Hypoxia-induced downregulation of miR-30c promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human renal cell carcinoma

Jiwei Huang, Xiaoying Yao, Jin Zhang, Baijun Dong, Qi Chen, Wei Xue, Dongming Liu, Yiran Huang
Cancer Science 2013, 104 (12): 1609-17
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which negatively regulate protein expression by binding protein-coding mRNAs, have been integrated into cancer development and progression as either oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. miR-30c was reported to be downregulated in several types of cancer. However, its role in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains largely unknown. Here, we show that miR-30c is significantly downregulated in human RCC tissues and cell lines. We found that miR-30c downregulation could be induced by hypoxia in RCC cells in a hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) dependent manner. Repression of miR-30c through its inhibitor resulted in reduction of E-cadherin production and promotion of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), while overexpression of miR-30c inhibited EMT in RCC cells. We identified Slug as a direct target of miR-30c in RCC cells. Slug was upregulated in RCC tissues and its expression could be induced by hypoxia, which is consistent with downregulation of miR-30c by hypoxia. Forced overexpression of Slug in 786-O cells reduced E-cadherin production, and promoted EMT as well as cell migration. Moreover, Slug overexpression abrogated the inhibitory role of miR-30c in regulating EMT and cell migration, indicating miR-30c regulates EMT through Slug in RCC cells. Our findings propose a model that hypoxia induces EMT in RCC cells through downregulation of miR-30c, which leads to subsequent increase of Slug expression and repression of E-cadherin production, and suggest a potential application of miR-30c in RCC treatment.

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