WAVE3, an actin cytoskeleton remodeling protein, is highly expressed in advanced stages of breast cancer and influences tumor cell invasion. Loss of miR-31 has been associated with cancer progression and metastasis. Here, we show that the activity of WAVE3 to promote cancer cell invasion is regulated by miR-31. An inverse correlation was demonstrated between expression levels of WAVE3 and miR-31 in invasive versus noninvasive breast cancer cell lines. miR-31 directly targeted the 3'-UTR of the WAVE3 mRNA and inhibited its expression in the invasive cancer cells, i.e., miR-31-mediated down-regulation of WAVE3 resulted in a significant reduction in the invasive phenotype of cancer cells. This relationship was specific to the loss of WAVE3 expression because re-expression of a miR-31-resistant form of WAVE3 reversed miR-31-mediated inhibition of cancer cell invasion. Furthermore, expression of miR-31 correlates inversely with breast cancer progression in humans, where an increase in expression of miR-31 target genes was observed as the tumors progressed to more aggressive forms. In conclusion, a novel mechanism for the regulation of WAVE3 expression in cancer cells has been identified, which controls the invasive properties of cancer cells. The study also identifies a critical role for WAVE3, downstream of miR-31, in the invasion-metastasis cascade.
Copyright © 2010 UICC.