This study aims to investigate the biological function of microRNA-200b and BMI1, predicted target of microRNA-200b in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNA-200b and BMI1 expression in HCC tissues were evaluated by qPCR. A luciferase reporter assay was used to validate BMI1 as a direct target of microRNA- 200b. The effect of microRNA-200b on HCC progression was studied in vitro and in vivo. Methylation specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite sequencing PCR (BSP) were used to detect the methylation status of the microRNA-200b promoter. Significant downregulation of microRNA-200b was observed in 83.3% of HCC tissues. By contrast, BMI1 was significantly overexpressed in 66.7% of HCC tissues. The results of the luciferase assay confirmed BMI1 as a direct target gene of microRNA-200b. Forced expression of microRNA-200b in HCC cells dramatically repressed proliferation, colony formation, cell cycle progression, and invasion. Moreover, microRNA-200b synergized with 5-fluorouracil to induce apoptosis in vitro and suppressed tumorigenicity in vivo. In addition, MSP analysis and BSP revealed that CpG sites in the promoter region of microRNA-200b were extensively methylated in HCC, with concomitant downregulation of microRNA-200b expression. Furthermore, microRNA-200b was activated in HCC cells after treatment with 5-azacytidine, whereas BMI1 expression was clearly downregulated. Our results indicate that microRNA-200b is partially silenced by DNA hypermethylation and that it can repress tumor progression by directly targeting BMI1 in HCC.
Wu, W. R., Sun, H., Zhang, R., Yu, X. huan, Shi, X. D., Zhu, M. S., … Liu, C. (2016). Methylation-associated silencing of miR-200b facilitates human hepatocellular carcinoma progression by directly targeting BMI1. Oncotarget, 7(14), 18684–18693. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7629