• Wang Y, Li J, Kuang D, Wang X, Zhu Y, Xu S, Chen Y, Cheng H, Zhao Q, Duan Y. (2018) miR-148b-3p functions as a tumor suppressor in GISTs by directly targeting KIT. Cell Communication and Signaling 16(1), 16.

Gain-of-function mutations and overexpression of KIT are characteristic features of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Dysregulation in miRNA expression may lead to KIT overexpression and tumorigenesis.

miRNA microarray analysis and real-time PCR were used to determine the miRNA expression profiles in a cohort of 69 clinical samples including 50 CD117IHC+/KITmutation GISTs and 19 CD117IHC−/wild-type GISTs. GO enrichment and KEGG pathway analyses were performed to reveal the predicted targets of the dysregulated miRNAs. Of the dysregulated miRNAs whose expression was inversely correlated with that of KIT miRNAs were predicted by bioinformatics analysis and confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. Cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) and flow cytometry were used to measure the cell proliferation, cycle arrest and apoptosis. Wound healing and transwell assays were used to evaluate migration and invasion. A xenograft BALB/c nude mouse model was applied to investigate the tumorigenesis in vivo. Western blot and qRT-PCR were used to investigate the protein and mRNA levels of KIT and its downstream effectors including ERK, AKT and STAT3.

Of the six miRNAs whose expression was inversely correlated with that of KIT, we found that miR-148b-3p was significantly downregulated in the CD117IHC+/KITmutation GIST cohort. This miRNA was subsequently found to inhibit proliferation, migration and invasion of GIST882 cells. Mechanistically, miR-148b-3p was shown to regulate KIT expression through directly binding to the 3’-UTR of the KIT mRNA. Restoration of miR-148b-3p expression in GIST882 cells led to reduced expression of KIT and the downstream effectors proteins ERK, AKT and STAT3. However, overexpression of KIT reversed the inhibitory effect of miR-148b-3p on cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Furthermore, we found that reduced miR-148b-3p expression correlated with poor overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in GIST patients.

miR-148b-3p functions as an important regulator of KIT expression and a potential prognostic biomarker for GISTs.

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