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Oncol Rep. 2012 May;27(5):1504-10. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1652. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

miR-221/222 is the regulator of Cx43 expression in human glioblastoma cells.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin, PR China.


The miR-221/222 cluster is significantly upregulated in malignant glioma cells and regulates the expression of multiple genes associated with glioma cell proliferation, invasion and apoptosis, which was shown in our previous studies. Cx43 has been identified as a tumor suppressor and major component for the establishment of gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in glial cells, which is frequently reduced or deleted in high-grade gliomas. According to bioinformatic analysis, connexin 43 (Cx43) may be one of the target genes of miR-221/222. The aim of the present study was to validate Cx43 as a target gene of miR-221/222 and to determine whether overexpression of miR-221/222 is one of the molecular mechanisms for the reduced expression of Cx43 in malignant gliomas. We transfected miR-221/222 antisense oligonucleotides (AS-miR-221/222) into U251 human glioblastoma cells using a lipofectamine method. Northern blot analysis was conducted to detect the expression of the miR-221/222 cluster. Luciferase reporter assays were exploited to confirm Cx43 as a target gene of miR-221/222. Cx43 expression was assessed by western blotting and immunofluorescence staining. Scrape loading and dye transfer (SLDT) assays were used for examination of GJIC. Proliferation and invasion of U251 cells were evaluated by MTT and transwell assays, respectively. Cell cycle kinetics and apoptosis were determined with flow cytometry. We found that expression of the miR-221/222 cluster was significantly reduced while Cx43 expression was upregulated in U251 cells transfected with AS-miR-221/222, and the GJIC deficiency in parental U251 cells was re-established. Moreover, the luciferase activity determined by the luciferase reporter assay was enhanced in AS-miR-221/222-treated cells, and cell proliferation and invasion were suppressed while apoptosis was induced. We conclude that miR-221/222 function as oncogenic microRNAs in human gliomas, at least in part, by targeting Cx43.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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