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PLoS Genet. 2010 Mar 12;6(3):e1000879. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000879.

MiR-218 inhibits invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer by targeting the Robo1 receptor.

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State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Xijing Hospital of Digestive Diseases, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.


MicroRNAs play key roles in tumor metastasis. Here, we describe the regulation and function of miR-218 in gastric cancer (GC) metastasis. miR-218 expression is decreased along with the expression of one of its host genes, Slit3 in metastatic GC. However, Robo1, one of several Slit receptors, is negatively regulated by miR-218, thus establishing a negative feedback loop. Decreased miR-218 levels eliminate Robo1 repression, which activates the Slit-Robo1 pathway through the interaction between Robo1 and Slit2, thus triggering tumor metastasis. The restoration of miR-218 suppresses Robo1 expression and inhibits tumor cell invasion and metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our results describe a Slit-miR-218-Robo1 regulatory circuit whose disruption may contribute to GC metastasis. Targeting miR-218 may provide a strategy for blocking tumor metastasis.

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