Analysis of microRNA expression in CD133 positive cancer stem‑like cells of human osteosarcoma cell line MG-63

PeerJ. 2021 Sep 3;9:e12115. doi: 10.7717/peerj.12115. eCollection 2021.


Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary malignant tumor of bone occurring in young adults. OS stem cells (OSCs) play an important role in the occurrence, growth, metastasis, drug resistance and recurrence of OS. CD133 is an integral membrane glycoprotein, which has been identified as an OSC marker. However, the mechanisms of metastasis, chemoresistance, and progression in CD133(+) OSCs need to be further explored. In this study, we aim to explore differences in miRNA levels between CD133(+) and CD133(-) cells from the MG-63 cell line. We found 20 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEmiRNAs) (16 upregulated and 4 downregulated) in CD133(+) cells compared with CD133(-) cells. Hsa-miR-4485-3p, hsa-miR-4284 and hsa-miR-3656 were the top three upregulated DEmiRNAs, while hsa-miR-487b-3p, hsa-miR-493-5p and hsa-miR-431-5p were the top three downregulated DEmiRNAs. In addition, RT-PCR analysis confirmed that the expression levels of hsa-miR-4284, hsa-miR-4485-3p and hsa-miR-3656 were significantly increased, while the expression levels of hsa-miR-487b-3p, hsa-miR-493-5p, and hsa-miR-431-5p were significantly decreased in CD133(+) cells compared with CD133(-) cells. Moreover, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis revealed that predicted or validated target genes for all 20 DEmiRNAs or the selected 6 DEmiRNAs participated in the "PI3K-Akt signaling pathway," "Wnt signaling pathway," "Rap1 signaling pathway," "Cell cycle" and "MAPK signaling pathway". Among the selected six DEmiRNAs, miR-4284 was especially interesting. MiR-4284 knockdown significantly reduced the sphere forming capacity of CD133(+) OS cells. The number of invasive CD133(+) OS cells was markedly decreased after miR-4284 knockdown. In addition, miR-4284 knockdown increased the p-β-catenin levels in CD133(+) OS cells. In conclusion, RNA-seq analysis revealed DEmiRNAs between CD133(+) and CD133(-) cells. MiRNAs might play significant roles in the function of OSCs and could serve as targets for OS treatment. MiR-4284 prompted the self-renewal and invasion of OSCs. The function of miR-4284 might be associated with the Wnt signaling pathway.

Keywords: CD133; Cancer stem cells; Osteosarcoma; miR-4284; microRNA.

Grant support

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81330043, 81071499), the Beijing Municipal Health Commission (BMHC-2019-9, BMHC-2018-4), the Natural Science Foundation of Beijing JiShuiTan Hospital (ZR‑201906), the CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (2017-2M-3-005), and the Independent Issue of State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology (SKL-2019-17). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.