MicroRNA-146a suppresses tumor malignancy via targeting vimentin in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells with lower fibronectin membrane assembly

Hong Yi Chang, Chi Hua Lee, Yi Syuan Li, Jing Tong Huang, Sheng Hui Lan, Yi Fang Wang, Wu Wei Lai, Yi Ching Wang, Yan Ju Lin, Hsiao Sheng Liu, Hung Chi Cheng

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is widely prevalent in Taiwan, and high metastatic spread of ESCC leads to poor survival rate. Fibronectin (FN) assembly on the cell membrane may induce ESCC mobility. MicroRNAs (MiRNAs) are abundant in and participate in tumorigenesis in many cancers. However, the role of MiRNA in FN assembly-related ESCC mobility remains unexplored. Methods: We divided ESCC CE81T cells into high-FN assembly (CE81FN+) and low-FN assembly (CE81FN−) groups by flow cytometry. MiRNA microarray analysis identified miR-146a expression as the most down-regulated miRNA in comparison of CE81FN+ and CE81FN− cells. Results: Cell proliferation and migration were decreased when CE81FN+ cells overexpressed transgenic miR-146a compared to the parental cells, indicating an inverse correlation between low miR-146a expression and high proliferation as well as motility of FN assembly ESCC cells. Furthermore, vimentin is the target gene of miR-146a involved in ESCC tumorigenesis. MiR-146a suppressed cell proliferation, migration and invasion of CE81FN+ cells through the inhibition of vimentin expression, as confirmed by real-time PCR, Western blotting and Transwell™ assay. Analysis of one hundred and thirty-six paired ESCC patient specimens revealed that low miR-146a and high vimentin levels were frequently detected in tumor, and that the former was associated with late tumor stages (III and IV). Notably, either low miR-146a expression or high vimentin level was significantly associated with poor overall survival rate among ESCC patients. Conclusions: This is the first report to link FN assembly in the cell membrane with miR-146a, vimentin and ESCC tumorigenesis both in vitro and in ESCC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalJournal of biomedical science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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