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J Biol Chem. 2013 Feb 8;288(6):4035-47. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.410506. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

miR-490-3p modulates cell growth and epithelial to mesenchymal transition of hepatocellular carcinoma cells by targeting endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi intermediate compartment protein 3 (ERGIC3).

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Tianjin Life Science Research Center and Basic Medical School, Tianjin Medical University, No. 22 Qi-Xiang-Tai Road, Tianjin 300070, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are considered to be regulators of various biological processes in cancers, including the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a key factor in cancer metastasis. In this study, we aimed to clarify the potential roles of miR-490-3p in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Using real-time quantitative RT-PCR, we discovered that miR-490-3p was up-regulated in HCC tissues and cells compared with the adjacent non-tumor tissues and normal cells. We also found that overexpression of miR-490-3p led to an increase in cell proliferation, migration, and invasion abilities and that it contributed to EMT. The inhibition of miR-490-3p had the opposite effect on the cells. We identified ERGIC3 (endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi intermediate compartment protein 3) as a direct target gene for miR-490-3p. Unlike most miRNA-mRNA interactions, miR-490-3p increased ERGIC3 mRNA and protein levels as well as the intensity of expression of the EGFP reporter gene controlled by the 3'-UTR of ERGIC3 mRNA. The up-regulation by miR-490-3p also required the participation of Ago2. The inhibition of miR-490-3p reduced the expression of ERGIC3. Overexpression of ERGIC3 led to the same effect on HCC cells as miR-490-3p overexpression, including EMT. Importantly, silencing ERGIC3 reversed the cellular responses mediated by miR-490-3p overexpression. In conclusion, our study indicated for the first time that miR-490-3p functioned like an oncogenic miRNA in HCC cells and that the inhibition of miR-490-3p might provide an potential treatment approach for HCC patients.

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