MiRNA-124-3p.1 sensitizes hepatocellular carcinoma cells to sorafenib by regulating FOXO3a by targeting AKT2 and SIRT1.
ABSTRACT: As a multikinase inhibitor, sorafenib is commonly used to treat patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), however, acquired resistance to sorafenib is a major obstacle to the effectiveness of this treatment. Thus, in this study, we investigated the mechanisms underlying sorafenib resistance as well as approaches devised to increase the sensitivity of HCC to sorafenib. We demonstrated that miR-124-3p.1 downregulation is associated with early recurrence in HCC patients who underwent curative surgery and sorafenib resistance in HCC cell lines. Regarding the mechanism of this phenomenon, we identified FOXO3a, an important cellular stress transcriptional factor, as the key factor in the function of miR-124-3p.1 in HCC. We showed that miR-124-3p.1 binds directly to AKT2 and SIRT1 to reduce the levels of these proteins. Furthermore, we showed that AKT2 and SIRT1 phosphorylate and deacetylate FOXO3a. We also found that miR-124-3p.1 maintains the dephosphorylation and acetylation of FOXO3a, leading to the nuclear location of FOXO3a and enhanced sorafenib-induced apoptosis. Moreover, the combination of miR-124-3p.1 mimics and sorafenib significantly enhanced the curative efficacy of sorafenib in a nude mouse HCC xenograft model. Collectively, our data reveal that miR-124-3p.1 represents a predictive indicator of early recurrence and sorafenib sensitivity in HCC. Furthermore, we demonstrate that miR-124-3p.1 enhances the curative efficacy of sorafenib through dual effects on FOXO3a. Thus, the miR-124-3p.1-FOXO3a axis is implicated as a potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of HCC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Drug resistance to sorafenib greatly limited the benefits of treatment in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) participate in the development of drug resistance. The key miRNA regulators related to the clinical outcome of sorafenib treatment and their molecular mechanisms remain to be identified.<h4>Methods</h4>The clinical significance of miRNA-related epigenetic changes in sorafenib-resistant HCC was evaluated by analyzing publicly available databases and in-house human HCC tissues. The biological functions of miR-23a-3p were investigated both in vitro and in vivo. Proteomics and bioinformatics analyses were conducted to identify the mechanisms that regulating miR-23a-3p. Luciferase reporter assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay were used to validate the binding relationship of miR-23a-3p and its targets.<h4>Results</h4>We found that miR-23a-3p was the most prominent miRNA in HCC, which was overexpressed in sorafenib non-responders and indicated poor survival and HCC relapse. Sorafenib-resistant cells exhibited increased miR-23a-3p transcription in an ETS Proto-Oncogene 1 (ETS1)-dependent manner. CRISPR-Cas9 knockout of miR-23a-3p improved sorafenib response in HCC cells as well as orthotopic HCC tumours. Proteomics analysis suggested that sorafenib-induced ferroptosis was the key pathway suppressed by miR-23a-3p with reduced cellular iron accumulation and lipid peroxidation. MiR-23a-3p directly targeted the 3'-untranslated regions (UTR) of ACSL4, the key positive regulator of ferroptosis. The miR-23a-3p inhibitor rescued ACSL4 expression and induced ferrotoptic cell death in sorafenib-treated HCC cells. The co-delivery of ACSL4 siRNA and miR-23a-3p inhibitor abolished sorafenib response.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our study demonstrates that ETS1/miR-23a-3p/ACSL4 axis contributes to sorafenib resistance in HCC through regulating ferroptosis. Our findings suggest that miR-23a-3p could be a potential target to improve sorafenib responsiveness in HCC patients.
