MicroRNA-92a functions as an oncogene in colorectal cancer by targeting PTEN

Guangjun Zhang, He Zhou, Huaxu Xiao, Zuoliang Liu, Hongpeng Tian, Tong Zhou
Digestive Diseases and Sciences 2014, 59 (1): 98-107

BACKGROUND: Our previous studies show that microRNA-92a (miR-92a) is overexpressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) and is thought to be correlated with the development of the cancer. However, its biological role in CRC remains poorly understood.

AIMS: The aim of the study was to determine the role of miR-92a and to elucidate its regulatory mechanism in CRC.

METHODS: The expression levels of miR-92a and phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) were detected by qRT-PCR and western blot. MTT, migration and invasion assays were used to examine the proliferation, migration and invasion of pre-miR-92a transfected SW480 cells, and a mouse model was used to investigate tumorigenesis. In addition, the regulation of PTEN by miR-92a was evaluated by qRT-PCR, western blot and luciferase reporter assays.

RESULTS: The expression of miR-92a was significantly up-regulated in the tissues of CRC patients with lymph node metastasis. The ectopic expression of miR-92a enhanced CRC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Similar results were found in xenograft assay performed in nude mice. Up-regulation of miR-92a induced EMT in CRC cells. There was an inverse correlation between the levels of miR-92a and PTEN in CRC tissues. The overexpression of miR-92a in CRC cells decreased PTEN expression at the translational level, and decreased PTEN-driven luciferase-reporter activity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that miR-92a induced EMT and regulated cell growth, migration and invasion in the SW480 cells, at least partially, via suppression of PTEN expression. MiR-92a may serve as a novel therapeutic target in colorectal cancer.

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