Mounting evidence has shown that microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs, are frequently deregulated in human malignancies and have pivotal roles in diverse biological processes including cancer cell proliferation. Herein, we investigated the expression pattern of miR-383 in 64 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and 4 HCC cell lines and found that miR-383 was downregulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. Moreover, miR-383 expression in HCC was significantly correlated with tumor size and tumor–node–metastasis (TNM) stage. Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that decreased miR-383 expression was associated with poor overall survival of HCC patients. In addition, Cox regression analysis indicated that miR-383 was an independent prognostic factor for HCC patients. Then, functional studies demonstrated that ectopic miR-383 expression could significantly suppress the in vitro proliferation of HCC cells, as well as induce cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis. Luciferase reporter assay further identified that a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), a member in the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily, was a novel target gene for miR-383. Subsequent investigation revealed that miR-383 expression was inversely correlated with APRIL messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in HCC tissues. Besides, recombinant human APRIL (rhAPRIL) could rescue HCC cell proliferation inhibited by miR-383. Taken together, our present study provided the first evidence that miR-383 was decreased in HCC and associated with tumor progression and prognosis of HCC patients. Furthermore, our findings confirmed that miR-383 might inhibit HCC cell proliferation partially via downregulating APRIL expression. Thus, this study might provide a promising strategy by targeting with the miR-383-APRIL axis in the treatment of HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma miR-383 APRIL Cell proliferation Cell cycle Apoptosis
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This study was supported by National Natural Science Youth Foundation of China (No. 81201351), the project of Jiangsu Provincial Commission of Health and Family Planning (No.H201453), and the Science and Technology Development Project of Nantong City, China (No. HS2014061, BK2014073, HS2013054, HS2011058).
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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