MicroRNA-1180 is associated with growth and apoptosis in prostate cancer via TNF receptor associated factor 1 expression regulation and nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway activation
- Deyuan Zhu
- Wenxi Gao
- Zhongmin Zhang
- Published online on: January 31, 2018 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2018.7914
Copyright: © Zhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Prostate cancer was reported to be the most common malignancy affecting males in the United States in 2016, with the highest incidence (21%) and a mortality rate (8%) following that associated with lung and bronchus cancer (1). The incidence of prostate cancer in China is much lower in comparison with that observed in Europe and America, although an increasing trend has been reported (2). Tumor invasion and metastasis are the leading causes of mortality in prostate cancer patients (3). Therefore, it is important to investigate the underlying molecular mechanism of prostate cancer invasion and migration and identify novel therapeutic targets.
microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are noncoding RNAs with a regulatory function. Recent studies have demonstrated that miRNAs are associated with prostate cancer; for instance, miR-1307 promotes the proliferation of prostate cancer through targeting FOXO3A (4). In addition, let-7b miRNA modulates macrophage polarization and enhances tumor-associated macrophages, promoting angiogenesis and mobility in prostate cancer (5). miR-345 and miR-195-5p have also been observed to suppress the migration and invasion in human prostate cancer (6,7). Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that miR-1180 serves a key role in hepatocellular carcinoma cells (8,9), and involves in the regulation of proliferation, migration and invasion of lung cancer (10). However, the expression and role of miR-1180 in prostate cancer has yet to be evaluated.
In the present study, the role of miR-1180 in the growth and apoptosis of prostate cancer was investigated. It was predicted that TNF receptor associated factor 1 (TRAF1) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2)-associated athanogene 2 (BAG2) were direct targets of miR-1180 by bioinformatics analysis. Therefore, the present study further determined that the effects of miR-1180 in prostate cancer were potentially exerted by targeting TRAF1 and BAG2.
Materials and methods
A total of 30 paired prostate cancer and adjacent normal prostate tissue samples were obtained from primary prostate cancer patients (31–67 years) who underwent surgery at the Hubei Provincial Hospital of TCM (Wuhan, China) between August 2015 and July 2016. None of the patients had received chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other treatments prior to surgery. The tissue samples were collected during surgery and immediately snap frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at −80°C. All patients signed a written informed consent for the use of samples. The study was approved by the Institutional Human Experiment and Ethics Committee of Hubei Provincial Hospital of TCM, and was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Cell lines and transfection
The human prostate cancer DU145 cell line and normal prostate RWPE-1 cells were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC; Manassas, VA, USA). DU145 and RWPE-1 cells were respectively maintained in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium and keratinocyte serum-free medium (Gibco; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA). Each medium contained 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) and the cells were incubated in a 37°C humidified atmosphere containing 5% CO2. DU145 cells were transfected with an empty vector and miR-1180 mimics (Guangzhou RiboBio Co., Ltd., Guangzhou, China) using Lipofectamine® 2000 (Invitrogen; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.) according to the manufacturer's specifications.
Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR)
TRIzol reagent (Invitrogen; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.) was used to extract total RNA from frozen clinical tissues or cultured cells. The RNA concentration was measured using a NanoDrop 2000 spectrophotometer (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.). The total RNA was then reverse transcribed into complementary DNA (cDNA) using Mir-X™ miRNA First Strand Synthesis kit or M-MLV reverse transcriptase (Takara Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Dalian, China) according to the manufacturer's instructions. cDNA was subsequently amplified by qPCR using Mir-X miRNA qRT-PCR SYBR® Kit or One Step SYBR PrimeScript™ RT-PCR kit II (Perfect Real Time; Takara Biotechnology Co., Ltd.). U6 served as an internal control for the detection of miR-1180 expression, while GAPDH served as an internal control for the determination of TRAF1 and BAG2 expression levels. The primers used were as follows: miR-1180 forward, 5′-ACACTCCAGCTGGGTTTCCGGCTCGCGTGG-3′ and reverse, 5′-TGGTGTCGTGGAGTCG-3′; U6 forward, 5′-CTCGCTTCGGCAGCACA-3′ and reverse, 5′-AACGCTTCACGAATTTGCGT-3′; TRAF1 forward, 5′-TGAGAGGGGAGTATGATGCG-3′ and reverse, 5′-GACGCTGAGCTTAGGTCAGG-3′; BAG2 forward, 5′-ATCAACGCTAAAGCCAACGAG-3′ and reverse, 5′-CGTCACTGATCTGCCTCATGT-3′; GAPDH forward, 5′-GGAGCGAGATCCCTCCAAAAT-3′ and reverse, 5′-GGCTGTTGTCATACTTCTCATGG-3′. The PCR conditions consist of 8 min of DNA polymerase activation at 95°C, followed by 40 cycles of 95°C for 30 sec, 55°C for 30 sec and 72°C for 30 sec. The relative expression was calculated using the comparative threshold method (2−ΔΔCq) (11).
Western blot analysis
The cells were lysed by 30-min incubation in radioimmunoprecipitation assay lysis buffer (Beyotime Institute of Biotechnology, Shanghai, China) on ice. Following centrifugation at 12,000 × g for 15 min at 4°C, the protein concentration was measured using the Bradford assay (Sigma-Aldrich; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany). Equal amounts of proteins were separated by 8–12% SDS-PAGE and electrotransferred onto nitrocellulose membranes. The membranes were blocked with 5% defatted milk at room temperature for 1 h, and then incubated with appropriate primary antibodies; nuclear factor (NF)-κB (sc-56735), Bcl-2 (sc-509), Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax; sc-80658), caspase-3 (sc-271759), p21 (sc-136020), phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (p-Rb; sc-135776), cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4; sc-70832), CDK6 (sc-7961), cyclin D1 (sc-70899), cyclin A2 (sc-136253), TNF receptor associated factor 1 (TRAF1; sc-271683), Bcl-2-associated athanogene 2 (BAG2; sc-101216) and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH; sc-293335) (all from Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., Dallas, TX, USA) at 1:1,000 at 4°C for overnight. Subsequently, the membranes were washed with TBST for three times and probed with horseradish peroxidase-conjugated secondary antibodies (1:2,000; Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.) at room temperature for 1 h. The target proteins were detected using BeyoECL Plus kit (Beyotime Institute of Biotechnology). Quantification was performed using ImageJ software (version 1.43; National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA).
Cell proliferation assay
Cell proliferation was measured by MTT assay. Briefly, DU145 cells were seeded into 96-well plates (4×104 cells/well) and incubated at 37°C for 48 h after transfection. Subsequently, 20 µl MTT solution was added into each well and incubated for 3 h, followed by the addition of dimethyl sulfoxide to extract the dye. The absorbance of each well was then measured at a wavelength of 570 nm using a microplate reader to assess the cell proliferation.
Flow cytometry analysis
DU145 cells were seeded into 6-well plates (1×106 cells/well) and incubated at 37°C for 48 h after transfection. The cells were harvested with 0.25% trypsin and washed with PBS. Following centrifugation at 1,000 × g for 10 min at 4°C, the cells were double stained with Annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide (Annexin V-FITC Cell Apoptosis Detection kit; Beyotime Institute of Biotechnology) according to the manufacturer's instructions. The results were then analyzed with Cell Quest software (version 3.1) on a FACSort flow cytometer (both from BD Biosciences, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA).
