Mir-655 up-regulation suppresses cell invasion by targeting pituitary tumor-transforming gene-1 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Yuanyuan Wang, Wenqiao Zang, Yuwen Du, Yunyun Ma, Min Li, Ping Li, Xudong Chen, Tao Wang, Ziming Dong, Guoqiang Zhao
Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11: 301

BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) can act as either oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes under different conditions and thus can play a significant role in cancer development. We investigated miR-655 expression in a cohort of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) to assess the impact of this miRNA on ESCC cell invasion and metastasis.

METHODS: A qRT-PCR assay was used to quantify miR-655 expression levels in 34 paired ESCC samples and adjacent non-tumor tissues. Wound healing and transwell assays were used to evaluate the effects of miR-655 expression on the invasiveness of ESCC cells. Luciferase reporter and western blot assays were used to determine whether the mRNA encoding pituitary tumor-transforming gene-1 (PTTG1) is a major target of miR-655.

RESULTS: The expression level of miR-655 in ESCC tissues was found to be lower than in adjacent non-tumor tissues (P < 0.05). This relatively low expression level was significantly associated with the occurrence of lymph node metastases (P < 0.05). Migration rates were significantly lower for two ESCC-derived cell lines (EC9706 and KYSE150) transfected with miR-429 mimics (P < 0.05). Subsequent western blot and luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that miR-655 could bind to putative binding sites within the PTTG1 mRNA 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) and thus reduce the expression.

CONCLUSIONS: miR-655 is expressed at low levels in primary ESCC tissues, and up-regulation of miR-655 inhibits ESCC cell invasiveness by targeting PTTG1. Our findings suggest that PTTG1 may act as a major target of miR-655. This study improves our understanding of the mechanisms underlying ESCC pathogenesis and may promote the development of novel targeted therapies.

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