miR-181a modulates acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility to natural killer cells.
Although daunorubicin (DNR) is the most widely used anthracycline to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), resistance to this drug remains a critical problem. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between AML resistance to daunorubicin and susceptibility to natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cell lysis, and the putative expression of miRs. For this purpose, we used the parental AML cell lines U-937 and KG-1 and their equivalent resistant U937(R) and KG-1(R) cell lines. We demonstrate for the first time that the acquisition of resistance to DNR by the parental cell lines resulted in the acquisition of cross-resistance to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. miR microarray analysis revealed that this cross-resistance was associated with miR-181a downregulation and the subsequent regulation of MAP3K10 and MAP2K1 tyrosine kinases and the BCL(-)2 (BCL(-)2 and MCL(-)1) family. Overexpression of miR-181a in AML blasts resulted in the attenuation of their resistance to DNR and to NK-cell-mediated killing. These data point to a determinant role of miR-181a in the sensitization of leukemic resistant cells to DNR and NK cells and suggest that miR-181a may provide a promising option for the treatment of immuno- and chemo-resistant blasts.