Distant metastasis leads oral cancer patients into a poor survival rate and a high recurrence stage. During tumor progression, dysregulated microRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported to involve tumor initiation and modulate oral cancer malignancy. MiR-450a was significantly upregulated in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients without functional reports. This study was attempted to uncover the molecular mechanism of novel miR-450a in OSCC. Mir-450a expression was examined by quantitative RT-PCR, both in OSCC cell lines and patients. Specific target of miR-450a was determined by software prediction, luciferase reporter assay, and correlation with target protein expression. The functions of miR-450a and TMEM182 were accessed by adhesion and transwell invasion analyses. Determination of the expression and cellular localization of TMEM182 was examined by RT-PCR and by immunofluorescence staining. The signaling pathways involved in regulation of miR-450a were investigated using the kinase inhibitors. Overexpression of miR-450a in OSCC cells impaired cell adhesion ability and induced invasiveness, which demonstrated the functional role of miR-450a as an onco-miRNA. Interestingly, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-mediated expression of TMEM182 was regulated by miR-450a induction. MiR-450a-reduced cellular adhesion was abolished by TMEM182 restoration. Furthermore, the oncogenic activity of TNF-α/miR-450a/TMEM182 axis was primarily through activating extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling pathway. ERK1/2 inhibitor prevented the TNF-α-induced miR-450a expression and enhanced adhesion ability. Our data suggested that TNF-α-induced ERK1/2-dependent miR-450a against TMEM182 expression exerted a great influence on increasing OSCC motility. Overall, our results provide novel molecular insights into how TNF-α contributes to oral carcinogenesis through miR-450a that targets TMEM182.
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