MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) expression promotes growth, metastasis, and chemo- or radioresistance in non-small cell lung cancer cells by targeting PTEN

Zhi-Li Liu, He Wang, Jing Liu, Zhao-Xia Wang
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2013, 372 (1-2): 35-45
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression by binding to target sites and initiating translational repression and/or mRNA degradation. In our previous study, we have shown that expression of serum microRNA (miR)-21 is correlated with TNM stage and lymph node metastasis and might be an independent prognostic factor for NSCLC patients. However, the roles of miR-21 overexpression in NSCLC development are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of miR-21 and determine whether miR-21 can be a therapeutic target for human NSCLC. Taqman real-time quantitative RT-PCR assay was performed to detect miR-21 expression in NSCLC cell lines and tissues. Next, the effects of miR-21 expression on NSCLC cell characteristics including growth, invasion, and chemo- or radioresistance were also determined. Results showed that miR-21 is commonly upregulated in NSCLC cell lines and tissues with important functional consequences. In addition, we found that anti-miR-21 could significantly inhibit growth, migration and invasion, and reverse chemo- or radioresistance of NSCLC cells, while miR-21 mimics could increase growth, promote migration and invasion, and enhance chemo- or radioresistance of NSCLC cells. Meanwhile, miR-21 mimics could inhibit expression of PTEN mRNA and protein and the luciferase activity of a PTEN 3'-untranslated region (UTR)-based reporter construct in A549 cells, while anti-miR-21 could increase expression of PTEN mRNA and protein and the luciferase activity of a PTEN 3'-UTR-based reporter construct in A549 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of PTEN could mimic the same effects of anti-miR-21 in NSCLC cells, and siRNA-mediated downregulation of PTEN could rescue the effects on NSCLC cells induced by anti-miR-21. Taken together, these results provide evidence to show the promotion role of miR-21 in NSCLC development through modulation of the PTEN signaling pathway.

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