SUFU mediates EMT and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway activation promoted by miRNA-324-5p in human gastric cancer

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The poor prognosis of late gastric carcinomas (GC) underscores the necessity to identify novel biomarkers for earlier diagnosis and effective therapeutic targets. MiRNA-324-5p has been shown to be over-expressed in GC, however the biological function of miRNA-324-5p implicated in gastric cancer and its downstream targets were not well understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is aberrantly regulated in GC. We sought to explore if miRNA-324-5p promotes oncogenesis through modulating Wnt signaling and EMT. MiRNA-324-5p is highly expressed in GC based on qRT-PCR and TCGA data. In addition, in vitro cell proliferation, cell migration assays and in vivo animal exenograft were executed to show that miRNA-324-5p is an oncogenic miRNA in GC. MiRNA-324-5p activates Wnt signaling and induces EMT in GC. Further, SUFU was identified as a target of miRNA-324-5p confirmed by western blotting and luciferase assays. Spearson analysis and TCGA data indicate that the expression of SUFU is negatively associated with the expression of miRNA-324-5p. Rescue experiments were performed to determine if SUFU mediates the Wnt activation, EMT and oncogenic function of miRNA-324-5p. MiRNA-324-5p inhibitors plus SUFU siRNAs rescue partially the inhibitory effect on Wnt signaling and EMT caused by miRNA-324-5p inhibitors. Finally, the suppression of cell proliferation, migration, and colony formation ability induced by miRNA-324-5p inhibitors is alleviated by addition of SUFU siRNAs. In summary, miRNA-324-5p is overexpressed in vivo and exerts cell growth and migration-promoting effects through activating Wnt signaling and EMT by targeting SUFU in GC. It represents a potential miRNA with an oncogenic role in human gastric cancer.

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