Project description:Background: Sorafenib appears to increase the survival rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients, but its response rate is seriously limited due to drug resistance. Molecular mechanisms underlying sorafenib resistance are still unknown. Herein, we explored the possible role of miR-1226-3p in sorafenib resistance of HCC. Methods: The miR-1226-3p expression level in HCC cell lines was evaluated by qRT-PCR. Cell viabilities to sorafenib were measured by CCK-8 assay. Cell apoptosis and proliferation were detected by flow cytometry and EdU proliferation assay. A luciferase reporter of DUSP4 3'-UTR was used for validation as a target gene of miR-1226-3p. Finally, the effects of in vivo antitumor efficacy of miR-1226-3p combined with sorafenib were evaluated by HCC tumor xenografts in nude mice. Results: Bioinformatics analysis from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets GSE56059 suggested that miR-1226-3p expression was downregulated in HCC patients who showed progressive disease (PD) after sorafenib treatment. SK-HEP-1 cells expressed lower levels of miR-1226-3p than HepG2 cells. We confirmed that SK-HEP-1 cells were more resistant to sorafenib compared to HepG2 cells. In addition, miR-1226-3p mimic increased cell apoptosis of SK-HEP-1 cells, whereas miR-1226-3p inhibitor significantly impaired cell apoptosis of HepG2 cells after sorafenib treatment. Moreover, we validated that miR-1226-3p directly targeted dual specificity phosphatase 4 (DUSP4), and further demonstrated that knockdown of DUSP4 reduced sorafenib resistance by regulating the JNK-Bcl-2 axis. Conclusions: miR-1226-3p promotes sorafenib sensitivity of HCC through downregulation of DUSP4 expression, and targeting miR-1226-3p may be a novel therapeutic strategy for overcoming sorafenib resistance.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Sorafenib can prolong the survival of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, drug resistance remains the main obstacle to improving its efficiency. This study aimed to explore the likely molecular mechanism of sorafenib resistance.<h4>Methods</h4>Differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) related to sorafenib response were analyzed with the Limma package in R software. The expression levels of miR-126-3p and sprouty-related EVH1 domain-containing protein 1 (SPRED1) in HCC cells were measured by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Cell viability and proliferation were detected with Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8), EdU proliferation, and clone formation assays. Transwell assays were performed to measure cell migration and invasion. TargetScan, MicroRNA Target Prediction Database (miRDB), and StarBase v2.0 were used to predict the targets of miR-126-3p. SPRED1 was confirmed as a target gene of miR-126-3p by dual-luciferase reporter assay and Western blotting. Finally, the <i>in vivo</i> anti-tumor effect of LV-miR-126-3p inhibitor combined with sorafenib was evaluated via subcutaneous tumor models.<h4>Results</h4>HCC cells with high expression of miR-126-3p exhibited increased resistance to sorafenib. The results of bioinformatics analysis and the dual-luciferase reporter assay showed that miR-126-3p directly targeted SPRED1. The sensitivity of HCC cells to sorafenib was markedly enhanced by SPRED1 upregulation. Gain- and loss-of function experiments verified that miR-126-3p induced sorafenib resistance in HCC through downregulating SPRED1. Furthermore, the inhibition of miR-126-3p markedly increased the effectiveness of sorafenib against HCC <i>in vivo</i>. Mechanistically, our results suggested that miR-126-3p promoted sorafenib resistance via targeting SPRED1 and activating the ERK signaling pathway.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our study demonstrates that regulating the miR-126-3p/SPRED1 axis might be a promising strategy for enhancing the antitumor effect of sorafenib in the treatment of HCC.
Project description:HCC is a common malignancy worldwide and surgery or reginal treatments are deemed insufficient for advanced-stage disease. Sorafenib is an inhibitor of many kinases and was shown to benefit advanced HCC patients. However, resistance emerges soon after initial treatment, limiting the clinical benefit of sorafenib, and the mechanisms still remain elusive. Thus, this study aims to investigate the mechanisms of sorafenib resistance and to provide possible targets for combination therapies. Through miRNA sequencing, we found that miR-486-3p was downregulated in sorafenib resistant HCC cell lines. Cell viability experiments showed increased miR-486-3p expression could induce cell apoptosis while miR-486-3p knockdown by CRISPR-CAS9 technique could reduce cell apoptosis in sorafenib treatment. Clinical data also indicated that miR-486-3p level was downregulated in tumor tissue compared with adjacent normal tissue in HCC patients. Mechanism dissections showed that FGFR4 and EGFR were the targets of miR-486-3p, which was verified by luciferase reporter assay. Importantly, FGFR4 or EGFR selective inhibitor could enhance sorafenib efficacy in the resistant cells. Moreover, in vivo sorafenib resistant model identified that over-expressing miR-486-3p by lentivirus injection could overcome sorafenib resistance by significantly suppressing tumor growth in combination with the treatment of sorafenib. In conclusion, we found miR-486-3p was an important mediator regulating sorafenib resistance by targeting FGFR4 and EGFR, thus offering a potential target for HCC treatment.
