Research Papers:

MicroRNA-144 suppresses osteosarcoma growth and metastasis by targeting ROCK1 and ROCK2

Wei Wang _, Xin Zhou and Min Wei

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:10297-10308. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3305

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Wei Wang1,*, Xin Zhou1,*, Min Wei1

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200127, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Min Wei, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: miR-144, ROCK1, ROCK2, osteosarcoma, metastasis

Received: February 01, 2015     Accepted: February 08, 2015     Published: April 13, 2015


Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary tumor of bone. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenously expressed small non-coding RNAs that are strongly implicated in cancerous processes. However, our current understanding of the biological role of miRNAs in OS remains incomplete. In the present study, miR-144 was markedly downregulated in OS cell lines and clinical specimens. Low-level expression of miR-144 was significantly associated with distant metastasis and poor prognosis. Functional studies demonstrated that ectopic expression of miR-144 suppresses tumor cell proliferation and metastasis in vitro as well as in vivo. Furthermore, we identified Rho-associated kinases 1 and 2 (ROCK1 and ROCK2) as direct targets for miR-144 binding, resulting in suppression of their expression. Exogenous expression of ROCK1 or ROCK2 in 143B-miR-144 cells partially restored miR-144-inhibited cell proliferation and invasion. In clinical OS specimens, ROCK1 and ROCK2 levels were elevated, relative to that in paired normal bone tissues, and inversely correlated with miR-144 expression. Taken together, miR-144 suppresses OS progression by directly downregulating ROCK1 and ROCK2 expression, and may be a promising therapeutic target for OS.

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