Our previous proteomics study revealed that thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) was down-regulated by miR-373. However, little is known of the mechanism by which miR-373 decreases TXNIP to stimulate metastasis. In this study, we show that miR-373 promotes the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer. MiR-373 suppresses TXNIP by binding to the 3'UTR of TXNIP, which in turn, induces cancer cell EMT and metastasis. TXNIP co-expression, but not the TXNIP-3'UTR, reverses the enhancement of EMT, migration, invasion and metastasis induced by miR-373. MiR-373 stimulates EMT, migration and invasion through TXNIP-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) reduction. Mechanistically, miR-373 up-regulates and activates the HIF1α-TWIST signaling axis via the TXNIP pathway. Consequently, TWIST induces miR-373 expression by binding to the promoter of the miR-371-373 cluster. Clinically, miR-373 is negatively associated with TXNIP and positively associated with HIF1α and TWIST, and activation of the miR-373-TXNIP-HIF1α-TWIST signaling axis is correlated with a worse outcome in patients with breast cancer. This signaling axis may be an independent prognostic factor for patients with breast cancer.
Keywords: EMT; ROS; TWIST; TXNIP; miR-373.