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Abstract

The pathological relevance and significance of microRNAs (miRNAs) in hepatocarcinogenesis have attracted much attention in recent years; however, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms through which miRNAs are involved in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we demonstrate that miR-30d is frequently up-regulated in HCC and that its expression is highly associated with the intrahepatic metastasis of HCC. Furthermore, the enhanced expression of miR-30d could promote HCC cell migration and invasion in vitro and intrahepatic and distal pulmonary metastasis in vivo, while silencing its expression resulted in a reduced migration and invasion. Galphai2 (GNAI2) was identified as the direct and functional target of miR-30d with integrated bioinformatics analysis and messenger RNA array assay. This regulation was further confirmed by luciferase reporter assays. In addition, our results, for the first time, showed that GNAI2 was frequently suppressed in HCC by way of quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical staining assays. The increase of the GNAI2 expression significantly inhibits, whereas knockdown of the GNAI2 expression remarkably enhances HCC cell migration and invasion, indicating that GNAI2 functions as a metastasis suppressor in HCC. The restoration of GNAI2 can inhibit miR-30d–induced HCC cell invasion and metastasis. Conclusion: The newly identified miR-30d/GNAI2 axis elucidates the molecular mechanism of HCC cell invasion and metastasis and represents a new potential therapeutic target for HCC treatment. (HEPATOLOGY 2010.)