Background: Emerging evidence demonstrates that microRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in regulation of cell growth, invasion and metastasis through inhibiting the expression of their targets. It has been reported that miR-130a-3p controls cell growth, migration and invasion in a variety of cancer cells. However, it is unclear whether miR-130a-3p regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in drug resistant cancer cells. Therefore, in the current study, we explore the role and molecular mechanisms of miR-130a-3p in gemcitabine resistant (GR) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells.
Methods: The real-time RT-PCR was used to measure the miR-130a-3p expression in GR HCC cells compared with their parental cells. The wound healing assay was conducted to determine the cell migratory activity in GR HCC cells treated with miR-130a-3p mimics. The migration and invasion assays were also performed to explore the role of miR-130a-3p in GR HCC cells. Western blotting analysis was used to measure the expression of Smad4, E-cadherin, Vimentin, and MMP-2 in GR HCC cells after depletion of Smad4. The luciferase assay was conducted to validate whether Smad4 is a target of miR-130a-3p. The student t-test was used to analyze our data.
Results: We found the down-regulation of miR-130a-3p in GR HCC cells. Moreover, we validate the Smad4 as a potential target of miR-130a-3p. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-130a-3p suppressed Smad4 expression, whereas inhibition of miR-130a-3p increased Smad4 expression. Consistently, overexpression of miR-130a-3p or down-regulation of Smad4 suppressed the cell detachment, attachment, migration, and invasion in GR HCC cells.
Conclusions: Our findings provide a molecular insight on understanding drug resistance in HCC cells. Therefore, activation of miR-130a-3p or inactivation of Smad4 could be a novel approach for the treatment of HCC.