SRF is a ubiquitous nuclear protein that regulates the activity SAHA HDAC supplier of many immediate-early genes.34 While our study was underway, SRF was confirmed by others to be a target of miR-122.35 Our western blot data support this finding (Supporting Fig. 7) even though we could not obtain a significant result in the reporter screen. CTCF is a highly conserved transcription factor implicated in diverse regulatory functions.30 Recent studies suggest that CTCF may be a heritable component of an epigenetic system regulating the interplay between
DNA methylation, higher-order chromatin structure, and lineage-specific gene expression.30 MAP3K3 and MAP3K12 are components of protein kinase signal transduction cascades that transduce extracellular signals into a wide range of cellular responses (including differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis) and could therefore be central regulators selleck kinase inhibitor of cell fate during development.31 Both of the transcription factors and the MAPK pathways regulate a large number of genes20, 30, 31, 34; therefore, miR-122 may modulate the global gene expression profile during liver development through these targets. The interesting question regarding the role of miR-122 in the adult
liver remained unanswered for many years. Due to the abundance of miR-122 in the liver, it is believed to play an important role in the maintenance of the adult liver phenotype. However, the mechanism is unclear. Our data show that miR-122 targets, such as CUTL1 and SRF, are transcriptionally active in the adult liver but their protein expression is almost silenced. Therefore, miR-122 may be needed to suppress those genes that are normally repressed but may be
essential in mature hepatocytes. Furthermore, maintenance of cell cycle arrest in terminally differentiated cells is important for tissue architecture and function.23 In the adult liver, the majority of hepatocytes rarely undergo proliferation; approximately anti-PD-1 antibody one mitotic hepatocyte can be identified per 20,000 hepatocytes throughout the liver acinus.26 Our data show that the restoration of miR-122 expression in HCC cells significantly limits cellular proliferation. Meanwhile, the correlation between the proliferation suppression and the miR-122 level is evident, suggesting that the high abundance of miR-122 may be responsible for limiting the cell cycle of mature hepatocytes. Great interest was aroused by the evidence that the deregulation of miRNAs correlates with various human cancers.36 miR-122 is particularly notable because it is highly expressed in normal liver but is frequently down-regulated in human HCC.15, 16 Several groups have shown that the down-regulation of miR-122 in HCC cells is correlated with tumorigenic properties (such as growth, antiapoptotic activity, migration, invasion clonogenic survival, replication potential, and tumor formation).16, 24, 29, 35, 37 Our findings suggest that the down-regulation of miR-122 is due to the aberrant expression of LETFs.