Expression of a family of noncoding mitochondrial RNAs distinguishes normal from cancer cells. PNAS 106 (23): 9430-9434 (2009)


Burzio V.A., Villota C., Villegas J., Landerer E., Boccardo E., Villa L.L, Martínez R., López C., Gaete F., Toro V., Rodriguez X. and Burzio L.O.


We reported the presence in human cells of a noncoding mitochondrial RNA that contains an inverted repeat (IR) of 815 nucleotides (nt) covalently linked to the 5′ end of the mitochondrial 16s RNA (16S mtrRNA). The transcript contains a stem-loop structure and is expressed in human proliferating cells but not in resting cells. Here, we demonstrate that, in addition to this transcript, normal human proliferating cells in culture express 2 antisense mitochondrial transcripts. These transcripts also contain stem-loop structures but strikingly they are down-regulated in tumor cell lines and tumor cells present in 17 different tumor types. The differential expression of these transcripts distinguishes normal from tumor cells and might contribute a unique vision on cancer biology and diagnostics.


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