J Cancer 2021; 12(12):3726-3740. doi:10.7150/jca.48418

Research Paper

MiR-146b-3p regulates proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells with stem cell-like properties by targeting MAP3K10

Min Zhou1, Yang Gao1, Min Wang1, Xingjun Guo1, Xu Li1, Feng Zhu1, Simiao Xu2✉, Renyi Qin1✉

1. Department of Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Affiliated Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430030, China.
2. Department of Endocrinology, Affiliated Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 430030, Wuhan, China.

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Citation:
Zhou M, Gao Y, Wang M, Guo X, Li X, Zhu F, Xu S, Qin R. MiR-146b-3p regulates proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells with stem cell-like properties by targeting MAP3K10. J Cancer 2021; 12(12):3726-3740. doi:10.7150/jca.48418. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v12p3726.htm

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Abstract

Purpose: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) initiate and maintain tumorigenesis due to their unique pluripotency. However, pancreatic stem cell gene signatures are not completely revealed yet. Here, we isolated pancreatic cancer stem cells (P-CSCs) and exploited their distinct genome-wide mRNA and miRNA expression profiles using microarrays.

Methods: CD24+ CD44+ ESA+ cells were isolated from two pancreatic xenograft cells by the flow cytometry and identified the stem cell-like properties by the tumor formation, self-renew and chemoresistance. Microarrays and qRT-PCR were used to exploit their distinct Genome-wide mRNA and miRNA expression profiles. The function and candidate target genes of key microRNA were detected after Ectopic restoration in the pancreatic cancer cell lines MIA Paca-2 (CSChigh) and BxPC-3 (CSClow).

Results: In this study, we isolated P-CSCs from two xenografts cells. Genome-wide profiling experiments showed 479 genes and 15 microRNAs specifically expressed in the P-CSCs, including genes involved in TGF-β and p53 signaling pathways and particularly miR-146b-3p as the most significantly downregulated miRNA. We confirmed miR-146b-3p as a downregulated signature in pancreatic cancer tissues and cell line MIA Paca-2 (CSChigh) cells. Ectopic restoration of miR-146b-3p expression with pre-miR reduced cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, increased G1 phase and reduced S phase in cell cycle in MIA Paca-2 (CSChigh), but not in BxPC-3 (CSClow). Re-expression of miR-146b-3p with lentivirus significantly inhibited tumorigenicity in vivo in MIA Paca-2, but slightly in BxPC-3. Furthermore, we demonstrated that miR-146b-3p directly targeted MAP3K10 and might activate Hedgehog pathway as well through DYRK2 and GLI2.

Conclusions: These results suggest that P-CSCs have distinct gene expression profiles. MiR-146b-3p inhibits proliferation and induced apoptosis in P-CSCs high cells lines by targeting MAP3K10. Targeting P-CSCs specific genes may provide novel strategies for therapeutic purposes.

Keywords: pancreatic cancer, stem cell, gene expression profiling, miR-146b-3p, MAP3K10