Research Papers:

NFE2L2/NRF2 silencing-inducible miR-206 targets c-MET/EGFR and suppresses BCRP/ABCG2 in cancer cells

Bo-Hyun Choi, Da Young Ryu, In-Geun Ryoo and Mi-Kyoung Kwak _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:107188-107205. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22513

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Bo-Hyun Choi1, Da Young Ryu1, In-Geun Ryoo1 and Mi-Kyoung Kwak1,2

1Department of Pharmacy and BK21 PLUS Team for Creative Leader Program for Pharmacomics-Based Future Pharmacy, Graduate School of The Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do 420-743, Republic of Korea

2College of Pharmacy, The Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do 420-743, Republic of Korea

Correspondence to:

Mi-Kyoung Kwak, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR/c-MET); epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); NFE2L2/NRF2; BCRP/ABCG2; microRNA-206 (miR-206)

Received: June 23, 2017    Accepted: October 30, 2017    Published: November 18, 2017


The nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NFE2L2/NRF2) plays a critical role in the expression of multiple antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. Herein, we provide evidence of the molecular links between NRF2 and oncogenic signaling hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR/c-MET) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Interfering RNA-induced stable inhibition of NRF2 in ovarian carcinoma SKOV3 and renal carcinoma A498 reduced the levels of c-MET and EGFR. MicroRNA-206 (miR-206) that was increased in both NRF2-silenced cells was predicted as a dual regulator of c-MET and EGFR. As experimental evidence, miR-206 decreased c-MET and EGFR levels through a direct binding to the 3′-untranslated region of the c-MET and EGFR genes. The treatment of NRF2-knockdown cells with the miR-206 inhibitor could restore c-MET and EGFR levels. The miR-206-mediated c-MET/EGFR repression resulted in two outcomes. First, presumably through the inhibition of c-MET/EGFR-dependent cell proliferation, overexpression of miR-206 inhibited tumor growth in SKOV3-inoculated nude mice. Second, reduced c-MET/EGFR in NRF2-silenced cells affected breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) levels. The pharmacological and genetic inhibition of c-MET or EGFR, as well as the miR-206 mimic treatment, repressed BCRP levels and increased cellular accumulation of doxorubicin. In line with these, treatment of NRF2-silenced SKOV3 with the miR-206 inhibitor elevated BCRP levels and consequently made these cells more resistant to doxorubicin treatment. Collectively, our results demonstrated that the NRF2 silencing-inducible miR-206 targeted both c-MET and EGFR, and subsequently suppressed the BCRP level in cancer cells.

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