Suppression of iASPP-dependent aggressiveness in cervical cancer through reversal of methylation silencing of microRNA-124

Peixin Dong, Ying Xiong, Hidemichi Watari, Sharon J. B. Hanley, Yosuke Konno, Kei Ihira, Fumihiko Suzuki, Takahiro Yamada, Masataka Kudo, Junming Yue, Noriaki Sakuragi

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Derepression of wild-type p53 by suppressing its negative inhibitor iASPP (Inhibitor of apoptosis-
stimulating protein of p53) represents a potential therapeutic option for cervical cancer (CC). Here, we reported a novel functional significance of iASPP upregulation in cervical tumorigenesis: iASPP acts as a key promoter of CC cell proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, invasion and cancer stemness, by interacting with p53 to suppress p53-mediated transcription of target genes and reducing p53-responsive microRNA-34a levels. Moreover, we demonstrate that miR-124, directly targeting iASPP, reduces expression of iASPP and attenuates CC cell growth and invasiveness. Low miR-124 expression is inversely correlated with increased expression of iASPP mRNA in CC tissues. In a cohort of 40 patients with CC, the low miR-124 expression was correlated with poor 5-year overall survival (P = 0.0002) and shorter disease-free survival 5-year (P = 0006). Treatment with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor Zebularine increases miR-124 expression and retards CC cell growth and invasion with minimal toxicity to normal cells. Even at a non-toxic concentration, Zebularine was effective in suppressing CC cell
invasion and migration. Altogether, the restoration of miR-124 reduces iASPP expression and leads to p53-dependent tumor suppression, suggesting a therapeutic strategy to treat iASPP-associated CC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number35480
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was funded by a grant from the Department of Women’s Health Educational System, a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (15K10697 and 16K11123) and Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China (2013B021800155). We thank Dr. Zhujie Xu for technical assistance. The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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