RT-qPCR was used to validate the lower expression of miR-143 and miR-145 in a larger size of CA samples, and the expression of NRAS in CA samples was found to be significantly higher than self-controls as determined by western blotting assay. Luciferase assay was performed to confirm that miR-143 or miR-145 targeted NRAS directly. Transduction of LV-pre-miR-143 or LV-pre-miR-145 to human papilloma virus (HPV)-infected SiHa cells led to reduced proliferation, greater apoptosis and inhibition of expression of NRAS, PI3 K p110α and p-AKT. However, knockout of miR-143 or miR-145 in human epidermal keratinocytes by delivery of CRISPR/CAS9-gRNA for target miRNAs protected cells from apoptosis and upregulated expression of target genes as described above. MiR-143 and miR-145 sensitized cells to nutlin-3a, a p53 activator and MDM2 antagonist, while their loss protected cells from the stress of nutlin-3a. Furthermore, siRNA targeting NRAS showed similar effects on proliferation and apoptosis as miR-143 or miR-145.
Taken together, these results suggest that loss of miR-143 or miR-145 in CA protects HPV-infected cells from apoptosis induced by environmental stress, in addition to promoting cellular proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis by targeting NRAS/PI3 K/ATK. Restoration of miR-143 or miR-145 might provide an applicable and novel approach to block the recurrence and progression of CA.