miRNAs are small noncoding RNAs involved in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. Deregulated miRNA levels have been linked to Burkitt lymphoma (BL) pathogenesis. To date, the number of known pathogenesis-related miRNA-target gene interactions is limited. Here, we determined for the first time the miRNA targetomes of primary BL tumors and normal B cells. AG02-RNA immunoprecipitation of two frozen diagnostic BL tissue samples and three CD19(+) B-cell samples isolated from routinely removed tonsils showed distinct miRNA targetomes of BL and normal B cells. In contrast to normal B cells, miRNA target genes in BL were enriched for targets of the oncogenic miR-17 to 92 cluster, and were involved mainly in cell cycle and cell death. Immunohistochemistry on BL and tonsil tissues confirmed altered protein levels for two of six selected miRNA targets, in line with the differential AG02-IP enrichment between BL and normal B cells. A comparison of AG02-IP-enriched genes in primary BL cases with BL cell lines indicated that despite a considerable overlap, the miRNA targetomes of BL cell lines show substantial differences with the targetomes of primary BL tumors. In summary, we identified distinct miRNA targetomes of BL and normal B cells, and showed both the necessity and feasibility of studying miRNA-target gene interactions in primary tumors.
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