Project description:Sorafenib resistance is a major obstacle to the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are multifunctional regulators of gene expression with profound impact for human disease. Therefore, better understanding of the biological mechanisms of abnormally expressed miRNAs is critical to discovering novel, promising therapeutic targets for HCC treatment. This study aimed to investigate the role of miR-378a-3p in the sorafenib resistance of HCC and elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms. Methods: A novel hub miR-378a-3p was identified based on miRNA microarray and bioinformatics analysis. The abnormal expression of miR-378-3p was validated in different HCC patient cohorts and sorafenib-resistant (SR) HCC cell lines. The functional role of miR-378a-3p and its downstream and upstream regulatory machinery were investigated by gain-of-function and loss-of-function assays in vitro and in vivo. Interactions among miR-378a-3p, LXR?, and IGF1R were examined by a series of molecular biology experiments. Then, the clinical relevance of miR-378a-3p and its targets were evaluated in HCC samples. HCC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model was used to assess the therapeutic value of LXR? and its downstream miR-378a-3p. Results: miR-378a-3p expression was frequently reduced in established sorafenib-resistant HCC cell lines. The decreased miR-378a-3p levels correlated with poor overall survival of HCC patients following sorafenib treatment. miR-378a-3p overexpression induced apoptosis in SR HCC cells, whereas miR-378a-3p silencing exerted the opposite effects. IGF1R was identified as a novel target of miR-378a-3p. Furthermore, the primary miR-378 level was not consistent with its precursor miRNA level in SR HCC cells, which was attributed to the downregulation of exportin5 (XPO5) and subsequently reduced nuclear export of precursor miR-378 and restrained maturation of miR-378-3p. In this context, we combined an agonist GW3965 of liver X receptor alpha (LXR?), which functioned as a transcription activator of miRNA-378a, and its activation re-sensitized sorafenib-resistant cells to sorafenib treatment in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions: Our finding suggested decreased expression of XPO5 prevents maturation of miR-378a-3p, which leaded to the overexpression of IGF-1R and counteracted the effects of sorafenib-induced apoptosis. LXR? was able to activate miRNA-378a-3p transcription in HCC cells and could be a potential combinable treatment strategy with sorafenib to suppress HCC progression.
Project description:Sorafenib is currently the only systemic agent approved for treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, intrinsic and acquired resistance to sorafenib remains a great challenge with respect to improving the prognoses of patients with HCC. The cyto-protective functions of autophagy have been suggested as a potential mechanism by which chemoresistance or targeted drug resistance occurs in tumour cells. In the present study, miR-142-3p was identified as a novel autophagy-regulating microRNA (miRNA) that plays a vital role in sorafenib resistance in HCC cells. Gain- and loss-of-function assays revealed that ectopic miR-142-3p upregulation sensitized HCC cells to sorafenib by reducing sorafenib-induced autophagy, enhancing sorafenib-induced apoptosis and inhibiting cell growth, whereas miR-142-3p inhibition exerted contrasting effects. Bioinformatics analysis and luciferase reporter and rescue assays showed that autophagy-related 5 (ATG5) and autophagy-related 16-like 1 (ATG16L1) are potential targets through which miR-142-3p regulates autophagy inhibition. Furthermore, we verified that PU.1 regulated the expression of miR-142-3p in conjunction with our cellular experiments and the related results in the literature. Our findings show that targeting the PU.1-miR-142-3p-ATG5/ATG16L1 axis may be a useful therapeutic strategy for preventing cyto-protective autophagy to overcome sorafenib resistance.
