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Neoplasia. 2011 Jul;13(7):590-600.

Modulation of the unfolded protein response is the core of microRNA-122-involved sensitivity to chemotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medical Genetics, the Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.


The loss of microRNA-122 (miR-122) expression correlates to many characteristic properties of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, including clonogenic survival, anchorage-independent growth, migration, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and tumorigenesis. However, all of these findings do not sufficiently explain the oncogenic potential of miR-122. In the current study, we used two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis to measure changes in the expression of thousands of proteins in response to the inhibition of miR-122 in human hepatoma cells. Several proteins that were upregulated on miR-122 inhibition were involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway. The overexpression of miR-122 resulted in the repression of UPR pathway activation. Therefore, miR-122 may act as an inhibitor of the chaperone gene expression and negatively regulate the UPR pathway in HCC. We further showed that the miR-122 inhibitor enhanced the stability of the 26S proteasome non-ATPase regulatory subunit 10 (PSMD10) through the up-regulation of its target gene cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4). This process may activate the UPR pathway to prevent chemotherapy-mediated tumor cell apoptosis. The current study suggests that miR-122 negatively regulates the UPR through the CDK4-PSMD10 pathway. The down-regulation of miR-122 activated the CDK4-PSMD10-UPR pathway to decrease tumor cell anticancer drug-mediated apoptosis. We identified a new HCC therapeutic target and proclaimed the potential risk of the therapeutic use of miR-122 silencing.

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