Research Papers:

Epigenetic silencing of miR-520c leads to induced S100A4 expression and its mediated colorectal cancer progression

Giridhar Mudduluru, Katharina Ilm, Steffen Fuchs and Ulrike Stein _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:21081-21094. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15499

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Giridhar Mudduluru1,2, Katharina Ilm1, Steffen Fuchs1, Ulrike Stein1,2

1Experimental and Clinical Research Center, Charité University Medicine Berlin and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association, Berlin, Germany

2German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany

Correspondence to:

Ulrike Stein, email: [email protected]

Giridhar Mudduluru, email: [email protected]

Keywords: colorectal cancer, metastasis, epigenetic regulation, S100A4, microRNA

Received: November 09, 2016     Accepted: February 07, 2017     Published: February 18, 2017


The S100 calcium-binding protein A4 (S100A4) induces epithelial mesenchymal transition, migration, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. Its induced expression in several cancer types correlates with poor prognosis. Apart from the functional and transcriptional regulatory aspects of S100A4, its post-transcriptional regulation is not yet clearly elucidated. In this study, we show that microRNAs (miR) miR-505-5p and miR-520c-3p target the 3′-UTR of S100A4 and inhibits its expression and its mediated migration and invasion. 5-Aza treatment significantly increased miR-520c-3p expression and reduced the S100A4 protein amounts. The upstream promoter region of miR-520c is hypermethylated irrespective of the metastasis status of colorectal cancer (CRC) patient tissues and in all analyzed CRC cell lines. Moreover, in a cohort of CRC patient specimen (n = 59), miR-520c-3p was significantly downregulated. miR-520c-3p stably expressing HCT116 cells showed a reduced metastasis formation in livers after implanting in mice spleen. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that S100A4 is post-transcriptionally regulated by tumor suppressor miRs, miR-505c-5p and miR-520c-3p, and particularly miR-520c-3p expression is epigenetically silenced in CRC.

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