J Cancer 2020; 11(10):3072-3081. doi:10.7150/jca.39861

Research Paper

MiR-34a-5p Inhibits Proliferation, Migration, Invasion and Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma by Targeting LEF1 and Inactivation of the Hippo-YAP1/TAZ Signaling Pathway

Xinyu Wang*, Yue Zhao*, Qijue Lu*, Xiang Fei, Chaojing Lu, Chunguang Li, Hezhong Chen

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
*Authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

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Citation:
Wang X, Zhao Y, Lu Q, Fei X, Lu C, Li C, Chen H. MiR-34a-5p Inhibits Proliferation, Migration, Invasion and Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma by Targeting LEF1 and Inactivation of the Hippo-YAP1/TAZ Signaling Pathway. J Cancer 2020; 11(10):3072-3081. doi:10.7150/jca.39861. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v11p3072.htm

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Abstract

Background: Our previous studies reported that lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1) was upregulated in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and the positive expression of LEF1 was correlated with aberrant clinicopathological characteristics in ESCC patients. However, the upstream mechanism of regulating LEF1 is not clear fully. In this study, we explored the role of miR-34a-5p in ESCC and the possible regulatory mechanism.

Methods: In this study, we applied western blotting, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), bioinformatics analysis, a luciferase reporter assay, and a series of functional assays to show the potential role of miR-34a-5p in regulating LEF1 in ESCC.

Results: By various functional assays, we demonstrated that LEF1 promoted proliferation, migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ESCC cells. By bioinformatics analysis and luciferase reporter assay, miR-34a-5p was identified for directly targeting LEF1. Then we investigated the expression of miR-34a-5p and LEF1 in ESCC. As a result, miR-34a-5p was downregulated while LEF1 was upregulated in ESCC tissue and cell lines. Overexpression of miR-34a-5p could inhibit proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT of ESCC cells. The rescue experiment showed that re-expression of LEF1 reversed the suppressive effect caused by miR-34a-5p. At last, we found that miR-34a-5p could suppress Hippo-YAP1/TAZ signaling pathway in ESCC.

Conclusion: Our results indicate miR-34a-5p inhibits proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT in ESCC by targeting LEF1 and suppressing the Hippo-YAP1/TAZ signaling pathway, which may provide a new antitumor strategy to delay ESCC progress.

Keywords: miR-34a-5p, lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF1), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)