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Int J Cancer. 2011 Dec 1;129(11):2611-20. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25923. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

MiR-9 downregulates CDX2 expression in gastric cancer cells.

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Department of Molecular Oncology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


Ectopic expression of CDX2, a caudal-related homeobox protein, is known to be associated with the development of intestinal metaplasia in the stomach and gastric carcinogenesis. Previously, we reported that DNA methylation was partly responsible for CDX2 silencing in gastric cancer (GC). However, the mechanism underlying the aberrant expression of CDX2 during malignant transformation remained unclear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that function as post-transcriptional regulators. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in CDX2 downregulation in GC cells, putative miRNAs, such as miR-9, were computationally predicted. After exogenous pre-miR-9 precursor transfection, the luciferase activity of a reporter vector containing a part of the 3'-UTR of CDX2 was downregulated in HEK-293T cells. The inverse correlation between the miR-9 and CDX2 protein levels was demonstrated in GC cell lines. By means of miR-9 overexpression and knockdown techniques, the expression levels of the CDX2 protein and downstream target genes (p21, MUC2 and TFF3) were responsively altered in MKN45 and NUGC-3 cells. Transfection of an anti-miR-9 molecule significantly inhibited cell growth by promoting G(1) cell cycle arrest in MKN45 cells similarly to the effect of CDX2 overexpression. Moreover, examination of the miR-9 levels in primary GC tissues revealed that the amounts of miR-9 in the CDX2-negative group were significantly higher than those in the CDX2-positive group (p = 0.004). Therefore, miR-9 might repress CDX2 expression via the binding site in the 3'-UTR, resulting in the promotion of cell proliferation in GCs.

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