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EGF Up-Regulates MiR-31 Through The C/EBPβ Signal Cascade In Oral Carcinoma

Wen-cheng Lu, S. L. Kao, Cheng-Chieh Yang, Hsi-Feng Tu, Cheng-Hsien Wu, Kuo-Wei Chang, Shu-Chun Lin
Published 2014 · Medicine, Biology
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Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most prevalent carcinomas worldwide. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and modulate physiological or pathological processes including OSCC carcinogenesis. miR-31 has been found to be up-regulated in OSCC and to act as an oncogenic miRNA. However, the molecular mechanism underlying miR-31 up-regulation in OSCC is still obscure. The activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling axis plays key roles in driving oral carcinogenesis. Our screening identified that there is up-regulation of miR-31, miR-181b and miR-222 in OSCC cells following EGF treatment. Subsequent analysis showed that EGF treatment led to AKT activation, which then resulted in miR-31 up-regulation. Moreover, EGF treatment and the AKT activation induced by exogenous expression up-regulated C/EBPβ expression. The miR-31 up-regulation induced by EGF was abrogated by AKT inhibition or by the knockdown of C/EBPβ expression. In OSCC cell subclones stably overexpressing the functional isoform of C/EBPβ, miR-31 expression was up-regulated. Curcumin is a natural ingredient exhibiting anti-cancer potential. It was found that curcumin attenuated AKT activation and the up-regulation of C/EBPβ and miR-31 caused by EGF stimulation in OSCC cells. Lastly, concordance across the expression of EGFR, the expression of C/EBPβ and the expression of miR-31 in OSCC tissues was found. This study describes a novel scenario where the up-regulation of miR-31 expression in OSCC is, at least in part, a consequence of EGFR oncogenic activation. Although the AKT activation and C/EBPβ expression after EGF treatment might not be directly linked, both events are the crucial mediators underlying miR-31 up-regulation in the EGFR signaling axis.
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