Cell invasion assay
In order to examine the cell invasion, a Transwell assay was conducted. Briefly, Transwell inserts were pre-coated with BD Matrigel matrix (BD Bioscience). DU145 cells were transfected with miR-negative control (NC) or miR-1180 mimics for 48 h, and then cells in serum-free medium were plated into the upper chamber (5×104 cells/well), while medium containing 10% FBS was added to the lower chamber. Subsequent to culturing for 24 h at 37°C, the invading cells in the lower chamber were stained with 0.1% crystal violet (Sigma-Aldrich; Merck KGaA) and counted under a microscope.
Wound healing assay
In order to determine the cell migration ability, DU145 cells were plated in a 6-well plate (1×106 cells). Following overnight incubation at 37°C, the cells were respectively transfected with miR-NC or miR-1180 mimics. When cell confluence reached 90–100%, wounds were created using a 200 µl pipette tip. Wound healing was observed within the scrape line after 24 h, and images of representative wounds of the cells were captured using a microscope. The results were quantified by ImageJ software (version 1.43; National Institutes of Health).
Dual-luciferase reporter assay
DU145 cells were plated in a 6-well plate (1×106 cells). Following overnight incubation at 37°C, the cells were respectively transfected with miR-NC or miR-1180 mimics for 48 h. Target genes of miR-1180 were predicted using TargetScan (http//www.targetscan.org). To detect the targeting association between miR-1180 and TRAF1 and BAG2 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR), dual-luciferase reporter assay was performed by using Dual Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay kit (Beyotime Institute of Biotechnology) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dual-luciferase activity was measured to determine the targeting association between miR-1180 and TRAF1 and BAG2 3′-UTR.
All quantified data are represented as the mean ± standard deviation. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 18.0 software (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Student's t-test was used for comparisons between groups, while one-way analysis of variance was used for comparisons between multiple groups. A value of P<0.05 was considered to indicate a statistically significant difference.
miR-1180 is downregulated in prostate cancer tissues and cells
To investigate the role of miR-1180 in prostate cancer, the expression of miR-1180 in prostate cancer tissues and cells was assessed by RT-qPCR. As shown in Fig. 1A, miR-1180 expression in the prostate cancer tissues was significantly reduced when compared with that in adjacent normal prostate tissues. In addition, miR-1180 was markedly downregulated in prostate cancer DU145 cells compared with that in normal prostate RWPE-1 cells (Fig. 1B). These findings suggest that miR-1180 is downregulated in prostate cancer tissues and cells, and thus may regulate prostate cancer progression.
Expression of miR-1180 in prostate cancer tissues and cells. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to compare the expression of miR-1180 in (A) prostate cancer and normal prostate tissues (n=30), as well as in (B) prostate cancer DU145 cells and normal prostate RWPE-1 cells. (C) Transfection with miR-1180 mimics significantly increased the expression level of miR-1180 in DU145 cells. **P<0.01 vs. corresponding control group. miR, microRNA; NC, negative control.
miR-1180 overexpression inhibits the proliferation of DU145 cells
Overexpression of miR-1180 was performed in DU145 cells to analyze its role in prostate cancer. Transfection with mimics significantly enhanced the expression of miR-1180 (P<0.01), as shown in Fig. 1C. Subsequently, the effect of miR-1180 on cell proliferation was examined by an MTT assay, and the results revealed that miR-1180 overexpression inhibited cell proliferation (Fig. 2A).
miR-1180 overexpression inhibits the proliferation rate and enhances the apoptosis rate of DU145 cells. (A) Cell proliferation was inhibited following miR-1180 overexpression in DU145 cells, as observed by an MTT assay. (B) Western blot analysis of NF-κB, Bcl-2, Bax and caspase-3 expression levels in DU145 cells indicated that the overexpression of miR-1180 regulated the levels of these proteins. (C) Cell apoptosis was increased following miR-1180 overexpression in DU145 cells, as determined by flow cytometry. *P<0.05 and **P<0.01, vs. corresponding control group. miR, microRNA; NC, negative control; OD, optical density; NF, nuclear factor; Bcl-2, B-cell lymphoma 2; Bax, Bcl-2-associated X protein.
