Background: Cervical cancer is a malignancy that's common in female with high incidence and mortality worldwide. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) act a pivotal part in human cancer development. Our aim was to investigate the effect of miR-126 on cervical cancer and its underlying molecular mechanism.
Results: Firstly, RT-qPCR assay revealed that the expression of miR-126 was significantly downregulated in cervical cancer tissues and cell lines, compared with that in normal adjacent tissues and normal cervical epithelial cell line (Ect1/E6E7), respectively. Then, ZEB1 was verified as a target of miR-126 by using luciferase reporter assay. Inversely, the expression of ZEB1 was markedly upregulated in tumor tissues, and its mRNA level was negatively regulated by miR-126 expression in SiHa and Hela cells. Moreover, the capability of cell proliferation, migration and invasion was analyzed by CCK-8, wound healing assay and transwell assay, respectively. The results demonstrated that overexpression of miR-126 inhibited SiHa and Hela cell proliferation, migration and invasion, while ZEB1 abolished the inhibition induced by miR-126. Additionally, miR-126 suppressed MMP2 and MMP9 in mRNA and protein levels, as well as inhibited the protein expression of p-JAK2 and p-STAT3 in both SiHa and Hela cells, while ZEB1 rescued miR-126-induced suppression.
Conclusion: miR-126 functions as a tumor suppressor in cervical cancer cells in vitro, which inhibits the proliferation, migration and invasion by suppressing MMP2, MMP9 expression and inactivating JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway through targeting ZEB1, suggesting that miR-126 might be a novel potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cervical cancer.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; Invasion; MiR-126; Migration; Proliferation; ZEB1.