microRNA miR-200b affects proliferation, invasiveness and stemness of endometriotic cells by targeting ZEB1, ZEB2 and KLF4

Reprod Biomed Online. 2016 Apr;32(4):434-45. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.12.013. Epub 2016 Jan 15.


Endometriosis is characterized by growth of endometrial tissue at ectopic locations. Down-regulation of microRNA miR-200b is observed in endometriosis and malignant disease, driving tumour cells towards an invasive state by enhancing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). miR-200b up-regulation may inhibit EMT and invasive growth in endometriosis. To study its functional impact on the immortalized endometriotic cell line 12Z, the stromal cell line ST-T1b, and primary endometriotic stroma cells, a transient transfection approach with microRNA precursors was employed. Expression of bioinformatically predicted targets of miR-200b was analysed by qPCR. The cellular phenotype was monitored by Matrigel invasion assays, digital-holographic video microscopy and flow cytometry. qPCR revealed significant down-regulation of ZEB1 (P < 0.05) and ZEB2 (P < 0.01) and an increase in E-cadherin (P < 0.01). miR-200b overexpression decreased invasiveness (P < 0.0001) and cell motility (P < 0.05). In contrast, cell proliferation (P < 0.0001) and the stemness-associated side population phenotype (P < 0.01) were enhanced following miR-200b transfection. These properties were possibly due to up-regulation of the pluripotency-associated transcription factor KLF4 (P < 0.05) and require attention when considering therapeutic strategies. In conclusion, up-regulation of miR-200b reverts EMT, emerging as a potential therapeutic approach to inhibit endometriotic cell motility and invasiveness.

Keywords: EMT; endometriosis; miR-200b; microRNA; stem cells; subfertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Down-Regulation
  • Endometriosis / genetics*
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Female
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / physiology
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation
  • Zinc Finger E-box Binding Homeobox 2
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1 / genetics*
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1 / metabolism
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1 / physiology


  • GKLF protein
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • MIRN200 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Repressor Proteins
  • ZEB1 protein, human
  • ZEB2 protein, human
  • Zinc Finger E-box Binding Homeobox 2
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1