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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Oct 24;375(3):315-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.07.154. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

miR-122 targets an anti-apoptotic gene, Bcl-w, in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.

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Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


miR-122, a hepato-specific microRNA (miRNA), is frequently down-regulated in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In an effort to identify novel miR-122 targets, we performed an in silico analysis and detected a putative binding site in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of Bcl-w, an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member. In the HCC-derived cell lines, Hep3B and HepG2, we confirmed that miR-122 modulates Bcl-w expression by directly targeting binding site within the 3'-UTR. The cellular mRNA and protein levels of Bcl-w were repressed by elevated levels of miR-122, which subsequently led to reduction of cell viability and activation of caspase-3. Thus, Bcl-w is a direct target of miR-122 that functions as an endogenous apoptosis regulator in these HCC-derived cell lines.

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