Oncology reports

miR-153 inhibits epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting Snail.

PMID 26035427


Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been implicated as a dynamic cellular process in embryonic development and invasion of human cancers. Snail1 is a critical convergence hub in EMT regulation which transcriptionally represses E-cadherin expression. Currently, published data indicate that upregulation of Snail is mainly due to transcriptional activation and regulation of protein stability and cellular location. However, whether there is an alternative regulatory mechanism remains unclear. Our study showed that the expression of miR-153 was noticeably downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines and tissues, compared with normal liver epithelial cells (NLCs) and matched adjacent normal HCC tissues. Ectopic expression of miR-153 inhibited the migration and invasion ability of HCC cells, while suppression of miR-153 rescued this inhibitory effect. In addition, upregulation of miR-153 in HCC cells resulted in a decrease in epithelial markers, E-cadherin and α-catenin, and an increase in mesenchymal markers, N-cadherin and vimentin, and vice versa. Moreover, we demonstrated that miR-153 downregulated Snail expression by directly targeting the 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) of Snail. Taken together, our results suggest that miR-153 plays a critical role in suppressing EMT and HCC progression by direct suppression of Snail expression.