miR-1180 overexpression promotes apoptosis in DU145 cells
Flow cytometric and western blot analyses were performed to verify the role of miR-1180 in the apoptosis of DU145 cells transfected with miR-1180. Western blot analysis also suggested that the levels of NF-κB and Bcl-2 protein were inhibited, while the levels of Bax and caspase-3 protein were increased (Fig. 2B). Flow cytometric analysis also demonstrated that the apoptosis rate of transfected DU145 cells was significantly increased as compared with the control and miR-NC-transfected cells (Fig. 2C). These results indicated that overexpression of miR-1180 promoted the apoptosis of DU145 cells.
miR-1180 inhibits the expression of cell cycle-associated proteins in DU145 cells
Flow cytometric and western blot analysis were also performed to determine the role of miR-1180 in the progression of the DU145 cell cycle subsequent to transfection by miR-1180 mimics. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the cell cycle was arrested at G1 phase following miR-1180 overexpression (Fig. 3A). Furthermore, western blot analysis identified that the level of p21 protein was upregulated, while the levels of p-Rb, CDK4, CDK6, cyclin D1 and Cyclin A2 protein were downregulated (Fig. 3B). These data suggested that miR-1180 overexpression arrests the cell cycle in DU145 cells.
miR-1180 regulates the cell cycle in DU145 cells. (A) Cell cycle distribution was measured following miR-1180 overexpression in DU145 cells by flow cytometric analysis. (B) Western blot analysis of p21, p-Rb, CDK4, CDK6, cyclin D1 and cyclin A2 expression in DU145 cells indicated that overexpression of miR-1180 regulated the levels of these proteins. *P<0.05 and **P<0.01, vs. corresponding control group. miR, microRNA; NC, negative control; p-Rb, phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein; CDK, cyclin-dependent kinase.
miR-1180 inhibits the migration and invasion of DU145 cells
To further describe the function of miR-1180 in prostate cancer, wound healing and transwell assays were performed to observe the migration and invasion of DU145 cells. As shown in Fig. 4A, overexpression of miR-1180 in DU145 cells led to delayed wound healing and markedly reduced cell migration as compared with the control and miR-NC groups. Furthermore, the transwell assay confirmed that the invasion of DU145 cells was significantly inhibited by miR-1180 overexpression (Fig. 4B). Taken together, these results revealed that miR-1180 inhibited the prostate cancer cell migration and invasion.
miR-1180 inhibits the migration and invasion of DU145 cells. (A) Wound healing and (B) Transwell assays were performed to observe the migration and invasion, respectively, of DU145 cells transfected with miR-1180 mimics (magnification, ×100). *P<0.05 vs. control and miR-NC-transfected groups. miR, microRNA, NC, negative control.
TRAF1 and BAG2 are direct targets of miR-1180
RT-qPCR analysis demonstrated that the expression levels of TRAF1 and BAG2 mRNA were significantly inhibited by miR-1180 mimic transfection (Fig. 5A). In addition, western blot analysis revealed that the levels of TRAF1 and BAG2 protein were also inhibited (Fig. 5B). Through the application of bioinformatics analysis, it was predicted that miR-1180 was able to target the 3′-UTR of TRAF1 and BAG2. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was subsequently performed to investigate whether TRAF1 and BAG2 are direct targets of miR-1180. As shown in Fig. 5C, miR-1180 overexpression significantly the inhibited dual-luciferase activity of 3′UTR-WT of TRAF1 and BAG2. These data suggested that TRAF1 and BAG2 are direct targets of miR-1180.
