MicroRNAs associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase in human pancreatic cancer

Yushi Ikeda, Etsuko Tanji, Naohiko Makino, Sumio Kawata, Toru Furukawa

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNA) is associated with phenotypes of various cancers, including pancreatic cancer. However, the mechanism of the aberrant expression is largely unknown. Activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays a crucial role in gene expression related to the malignant phenotype of pancreatic cancer. Hence, we studied the role of MAPK in the aberrant expression of miRNAs in pancreatic cancer cells. The alterations in expression of 183 miRNAs induced by activation or inactivation of MAPK were assayed in cultured pancreatic cancer cells and HEK293 cells by means of the quantitative real-time PCR method. We found that four miRNAs, namely, miR-7-3, miR-34a, miR-181d, and miR-193b, were preferentially associated with MAPK activity. Among these miRNAs, miR-7-3 was upregulated by active MAPK, whereas the others were downregulated. Promoter assays indicated that the promoter activities of the host genes of miR-7-3 and miR-34a were both downregulated by alteration in MAPK activity. Exogenous overexpression of the MAPK-associated miRNAs had the effect of inhibition of the proliferation of cultured pancreatic cancer cells; miR-193b was found to exhibit the most remarkable inhibition. A search for target genes of miR-193b led to identification of CCND1, NT5E, PLAU, STARD7, STMN1, and YWHAZ as the targets. Translational suppression of these genes by miR-193b was confirmed by reporter assay. These results indicate that activation of MAPK may play a significant role in aberrant expression of miRNAs and their associated phenotypes in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb


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