Research Papers:

Methylation-associated silencing of miR-200b facilitates human hepatocellular carcinoma progression by directly targeting BMI1

Wen-rui Wu, Hong Sun, Rui Zhang, Xian-huan Yu, Xiang-de Shi, Man-sheng Zhu, Hong Zeng, Li-xu Yan, Lei-bo Xu and Chao Liu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:18684-18693. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7629

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Wen-rui Wu1,2,*, Hong Sun3,*, Rui Zhang1,2,*, Xian-huan Yu1,2, Xiang-de Shi1,2, Man-sheng Zhu1,2,4, Hong Zeng5, Li-xu Yan6, Lei-bo Xu1,2, Chao Liu1,2

1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510120, China

2Department of Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510120, China

3Department of Respiratory, The First Affiliated Hospital/School of Clinical Medical, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou, 510080, China

4Department of Thoracic Surgery, Cancer Center of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, 510095, China

5Department of Pathology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510120, China

6Department of Pathology, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Science, Guangdong, 510080, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Lei-bo Xu, email: mdxuleibo@hotmail.com

Chao Liu, email: mdliuchao@hotmail.com

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, progression, microRNA-200b, methylation, BMI1

Received: November 09, 2015     Accepted: February 09, 2016     Published: February 23, 2016


This study aims to investigate the biological function of microRNA-200b and BMI1, predicted target of microRNA-200b in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNA-200b and BMI1 expression in HCC tissues were evaluated by qPCR. A luciferase reporter assay was used to validate BMI1 as a direct target of microRNA-200b. The effect of microRNA-200b on HCC progression was studied in vitro and in vivo. Methylation specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite sequencing PCR (BSP) were used to detect the methylation status of the microRNA-200b promoter. Significant downregulation of microRNA-200b was observed in 83.3% of HCC tissues. By contrast, BMI1 was significantly overexpressed in 66.7% of HCC tissues. The results of the luciferase assay confirmed BMI1 as a direct target gene of microRNA-200b. Forced expression of microRNA-200b in HCC cells dramatically repressed proliferation, colony formation, cell cycle progression, and invasion. Moreover, microRNA-200b synergized with 5-fluorouracil to induce apoptosis in vitro and suppressed tumorigenicity in vivo. In addition, MSP analysis and BSP revealed that CpG sites in the promoter region of microRNA-200b were extensively methylated in HCC, with concomitant downregulation of microRNA-200b expression. Furthermore, microRNA-200b was activated in HCC cells after treatment with 5-azacytidine, whereas BMI1 expression was clearly downregulated. Our results indicate that microRNA-200b is partially silenced by DNA hypermethylation and that it can repress tumor progression by directly targeting BMI1 in HCC.

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