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PLoS One. 2013 May 14;8(5):e62757. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062757. Print 2013.

miR-655 Is an EMT-suppressive microRNA targeting ZEB1 and TGFBR2.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


Recently, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been demonstrated to contribute to normal and disease processes including cancer progression. To explore EMT-suppressive microRNAs (miRNAs), we established a cell-based reporter system using a stable clone derived from a pancreatic cancer cell line, Panc1, transfected with a reporter construct containing a promoter sequence of CDH1/E-cadherin in the 5' upstream region of the ZsGreen1 reporter gene. Then, we performed function-based screening with 470 synthetic double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) mimicking human mature miRNAs using the system and identified miR-655 as a novel EMT-suppressive miRNA. Overexpression of miR-655 not only induced the upregulation of E-cadherin and downregulation of typical EMT-inducers but also suppressed migration and invasion of mesenchymal-like cancer cells accompanied by a morphological shift toward the epithelial phenotype. In addition, we found a significant correlation between miR-655 expression and a better prognosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Moreover, ZEB1 and TGFBR2, which are essential components of the TGF-b signaling pathway, were identified as direct targets of miR-655, suggesting that the activation of the TGF-b-ZEB1-E-cadherin axis by aberrant downregulation of miR-655 may accelerate cancer progression.

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