MiR-34a targets GAS1 to promote cell proliferation and inhibit apoptosis in papillary thyroid carcinoma via PI3K/Akt/Bad pathway

Yanfei Ma, Huadong Qin, Yunfu Cui
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2013 November 29, 441 (4): 958-63
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are fundamental regulators of cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, and are implicated in tumorigenesis of many cancers. MiR-34a is best known as a tumor suppressor through repression of growth factors and oncogenes. Growth arrest specific1 (GAS1) protein is a tumor suppressor that inhibits cancer cell proliferation and induces apoptosis through inhibition of RET receptor tyrosine kinase. Both miR-34a and GAS1 are frequently down-regulated in various tumors. However, it has been reported that while GAS1 is down-regulated in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), miR-34a is up-regulated in this specific type of cancer, although their potential roles in PTC tumorigenesis have not been examined to date. A computational search revealed that miR-34a putatively binds to the 3'-UTR of GAS1 gene. In the present study, we confirmed previous findings that miR-34a is up-regulated and GAS1 down-regulated in PTC tissues. Further studies indicated that GAS1 is directly targeted by miR-34a. Overexpression of miR-34a promoted PTC cell proliferation and colony formation and inhibited apoptosis, whereas knockdown of miR-34a showed the opposite effects. Silencing of GAS1 had similar growth-promoting effects as overexpression of miR-34a. Furthermore, miR-34a overexpression led to activation of PI3K/Akt/Bad signaling pathway in PTC cells, and depletion of Akt reversed the pro-growth, anti-apoptotic effects of miR-34a. Taken together, our results demonstrate that miR-34a regulates GAS1 expression to promote proliferation and suppress apoptosis in PTC cells via PI3K/Akt/Bad pathway. MiR-34a functions as an oncogene in PTC.

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