Project description:Hypoxia is a common feature of solid tumors and an important contributor to anti-tumor drug resistance. Hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is one of the key mediators of the hypoxia signaling pathway, and was recently proven to be required for sorafenib resistance in hepatocarcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs have emerged as important posttranslational regulators in HCC. It was reported that miR-338-3p levels are associated with clinical aggressiveness of HCC. However, the roles of miR-338-3p in HCC disease and resistance to its therapeutic drugs are unknown. In this study, we found that miR-338-3p was frequently down-regulated in 14 HCC clinical samples and five cell lines. Overexpression of miR-338-3p inhibited HIF-1? 3'-UTR luciferase activity and HIF-1? protein levels in HepG2, SMMC-7721, and Huh7 cells. miR-338-3p significantly reduced cell viability and induced cell apoptosis of HCC cells. Additionally, HIF-1? overexpression rescued and HIF-1? knock-down abrogated the anti-HCC activity of miR-338-3p. Furthermore, miR-338-3p sensitized HCC cells to sorafenib in vitro and in a HCC subcutaneous nude mice tumor model by inhibiting HIF-1?. Collectively, miR-338-3p inhibits HCC tumor growth and sensitizes HCC cells to sorafenib by down-regulating HIF-1?. Our data indicate that miR-338-3p could be a potential candidate for HCC therapeutics.
Project description:We investigated MAPK14-dependent resistance to sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Bioinformatics analysis and dual luciferase reporter assays in HCC cell lines showed that miR-216a-3p directly binds to the 3'UTR of MAPK14 mRNA and downregulates MAPK14 protein expression. Consequently, miR-216a-3p expression correlates inversely with MAPK14 protein levels in HCC patient tissues. miR-216a-3p overexpression significantly increases the sorafenib sensitivity of HCC cells by suppressing MAPK14 expression and reducing the subsequent activation of the MEK/ERK and ATF2 signaling pathways. The growth of xenograft tumors derived from miR-216a-3p-overexpression HCC cells was significantly diminished in sorafenib-treated Balb/c nude mice compared to controls. High miR-216a-3p levels in HCC tissue samples prior to treatment correlated with a better sorafenib response and favorable prognosis. Our findings thus demonstrate that miR-216a-3p enhances sorafenib sensitivity in HCC cells and tumor tissues by decreasing MAPK14 levels, thereby inhibiting the MAPK14-dependent MEK/ERK and ATF2 signaling.
Project description:Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been reported to regulate the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) chemoresistance and tumor progression by regulating gene expression. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of HCC sorafenib resistance regulated by circRNAs remain unclear. Here, higher expression of circUBE2D2 was directly associated with low survival rate in HCC patients. Functional experiments showed that circUBE2D2 promoted the glycolysis (Warburg effect) and sorafenib resistance in vitro, and knockdown of circUBE2D2 repressed the tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, circUBE2D2 was predominantly localized in the cytoplasm and sponged miR-889-3p, which in turn targeted the 3'-UTR of LDHA mRNA. Therefore, circUBE2D2 exerted an oncogenic role through miR-889-3p/LDHA axis. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that circUBE2D2 accelerated the HCC glycolysis and sorafenib resistance via circUBE2D2/miR-889-3p/LDHA axis, which provides a novel approach for HCC treatment.
Project description:Increasing evidence shows that liver tumor-initiating cells (T-ICs) closely associated with the progression, metastasis, recurrence and chemo-resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the underlying mechanism for the propagation of liver T-ICs remains unclear. Here we show that miR-361-3p is upregulated in liver T-ICs. Knockdown of miR-361-3p impairs the self-renewal and tumorigenicity liver T-ICs. Conversely, forced miR-361-3p expression enhances the self-renewal and tumorigenicity liver T-ICs. Mechanistically, miR-361-3p directly targets SOX1 via binding its 3'-UTR in liver T-ICs. Moreover, miR-361-3p knockdown hepatoma cells are more sensitive to cisplatin or sorafenib treatment. Clinical cohort analysis demonstrates that miR-361-3p low HCC patients are benefited from TACE (transcatheter arterial chemoembolization) or sorafenib treatment. In conclusion, our findings revealed the crucial role of the miR-361-3p in liver T-IC expansion and TACE or sorafenib response, rendering miR-361-3p an optimal target for the prevention and intervention in HCC.