Research Papers:

The miR-491-3p/mTORC2/FOXO1 regulatory loop modulates chemo-sensitivity in human tongue cancer

Guopei Zheng, Xiaoting Jia, Cong Peng, Yingen Deng, Jiang Yin, Zhijie Zhang, Nan Li, Min Deng, Xiaorong Liu, Hao Liu, Minying Lu, Chengkun Wang, Yixue Gu and Zhimin He _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:6931-6943. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3165

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Guopei Zheng1,*, Xiaoting Jia1,*, Cong Peng1, Yingen Deng1, Jiang Yin1, Zhijie Zhang1, Nan Li1, Min Deng1, Xiaorong Liu1, Hao Liu1, Minying Lu1, Chengkun Wang1, Yixue Gu1, Zhimin He1

1Cancer Hospital and Cancer Research Institute of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510095, Guangdong, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhimin He, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: tongue cancer, miR-491-3p, Rictor, mTORC2, drug resistance

Received: October 17, 2014     Accepted: January 18, 2015     Published: February 19, 2015


We found that levels of miR-491-3p were decreased in multidrug-resistant tongue cancer (TC) cells. Induction of miR-491-3p expression sensitized TC cells to chemotherapy. In agreement, functional inhibition of miR-491-3p enhanced resistance of TC cells to chemotherapy. We found that miR-491-3p directly targeted mTORC2 component Rictor and inhibited mTORC2 activity, which was increased in resistant TC cells with high p-Akt(Ser473), p-SGK1(Ser422) and p-FOXO1(Thr24) levels. Inhibition of mTORC2 activity via either Rictor knockdown or mTOR inhibitor in turn sensitized TC cells to chemotherapy. In agreement, overexpression of Rictor increased the mTORC2 activity and induced resistance of TC cells to chemotherapy. As a feedback loop, mTORC2 downregulated miR-491-3p expression by inactivating FOXO1, which otherwise would transcriptionally induce miR-491-3p expression. Levels of miR-491-3 and Rictor or mTORC2 activity negatively correlated in TC tissues. Finally, low levels of miR-491-3p and highly expressed Rictor were associated with poor prognosis in tongue cancer patients. These data provide a rationale for targeted intervention on miR-491-3p/mTORC2 axis to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy against tongue cancer.

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