MicroRNA-128 downregulates Bax and induces apoptosis in human embryonic kidney cells

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Apr;68(8):1415-28. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0528-y. Epub 2010 Sep 19.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short ~21-nt non-coding RNA molecules that have been shown to regulate a number of biological processes. Previous reports have shown that overexpression of miR-128 in glioma cells inhibited cell proliferation. Literature also suggests that miR-128 negatively regulates prostate cancer cell invasion. Here, we show that overexpression of hsa-miR-128, a brain-enriched microRNA, induces apoptosis in HEK293T cells as elucidated by apoptosis assay, cell cycle changes, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and multicaspase assay. By in silico analysis, we identified a putative target site within the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of Bax, a proapoptotic member of the apoptosis pathway. We found that ectopic expression of hsa-miR-128 suppressed a luciferase reporter containing the Bax-3' UTR and reduced the levels of Bax in HEK293T cells. Taken together, our study demonstrates that overexpression of hsa-miR-128 not only induces apoptosis in HEK293T cells but also is an endogenous regulator of Bax protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Down-Regulation*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism*


  • MIRN128 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein