PI3K/AKT signaling is involved in cell survival, proliferation, and migration. In this pathway, PI3Kα enzyme is composed of a regulatory protein encoded by p85 gene and a catalytic protein encoded by PIK3CA gene. Human PIK3CA locus is amplified in several cancers including lung and colorectal cancer (CRC). Therefore, microRNAs (miRNAs) that are encoded within the PIK3CA gene might have a role in cancer development. Here, we report a novel microRNA named PIK3CA-miR1 (EBI accession no. LN626315), which is located within PIK3CA gene. A DNA segment corresponding to PIK3CA-premir1 sequence was transfected in human cell lines that resulted in generation of mature exogenous PIK3CA-miR1. Following the overexpression of PIK3CA-miR1, its predicted target genes (APPL1 and TrkC) were significantly downregulated in the CRC-originated HCT116 and SW480 cell lines, detected by qRT-PCR. Then, dual luciferase assay supported the interaction of PIK3CA-miR1 with APPL1 and TrkC transcripts. Endogenous PIK3CA-miR1 expression was also detected in several cell lines (highly in HCT116 and SW480) and highly in CRC specimens. Consistently, overexpression of PIK3CA-premir1 in HCT116 and SW480 cells resulted in significant reduction of the sub-G1 cell distribution and apoptotic cell rate, as detected by flowcytometry, and resulted in increased cell proliferation, as detected by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. PIK3CA-miR1 overexpression also resulted in Wnt signaling upregulation detected by Top/Fop assay. Overall, accumulative evidences indicated the presence of a bona fide novel onco-miRNA encoded within the PIK3CA oncogene, which is highly expressed in colorectal cancer and has a survival effect in CRC-originated cells.
Keywords: APPL1; Colorectal cancer; Oncogene; PI3K signaling; PIK3CA-miR1; TrkC.