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Shen L.,Institute of Toxicology | Shen L.,The Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology | Ling M.,Institute of Toxicology | Ling M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | And 15 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Objective: To establish the functions of miR-21 and the roles of two feedback regulation loops, miR-21-Spry1-ERK/NF-κB and miR-21-Pdcd4-JNK/c-Jun, in arsenite-transformed human embryo lung fibroblast (HELF) cells. Methods: For arsenite-transformed HELF cells, apoptosis, clonogenicity, and capacity for migration were determined by Hoechst staining, assessment of their capacity for anchorage-independent growth, and wound-healing, respectively, after blockage, with inhibitors or with siRNAs, of signal pathways for JNK/c-Jun or ERK/NF-κB. Decreases of miR-21 levels were determined with anti-miR-21, and the up-regulation of Pdcd4 and Spry1 was assessed in transfected cells; these cells were molecularly characterized by RT-PCR, qRT-PCR, Western blots, and immunofluorescence assays. Results: MiR-21 was highly expressed in arsenite-transformed HELF cells and normal HELF cells acutely treated with arsenite, an effect that was concomitant with activation of JNK/c-Jun and ERK/NF-κB and down-regulation of Pdcd4 and Spry1 protein levels. However, there were no significant changes in mRNA levels for Pdcd4 and Spry1, which suggested that miR-21 regulates the expressions of Pdcd4 and Spry1 through translational repression. In arsenite-transformed HELF cells, blockages of JNK/c-Jun or ERK/NF-κB with inhibitors or with siRNAs prevented the increases of miR-21and the decreases of the protein levels but not the mRNA levels of Pdcd4 and Spry1. Down-regulation of miR-21 and up-regulations of Pdcd44 or Spry1 blocked the arsenite-induced activations of JNK/c-Jun or ERK/NF-κB, indicating that knockdown of miR-21 inhibits feedback of ERK activation and JNK activation via increases of Pdcd4 and Spry1 protein levels, respectively. Moreover, in arsenite-transformed HELF cells, inhibition of miR-21 promoted cell apoptosis, inhibited clonogenicity, and reduced migration. Conclusion: The results indicate that miR-21 is both a target and a regulator of ERK/NF-κB and JNK/c-Jun and the feedback regulations of miR-21 and MAPKs via Pdcd4 and Spry1, respectively, are involved in arsenite-induced malignant transformation of HELF cells. © 2013 Shen et al.

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