutations introduced into the ATP catalytic domain failed to improve expression levels suggesting that protein function was not deleterious to the cell. Exogenous expression in HEK293T cells also allowed commercial antibodies purportedly raised against ABCB5 isoforms to be tested. Several were found not to recognise ABCB5 necessitating re-interpretation of published data. However, one antibody recognised both ABCB5fl and ABCB5β, and was subsequently used to evaluate protein expression levels in other cell types.siRNA knockdown of ABCB5 in human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) caused a concomitant reduction in p16 expression and an increase in cellular proliferation. Differential siRNAs and RT-qPCR analyses demonstrated ABCB5β to be the relevant transcript with respect to the reduction in p16 expression; however, no native ABCB5β protein was detected in HMECs. Together these data lead to the hypothesis that the ABCB5β transcript may act as a long noncoding RNA to regulate p16. Exogenous expression of each of five distinct putative oncomiRs in HMECs was found to increase cellular proliferation and, surprisingly, increase p16 expression. These results mirror a phenotype commonly observed in p16-positive basal-like breast cancer (BLBC), an aggressive form of breast cancer with poor prognosis and few treatment options. Bioinformatic analysis of the predicted target genes for these oncomiRs identified multiple transcriptional regulators of pRB. These predictions, together with the work performed in a cellular model of p16-positive BLBC, suggest that the oncomiRs may cause unrestricted cell proliferation by indirectly reducing transcription of the pRB gene, RB1. In the absence of pRB, p16 expression is induced via a previously reported oncogeneinduced senescence-like positive feedback loop. These data, and previously published observations, suggest that a similar mechanism may explain the basis of p16-positive BLBC.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ncogenic microRNAs ; cell cycles ; tumour suppressor genes ; Human Mammary Epithelial Cells.