MiR-20a-5p promotes radio-resistance by targeting Rab27B in nasopharyngeal cancer cells

Cancer Cell Int. 2017 Mar 1;17:32. doi: 10.1186/s12935-017-0389-7. eCollection 2017.


Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) was reported to be involved in cancer radio-resistance, which remains a major obstacle for effective cancer therapy.

Methods: The differently expressed miRNAs were detected by RNA-seq experiment in nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) cells. MiR-20a-5p was selected as our target, which was subject to finding its target gene Rab27B via bioinformatics analysis. The qRT-PCR, western blot and the luciferase reporter assays were performed to confirm Rab27B as the target of miR-20a-5p. In addition, the roles of miR-20a-5p in NPC radio-resistance were detected by transfection of either miR-20a-5p-mimic or miR-20a-5p-antagomiR. The involvement of Rab27B with NPC radio-resistance was also detected by the experiments with siRNA-mediated repression of Rab27B or over-expression of GFP-Rab27B. Wound healing and invasion assays were performed to detect the roles of both miR-20a-5p and Rab27B.

Results: MiR-20a-5p promotes NPC radio-resistance. We identified that its target gene Rab27B negatively correlates with miR-20a-5p-mediated NPC radio-resistance by systematic studies of a radio-sensitive (CNE-2) and resistant (CNE-1) NPC cell lines. Repression of Rab27B by siRNA suppresses cell apoptosis and passivates CNE-2 cells, whereas over-expression of Rab27B triggered cell apoptosis and sensitizes CNE-1 cells.

Conclusions: MiR-20a-5p and its target gene Rab27B might be involved in the NPC radio-resistance. Thus the key players and regulators involved in this pathway might be the potential targets for developing effective therapeutic strategies against NPC.

Keywords: Nasopharyngeal cancer; Rab27B; Radio-resistance; miR-20a-5p.