miR-129-2 suppresses proliferation and migration of esophageal carcinoma cells through downregulation of SOX4 expression

Int J Mol Med. 2013 Jul;32(1):51-8. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2013.1384. Epub 2013 May 16.


We report the emerging role of microRNA (miRNA) deregulation associated with activation of an oncogene SOX4 (a member of the SRY-related HMG-box) in esophageal carcinoma. Paired esophageal cancer and adjacent non-tumor tissues were obtained from 42 patients who underwent primary surgical resection for esophageal cancer. Experiments such as real-time PCR, western blot analysis, luciferase-reporter assay, cell proliferation and colony formation assays, in vitro migration and invasion assays, and a wound-healing assay were performed to determine the effects of miR-129-2. We found that SOX4 expression was elevated (P<0.005) in esophageal tumors (n=42) when compared with its expression in the controls (n=42). Compared with the normal esophageal tissues, the expression of miR-129-2 was downregulated in 27 of 31 primary esophageal tumors, while the expression of SOX4 was upregulated (P<0.001). Restoration of miR-129-2 by transfection with an miRNA expression plasmid led to a decrease in SOX4 expression, which was accompanied by reduced migration and proliferation of the cancer cells. These results suggest that aberrant expression of SOX4 is associated with repression of miR-129-2, and restoration of miR-129-2 suppresses the migration and proliferation of esophageal cancer cells. Our results demonstrated that the deregulation of miR-129-2 leads to aberrant SOX4 expression, presenting a new paradigm in which the restoration of miRNA suppresses its oncogenic target in esophageal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Movement / genetics*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • RNA Interference
  • SOXC Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • SOXC Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn129 microRNA, human
  • SOX4 protein, human
  • SOXC Transcription Factors