MicroRNA-15a induces cell apoptosis and inhibits metastasis by targeting BCL2L2 in non-small cell lung cancer


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in cancer development and progression. Aberrant expression of miR-15a has recently been reported in several cancers, but its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) still remains obscure. We investigated the effects of miR-15a on proliferation, apoptosis, and metastasis in A549 cells. Eighteen paired NSCLC and adjacent non-tumor lung tissues were surgically removed and immediately snap frozen until total RNA was extracted and confirmed by two independent pathologists. The targets of miR-15a were predicted by bioinformatics tools. RNA isolation and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), Western blot analysis, cell proliferation assay, cell cycle analysis, cell apoptosis assay, and migration and invasion assays were done. The wild type (WT) or mutant type (MT) 3′-untranslated region (UTR) vectors were co-transfected with miR-15a or negative control into A549 cells, and after 24 h of transfection, luciferase activity was measured using the Dual-Glo luciferase assay kit. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 13.0 software (SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA). P values of less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant. miR-15a was significantly downregulated in NSCLC than in adjacent non-cancerous tissues. miR-15a overexpression remarkably inhibited cell viability, invasion, and migration and promoted the apoptosis of NSCLC cells. Additionally, inhibition of miR-15a expression had the opposite effects on tumor progression, while cell cycle remained unaltered. Furthermore, we identified that BCL2L2 was a target of miR-15a and negatively regulated by miR-15a at the translational level. miR-15a acts as a tumor suppressor in NSCLC by directly targeting BCL2L2 and may serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target for NSCLC.

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This work was supported in part by a grant from Shaanxi Science and Technology Research Funds (Grant Number: 2011K12-15).

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Correspondence to Mingwei Chen.

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Yang, T., Thakur, A., Chen, T. et al. MicroRNA-15a induces cell apoptosis and inhibits metastasis by targeting BCL2L2 in non-small cell lung cancer. Tumor Biol. 36, 4357–4365 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13277-015-3075-1

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  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • miR-15a
  • Apoptosis
  • Metastasis
  • BCL2L2