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MiRNA-211 triggers an autophagy-dependent apoptosis in cervical cancer cells: regulation of Bcl-2

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Cervical cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in gynecological malignancies. Although autophagy plays a critical role in affecting cell apoptosis and proliferation, the role of hsa-miR-211-5p (miR-211) in modulating autophagy of cervical cancer cells remains unclear. In the current study, the level of miR-211 was downregulated in cervical cancer specimens, compared to the paired para-carcinoma tissues. While Bcl-2 was upregulated, LC3-II/I was decreased in the tumors, indicating inhibited apoptosis and autophagy. The forced expression of miR-211 inhibited proliferation, and promoted apoptosis in SiHa cervical cancer cells, evidenced by increased expression of apoptotic proteins, caspase-3, and PARP. While the miR-211 inhibitor exerted reverse effects on C-33A cervical cancer cells. Further, miR-211 induced autophagy in cervical cancer cells, as manifested by the presence of LC3 puncta, increased LC3-II/I and Beclin1 levels, and decreased p62 level. The miR-211-induced apoptosis was alleviated by an autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA). In addition, Bcl-2 was identified as a target of miR-211. Besides, the apoptosis and autophagy triggered by miR-211 were attenuated by Bcl-2 in SiHa cells. In summary, our work indicates that miR-211 induced autophagy and autophagy-dependent apoptosis by regulating Bcl-2 in cervical cancer cells, which provided further understanding of autophagy in cervical carcinogenesis.

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Autophagy-regulated genes


Autophagy-related gene 14


Bcl-2 antagonist/killer


Bcl-2-associated X protein


Cell counting kit-8


Cyclin-dependent kinase 6


Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium


Enhanced chemiluminescence


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition


Fetal bovine serum


Human papillomavirus


Peroxidase-conjugated immunoglobulin G






Minimum essential medium Eagle


mIcrophthalmia-associated transcription factor


Mucin 4




Propidium iodide


Phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride


Phosphatase and tensin homolog


Polyvinylidene fluoride


RB1 inducible coiled-coil 1


Renal cell carcinoma


Roswell park memorial institute-1640


Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine


Standard deviation


Sodium dodecylsulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


Sex-determining region Y-related high mobility group box 4


Zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 2


3′untranslated region




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This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81602272), the Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (No. H2017012), and the Startup Foundation for Post-doctor of Heilongjiang Province (No. LBH-Q16145).

Author information

Shang Liu and Liyuan Guo conceived and designed this study. Shang Liu, Hongyan Wang, Jing Mu, Hao Wang, Yan Peng, Qi Li, and Dongwei Mao carried out the experiments, data analysis, and results interpretation. Shang Liu, Hongyan Wang, Jing Mu, and Liyuan Guo performed supervision and manuscript writing. All authors contributed to final approval of the version.

Correspondence to Liyuan Guo.

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All procedures were conducted according to Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by Ethic Committee of Cancer Hospital Affiliated of Harbin Medical University.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Liu, S., Wang, H., Mu, J. et al. MiRNA-211 triggers an autophagy-dependent apoptosis in cervical cancer cells: regulation of Bcl-2. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol 393, 359–370 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00210-019-01720-4

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  • Cervical cancer
  • miR-211
  • Bcl-2
  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy