MicroRNA-720 promotes in vitro cell migration by targeting Rab35 expression in cervical cancer cells

Cell Biosci. 2015 Sep 25:5:56. doi: 10.1186/s13578-015-0047-5. eCollection 2015.


Background: MicroRNA-720 (miR-720), a nonclassical miRNA, is involved in the initiation and progression of several tumors. In our previous studies, miR-720 was shown to be significantly upregulated in cervical cancer tissues compared with normal cervical tissues. However, the precise biological functions of miR-720, and its molecular mechanisms of action, are still unknown.

Results: Microarray expression profiles, luciferase reporter assays, and western blot assays were used to validate Rab35 as a target gene of miR-720 in HEK293T and HeLa cells. The regulation of Rab35 expression by miR-720 was assessed using qRT-PCR and western blot assays, and the effects of exogenous miR-720 and Rab35 on cell migration were evaluated in vitro using Transwell(®) assay, wound healing assay, and real-time analyses in HeLa cells. The influences of exogenous miR-720 on cell proliferation were evaluated in vitro by the MTT assay in HeLa cells. In addition, expression of E-cadherin and vimentin associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition were also assessed using western blot analyses after transfection of miR-720 mimics and Rab35 expression vectors. The results showed that the small GTPase, Rab35, is a direct functional target of miR-720 in cervical cancer HeLa cells. By targeting Rab35, overexpression of miR-720 resulted in a decrease in E-cadherin expression and an increase in vimentin expression and finally led to promotion of HeLa cell migration. Furthermore, reintroduction of Rab35 3'-UTR(-) markedly reversed the induction of cell migration in miR-720-expressing HeLa cells.

Conclusions: The miR-720 promotes cell migration of HeLa cells by downregulating Rab35. The results show that miR-720 is a novel cell migration-associated gene in cervical cancer cells.

Keywords: Cell migration; Cervical cancer cells; Rab35; miR-720.