Gemcitabine (GEM), a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients, uses oxidative stress induction as a common effector pathway. However, GEM alone or in combination with oxiplatin hardly renders any survival benefits to HCC patients. We have recently shown that this is part due to the overexpression of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) that in turn mediates resistance to GEM in HCC patients. However, not much is known about regulatory mechanisms underlying UCP2 overexpression in HCC. Differential protein expression in HCC cell lines did not show a concomitant change in UCP2 transcript level, indicating post-transcriptional or post-translational regulatory mechanism. In situ analysis revealed that UCP2 is a putative target of miR-214. MiR-214 expression is significantly downregulated in HCC patient samples as compared to normal adjacent tissues and in cell line, HuH6, with high UCP2 protein expression. We demonstrated using miR-214 mimic and antagomir that the miRNA targeted UCP2 expression by directly targeting the wild-type, but not a miR-214 seed mutant, 3'-untranslated region (3' UTR) of UCP2. Overexpression of miR-214 significantly attenuated cell proliferation. Finally, analysis in 20 HCC patients revealed an inverse correlation in expression of UCP2 and miR-214 (Pearson's correlation coefficient = -0.9792). Cumulatively, our data indicates that in the context of HCC, miR-214 acts as a putative tumor suppressor by targeting UCP2 and defines a novel mechanism of regulation of UCP2.
- Uncoupling proteins
- ©2016 The Author(s)
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