MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have crucial roles in the development and progression of human cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recent studies have shown that microRNA-124 (miR-124) was downregulated in HCC; however, the underlying mechanisms by which miR-124 suppresses tumorigenesis in HCC are largely unknown. In this study, we report that phosphoinositide 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) is a novel target of miR-124 in HepG2 cells. Overexpression of miR-124 resulted in decreased expression of PIK3CA at both mRNA and protein levels. We found that miR-124 overexpression markedly suppressed cell proliferation by inducing G1-phase cell-cycle arrest in vitro. Consistent with the restoring miR-124 expression, PIK3CA knockdown suppressed cell proliferation, whereas overexpression of PIK3CA abolished the suppressive effect of miR-124. Mechanistic studies showed that miR-124-mediated reduction of PIK3CA resulted in suppression of PI3K/Akt pathway. The expressions of Akt and mTOR, key components of the PI3K/Akt pathway, were all downregulated. Moreover, we found overexpressed miR-124 effectively repressed tumor growth in xenograft animal experiments. Taken together, our results demonstrate that miR-124 functions as a growth-suppressive miRNA and plays an important role in inhibiting the tumorigenesis through targeting PIK3CA.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.