JOURNAL ARTICLE

MicroRNA let-7a suppresses breast cancer cell migration and invasion through downregulation of C-C chemokine receptor type 7

Seok-Jun Kim, Ji-Young Shin, Kang-Duck Lee, Young-Ki Bae, Ki Woong Sung, Seok Jin Nam, Kyung-Hee Chun
Breast Cancer Research: BCR 2012, 14 (1): R14
22251626

INTRODUCTION: C-C chemokine receptor type 7 (CCR7) plays an important role in chemotactic and metastatic responses in various cancers, including breast cancer. In the present study, the authors demonstrated that microRNA (miRNA) let-7a downregulates CCR7 expression and directly influences the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.

METHODS: The expression of CCR7, its ligand CCL21, and let-7a was detected in breast cancer cell lines and in breast cancer patient tissues. Synthetic let-7a and an inhibitor of let-7a were transfected into MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells, respectively, and cell proliferation, cell migration, and invasion assays were performed. To confirm the fact that 3'UTR of CCR7 is a direct target of let-7a, a luciferase assay for the reporter gene expressing the let-7a binding sites of CCR7 3'UTR was used. An in vivo invasion animal model system using transparent zebrafish embryos was also established to determine the let-7a effect on breast cancer cell invasion.

RESULTS: First, a higher expression of both CCR7 and CCL21 in malignant tissues than in their normal counterparts from breast cancer patients was observed. In addition, a reverse correlation in the expression of CCR7 and let-7a in breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer patient tissues was detected. Synthetic let-7a decreased breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, as well as CCR7 protein expression in MDA-MB-231 cells. The let-7a inhibitor reversed the let-7a effects on the MCF-7 cells. The 3'UTR of CCR7 was confirmed as a direct target of let-7a by using the luciferase assay for the reporter gene expressing let-7a CCR7 3'UTR binding sites. Notably, when analyzing in vivo invasion, MDA-MB 231 cells after synthetic let-7a transfection were unable to invade the vessels in zebrafish embryos.

CONCLUSIONS: The results from the present study suggest that targeting of CCL21-CCR7 signaling is a valid approach for breast cancer therapy and that let-7a directly binds to the 3'UTR of CCR7 and blocks its protein expression, thereby suppressing migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the present study underscores the therapeutic potential of let-7a as an antitumor and antimetastatic manager in breast cancer patients.

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