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Mol Carcinog. 2014 May;53(5):349-59. doi: 10.1002/mc.21983. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

MicroRNA-106b modulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition by targeting TWIST1 in invasive endometrial cancer cell lines.

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Department of Women's Health Educational System, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.


Type II endometrial carcinoma is an aggressive subtype of endometrial cancer (EC). TWIST1, a helix-loop-helix transcription regulator, is known to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and promote tumor metastasis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) also serve as important regulators of EMT and metastasis by regulating EMT-related genes. In this study, we sought to explore the role of TWIST1 in inducing EMT in representative type II EC cell lines, and to determine the miRNAs involved in regulating TWIST1 gene expression. Functional analysis suggested that TWIST1 contributes to the EMT phenotypes of EC cells, as evidenced by the acquisition of fibroblast-like properties, enhanced invasiveness, and induction of an EN-switch (downregulation of epithelial marker E-cadherin and upregulation of mesenchymal marker N-cadherin). Conversely, silencing of TWIST1 by siRNA inhibited cell invasion and the mesenchymal phenotype, which was accompanied by a reversion of the EN-switch. We also observed a novel post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism of TWIST1 expression mediated by miR-106b via its direct interaction with TWIST1 mRNAs at the 3'-untranslated region. Our data suggest that TWIST1 is a critical inducer of EMT in invasive EC cells and that miR-106b could suppress EC cell invasion by downregulating TWIST1 expression.


EMT; TWIST1; endometrial cancer; miRNA

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