TRAF1 and BAG2 are direct targets of miR-1180. (A) Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and (B) western blot analysis were performed to measure the expression levels of TRAF1 and BAG2 in DU145 cells transfected with miR-1180 mimics. (C) miR-1180 overexpression significantly inhibited the dual-luciferase activity of the 3′-UTR-WT of TRAF1 and BAG2, but not of the 3′-UTR-MUT of TRAF1 and BAG2. *P<0.05 vs. 3′-UTR-MUT group; **P<0.01 vs. control and miR-NC-transfected groups. miR, microRNA; NC, negative control; TRAF1, TNF receptor associated factor 1; BAG2, B-cell lymphoma 2-associated athanogene 2; 3′-UTR, 3′-untranslated region; WT, wild-type; MUT, mutated.
miRNAs regulate tumor growth, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis, and thus may be potentially novel therapeutic targets in prostate cancer (12). In the present study, the results demonstrated that miR-1180 was downregulated in tumor tissues and DU145 prostate cancer cells as compared with the expression in normal tissues and RWPE-1 cells, respectively. Thus, this indicated that miR-1180 may be a potential tumor suppressor in prostate cancer. Subsequently, the suppressive effect of miR-1180 on the growth and apoptosis of prostate cancer cells was investigated.
An MTT assay applied in the present study indicated that overexpression of miR-1180 significantly inhibited DU145 cell proliferation. The cell proliferation and cell death largely depend on cell cycle progression and metabolism. CDKs are a group of serine/threonine protein kinases, which coordinate with cyclin to regulate the cell cycle. p21 is a potent CDK inhibitor, which inhibits the activity of cyclin-CDK4/6 complexes, consequently regulating the cell cycle progression. In addition, cyclin-CDK4/6 complexes are known to phosphorylate Rb (13–16). In the present study, the results of flow cytometry analysis revealed that miR-1180 may suppress the G0/1 to S phase transition. Subsequent western blot analysis also indicated that miR-1180 overexpression led to the increase of p21 level, and the inhibition of p-Rb, CDK4, CDK6, Cyclin D1 and Cyclin A2 levels. These results confirmed that miR-1180 activated p21 expression and inhibited cell cycle-associated proteins, inducing cell cycle arrest and inhibiting DU145 cell proliferation.
Bcl-2 is one of the most important oncogenes in cell apoptosis. Bax forms a heterodimer with Bcl-2, and functions as an apoptotic activator (17). In addition, the NF-κB signaling pathway is involved in numerous cellular functions, including proliferation, apoptosis and inflammation. The effector caspase-3 is also activated to complete apoptosis (18). The present study results demonstrated that miR-1180 overexpression promoted cell apoptosis, suppressed the levels of NF-κB and Bcl-2, and increased the levels of Bax and Caspases-3. Therefore, miR-1180 may induce DU145 cell apoptosis through the NF-κB signaling pathway.
Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality, while cell invasion and migration are the most important biological characteristics of malignant tumors (19). In the present study, wound healing and transwell assays were performed to observe the effect of miR-1180 on the migration and invasion of DU145 cells. The results demonstrated that overexpression of miR-1180 suppressed the cell migration and invasion. Thus, it was confirmed that miR-1180 may function as a tumor suppressor in prostate cancer.
TRAF1 is a protein associates with the signal transduction from various receptors of the TNF receptor superfamily (20). In addition, BAG2 promotes tumorigenesis through enhancing the mutant p53 protein levels and function, while it is also involved in cellular senescence by the p21/CIP1 pathway (21,22). The results reported in the present study indicated that overexpression of miR-1180 inhibited the levels of TRAF1 and BAG2 mRNA and protein. Bioinformatics analysis and dual-luciferase reporter assay further verified that TRAF1 and BAG2 are direct targets of miR-1180.
In conclusion, the present study confirmed that miR-1180 is associated with growth and apoptosis in prostate cancer by TRAF1 and BAG2 expression regulation and NF-κB signaling pathway activation. Therefore, miR-1180 may be a potential tumor suppressor in prostate cancer.
The authors thank Dr Wenxi Gao and Dr Zhongmin Zhang (Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, China) for guidance on this study, and Dr Lingqi Zeng (Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine) for assistance with the experiments.
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