miR-17-5p Promotes migration of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells through the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase-heat shock protein 27 pathway


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


miR-17-5p is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the specific regulatory mechanisms of miR-17-5p in HCC remain unknown. We investigated the molecular basis of miR-17-5p as an oncogene in human HCC cell lines. Our in vivo and in vitro data indicate that miR-17-5p up-regulates the migration and proliferation of HCC cells. Interestingly, proteomic and western blotting assays revealed that miR-17-5p significantly activates the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase MAPK pathway and increases the phosphorylation of heat shock protein 27 (HSP27). Our results also suggest that E2F1-dependent down-regulation of Wip1 regulates miR-17-5p-p38-HSP27 signaling. Furthermore, suppression of HSP27 expression by small interfering RNA or the p38 MAPK pathway-specific inhibitor SB203580 decreases the migration of HCC cells overexpressing miR-17-5p but does not reduce their proliferation. Finally, we show that miR-17-5p expression correlates well with HSP27 status in primary human HCC tissues with metastasis. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the p38 MAPK pathway plays a crucial role in miR-17-5p-induced phosphorylation of HSP27 and, as a consequence, phosphorylated HSP27 enhances the migration of HCC cells. Our data highlight an important role of miR-17-5p in the proliferation and migration of HCC cells and support the potential application of miR-17-5p in HCC therapy. (Hepatology 2010;)