miR-124 and miR-203 synergistically inactivate EMT pathway via coregulation of ZEB2 in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC).

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is one of the most aggressive urological malignancies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional gene regulators in tumor pathophysiology. As miRNAs exert cooperative repressive effects on target genes, studying the miRNA synergism is important to elucidate the regulation mechanism of miRNAs.

We first created a miRNA-mRNA association network based on sequence complementarity and co-expression patterns of miRNA-targets. The synergism between miRNAs was then defined based on their expressional coherence and the concordance between target genes. The miRNA and mRNA expression were detected in RCC cell lines (786-O) using quantitative RT-PCR. Potential miRNA-target interaction was identified by Dual-Luciferase Reporter assay. Cell proliferation and migration were assessed by CCK-8 and transwell assay.

A synergistic miRNA-miRNA interaction network of 28 miRNAs (52 miRNA pairs) with high coexpression level were constructed, among which miR-124 and miR-203 were identified as most tightly connected. ZEB2 expression is inversely correlated with miR-124 and miR-203 and verified as direct miRNA target. Cotransfection of miR-124 and miR-203 into 786-O cell lines effectively attenuated ZEB2 level and normalized renal cancer cell proliferation and migration. The inhibitory effects were abolished by ZEB2 knockdown. Furthermore, pathway analysis suggested that miR-124 and miR-203 participated in activation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway via regulation of ZEB2.

Our findings provided insights into the role of miRNA-miRNA collaboration as well as a novel therapeutic approach in ccRCC.

Journal of translational medicine. 2020 Feb 11*** epublish ***

Jiajia Chen, Yuqing Zhong, Liangzhi Li

School of Chemistry, Biology and Materials Engineering, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, No. 1 Kerui Road, Suzhou, 215011, China. ., School of Chemistry, Biology and Materials Engineering, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, No. 1 Kerui Road, Suzhou, 215011, China.