miR-9-5p Exerts a Dual Role in Cervical Cancer and Targets Transcription Factor TWIST1

Iris Babion, Annelieke Jaspers, Annina P van Splunter, Iris A E van der Hoorn, Saskia M Wilting, Renske D M Steenbergen

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Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (AC) represent the major cervical cancer histotypes. Both histotypes are caused by infection with high-risk HPV (hrHPV) and are associated with deregulated microRNA expression. Histotype-dependent expression has been observed for miR-9-5p, showing increased expression in SCC and low expression in AC. Here, we studied the regulation and functionality of miR-9-5p in cervical SCCs and ACs using cervical tissue samples and hrHPV-containing cell lines. Expression and methylation analysis of cervical tissues revealed that low levels of miR-9-5p in ACs are linked to methylation of its precursor genes, particularly miR-9-1. Stratification of tissue samples and hrHPV-containing cell lines suggested that miR-9-5p depends on both histotype and hrHPV type, with higher expression in SCCs and HPV16-positive cells. MiR-9-5p promoted cell viability and anchorage independence in cervical cancer cell lines SiHa (SCC, HPV16) and CaSki (metastasized SCC, HPV16), while it played a tumor suppressive role in HeLa (AC, HPV18). TWIST1, a transcription factor involved in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), was established as a novel miR-9-5p target. Our results show that miR-9-5p plays a dual role in cervical cancer in a histotype- and hrHPV type-dependent manner. MiR-9-5p mediated silencing of TWIST1 suggests two distinct mechanisms towards EMT in cervical cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2019

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