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BMC Cancer. 2008 Sep 21;8:266. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-266.

Restoration of tumor suppressor miR-34 inhibits human p53-mutant gastric cancer tumorspheres.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Institute of Digestive Diseases, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, PR China. qingj@umich.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), some of which function as oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, are involved in carcinogenesis via regulating cell proliferation and/or cell death. MicroRNA miR-34 was recently found to be a direct target of p53, functioning downstream of the p53 pathway as a tumor suppressor. miR-34 targets Notch, HMGA2, and Bcl-2, genes involved in the self-renewal and survival of cancer stem cells. The role of miR-34 in gastric cancer has not been reported previously. In this study, we examined the effects of miR-34 restoration on p53-mutant human gastric cancer cells and potential target gene expression.

METHODS:

Human gastric cancer cells were transfected with miR-34 mimics or infected with the lentiviral miR-34-MIF expression system, and validated by miR-34 reporter assay using Bcl-2 3'UTR reporter. Potential target gene expression was assessed by Western blot for proteins, and by quantitative real-time RT-PCR for mRNAs. The effects of miR-34 restoration were assessed by cell growth assay, cell cycle analysis, caspase-3 activation, and cytotoxicity assay, as well as by tumorsphere formation and growth.

RESULTS:

Human gastric cancer Kato III cells with miR-34 restoration reduced the expression of target genes Bcl-2, Notch, and HMGA2. Bcl-2 3'UTR reporter assay showed that the transfected miR-34s were functional and confirmed that Bcl-2 is a direct target of miR-34. Restoration of miR-34 chemosensitized Kato III cells with a high level of Bcl-2, but not MKN-45 cells with a low level of Bcl-2. miR-34 impaired cell growth, accumulated the cells in G1 phase, increased caspase-3 activation, and, more significantly, inhibited tumorsphere formation and growth.

CONCLUSION:

Our results demonstrate that in p53-deficient human gastric cancer cells, restoration of functional miR-34 inhibits cell growth and induces chemosensitization and apoptosis, indicating that miR-34 may restore p53 function. Restoration of miR-34 inhibits tumorsphere formation and growth, which is reported to be correlated to the self-renewal of cancer stem cells. The mechanism of miR-34-mediated suppression of self-renewal appears to be related to the direct modulation of downstream targets Bcl-2, Notch, and HMGA2, indicating that miR-34 may be involved in gastric cancer stem cell self-renewal/differentiation decision-making. Our study suggests that restoration of the tumor suppressor miR-34 may provide a novel molecular therapy for p53-mutant gastric cancer.

PMID:
18803879
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2564978
Free PMC Article

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