Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 1171–1180 | Cite as

miR-301a Is a Candidate Oncogene that Targets the Homeobox Gene Gax in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Peng Zhou
  • Wei Jiang
  • Lielin Wu
  • Ruimin Chang
  • Kemin Wu
  • Zhiming WangEmail author
Original Article



MicroRNAs (miRNA) are a group of noncoding small RNAs that repress mRNA expression or induce mRNA degradation by binding to the 3′-untranslated regions of mRNAs. MiRNAs have been connected closely with the development of cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the overexpression of microRNA-301a (miR-301a) has seldom been connected with tumorigenesis in HCC.


This study aims to characterize the function of upregulated miR-301a in HCC and show how the downstream growth arrest-specific homeobox (Gax) is negatively regulated by miR-301a.


The expression of miR-301a and Gax was detected using real-time PCR on HCC tissues and adjacent non-tumorous tissues. The luciferase reporter assay was used to assess Gax as a target of miR-301a. The nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) was measured by western blot after inhibiting miR-301a and enhancing Gax. The functions of miR-301a in vivo in HCC cells were measured by migration and invasion assays and flow cytometry.


MiR-301a was significantly upregulated and Gax was downregulated in HCC samples compared with in the matching nontumoral tissues. Inhibiting miR-301a expression caused the upregulation of Gax and repressed NF-κB expression. We have shown that miR-301a plays an important role in increasing proliferation, migration and invasion and in inhibiting apoptosis of HCC cells.


miR-301a is frequently upregulated in HCC and modulates NF-κB expression by negatively regulating Gax.


miR-301a Hepatocellular carcinoma Gax Nuclear factor κB Carcinogenesis 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Zhou
    • 1
  • Wei Jiang
    • 1
  • Lielin Wu
    • 1
  • Ruimin Chang
    • 1
  • Kemin Wu
    • 1
  • Zhiming Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of General Surgery, Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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