miR-92b-3p acts as a tumor suppressor by targeting Gabra3 in pancreatic cancer

Mol Cancer. 2017 Oct 27;16(1):167. doi: 10.1186/s12943-017-0723-7.


Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) can act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors by controlling cell proliferation, differentiation, metastasis and apoptosis, and miRNA dysregulation is involved in the development of pancreatic cancer (PC). Our previous study demonstrated that Gabra3 plays critical roles in cancer progression. However, whether Gabra3 is regulated by miRNAs in PC remains unknown.

Methods: The expression levels of miR-92b-3p and Gabra3 were measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR), immunoblotting, in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The proliferation rate of PC cells was detected by MTS assay. Wound-healing and transwell assays were used to examine the invasive abilities of PC cells. Dual-luciferase reporter assays were used to determine how miR-92b-3p regulates Gabra3. Xenograft mouse models were used to assess the role of miR-92b-3p in PC tumor formation in vivo.

Results: Here, we provide evidence that miR-92b-3p acted as a tumor suppressor in PC by regulating Gabra3 expression. MiR-92b-3p expression levels were lower in PC tissues than corresponding noncancerous pancreatic (CNP) tissues and were associated with a poor prognosis in PC patients. MiR-92b-3p overexpression suppressed the proliferation and invasion of PC cells in both in vivo and in vitro models. Conversely, miR-92b-3p knockdown induced an aggressive phenotype in PC cells. Mechanistically, miR-92b-3p overexpression suppressed Gabra3 expression, which then led to the inactivation of important oncogenic pathways, including the AKT/mTOR and JNK pathways.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that miR-92b-3p acted as a tumor suppressor by targeting Gabra3-associated oncogenic pathways; these results provide novel insight into future treatments for PC patients.

Keywords: Gabra3; MiR-92b-3p; Pancreatic cancer; Tumor proliferation and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism


  • GABRA3 protein, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptors, GABA-A