Arsenic is a well-documented human carcinogen. The present study explored the role of the onco-miR, miR-21 and its target protein, programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) in arsenic induced malignant cell transformation and tumorigenesis. Our results showed that treatment of human bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells with arsenic induces ROS through p47phox, one of the NOX subunits that is the key source of arsenic-induced ROS. Arsenic exposure induced an upregulation of miR-21 expression associated with inhibition of PDCD4, and caused malignant cell transformation and tumorigenesis of BEAS-2B cells. Indispensably, STAT3 transcriptional activation by IL-6 is crucial for the arsenic induced miR-21 increase. Upregulated miR-21 levels and suppressed PDCD4 expression was also observed in xenograft tumors generated with chronic arsenic exposed BEAS-2B cells. Stable shut down of miR-21, p47phox or STAT3 and overexpression of PDCD4 or catalase in BEAS-2B cells markedly inhibited the arsenic induced malignant transformation and tumorigenesis. Similarly, silencing of miR-21 or STAT3 and forced expression of PDCD4 in arsenic transformed cells (AsT) also inhibited cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, arsenic suppressed the downstream protein E-cadherin expression and induced β-catenin/TCF-dependent transcription of uPAR and c-Myc. These results indicate that the ROS-STAT3-miR-21-PDCD4 signaling axis plays an important role in arsenic -induced carcinogenesis.
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This research was supported by National Institutes of Health (R01ES017244, R01ES025515) and Cell Sorting core facility of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (National Institutes of Health Grant P30CA177558).
Pratheeshkumar, Poyil; Son, Young-Ok; Divya, Sasidharan Padmaja; Wang, Lei; Zhang, Zhuo; and Shi, Xianglin, "Oncogenic Transformation of Human Lung Bronchial Epithelial Cells Induced by Arsenic Involves ROS-Dependent Activation of STAT3-miR-21-PDCD4 Mechanism" (2016). Center for Research on Environmental Disease Faculty Publications. 7.