Research Papers:

Human papillomavirus type 16 E6 suppresses microRNA-23b expression in human cervical cancer cells through DNA methylation of the host gene C9orf3

Chi Lam Au Yeung _, Tsun Yee Tsang, Pak Lun Yau and Tim Tak Kwok

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:12158-12173. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14555

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Chi Lam Au Yeung1,2, Tsun Yee Tsang1, Pak Lun Yau1, Tim Tak Kwok1

1School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

2Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Correspondence to:

Chi Lam Au Yeung, email: [email protected]

Keywords: HPV-16 E6, miRNA-23b, DNA methylation, C9orf3, cervical cancer

Received: July 09, 2016     Accepted: November 21, 2016     Published: January 06, 2017


Oncogenic protein E6 of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) is believed to involve in the aberrant methylation in cervical cancer as it upregulates DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) through tumor suppressor p53. In addition, DNA demethylating agent induces the expression of one of the HPV-16 E6 regulated microRNAs (miRs), miR-23b, in human cervical carcinoma SiHa cells. Thus, the importance of DNA methylation and miR-23b in HPV-16 E6 associated cervical cancer development is investigated. In the present study, however, it is found that miR-23b is not embedded in any typical CpG island. Nevertheless, a functional CpG island is predicted in the promoter region of C9orf3, the host gene of miR-23b, and is validated by methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite genomic sequencing analyses. Besides, c-MET is confirmed to be a target gene of miR-23b. Silencing of HPV-16 E6 is found to increase the expression of miR-23b, decrease the expression of c-MET and thus induce the apoptosis of SiHa cells through the c-MET downstream signaling pathway. Taken together, the tumor suppressive miR-23b is epigenetically inactivated through its host gene C9orf3 and this is probably a critical pathway during HPV-16 E6 associated cervical cancer development.

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