Research Papers:

Upregulation of miR-181c contributes to chemoresistance in pancreatic cancer by inactivating the Hippo signaling pathway

Meiyuan Chen, Min Wang, Simiao Xu, Xingjun Guo and Jianxin Jiang _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:44466-44479. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6298

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Meiyuan Chen1,*, Min Wang2,*, Simiao Xu3,*, Xingjun Guo2, Jianxin Jiang1

1Department of Hepatic-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Hubei Cancer Hospital, Wuhan, Hubei, 430079, China

2Department of Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Affiliated Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, 430030, China

3Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, 430030, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jianxin Jiang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: miR-181c, pancreatic cancer, Hippo signaling, chemoresistance

Received: July 19, 2015     Accepted: October 13, 2015     Published: October 26, 2015


The Hippo signaling pathway plays a crucial role in regulating tissue homeostasis, organ size, tumorigenesis and cancer chemoresistance when deregulated. Physiologically, the Hippo core kinase cassette that consists of mamma-lian STE20-like protein kinase 1/2 (MST1/2), and large tumour suppressor 1/2 (LATS1/2), together with the adaptor proteins Salvador homologue 1 (SAV1) and MOB kinase activator 1 (MOB1), tightly restricts the activities of homologous oncoproteins Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) to low levels. However, how the Hippo kinase cassette core components are simultaneously inhibited, to exhibit constitutively inactivated Hippo signaling and activated YAP/TAZ in cancer remains puzzling. Herein, we reported that miR-181c directly repressed MST1, LATS2, MOB1 and SAV1 expression in human pancreatic cancer cells. Overexpression of miR-181c induced hyperactivation of the YAP/TAZ and enhanced expression of the Hippo signaling downstream genes CTGF, BIRC5 and BLC2L1, leading to pancreatic cancer cell survival and chemoresistance in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, high miR-181c levels were significantly correlated with Hippo signaling inactivation in pancreatic cancer samples, and predicted a poor patient overall survival. These findings provide a novel mechanism for Hippo signaling inactivation in cancer, indicating not only a potentially pivotal role for miR-181c in the progression of pancreatic cancer, but also may represent a new therapeutic target and prognostic marker.

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