Mature miR-17-5p and passenger miR-17-3p induce hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting PTEN, GalNT7 and vimentin in different signal pathways

Sze Wan Shan, Ling Fang, Tatiana Shatseva, Zina Jeyapalan Rutnam, Xiangling Yang, William W. Du, Wei Yang Lu, Jim W. Xuan, Zhaoqun Deng, Burton B. Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


To study the physiological role of a single microRNA (miRNA), we generated transgenic mice expressing the miRNA precursor miR-17 and found that the mature miR-17-5p and the passenger strand miR-17-3p were abundantly expressed. We showed that mature miR-17-5p and passenger strand miR-17-3p could synergistically induce the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. The mature miR-17-5p exerted this function by repressing the expression of PTEN. In contrast, the passenger strand miR-17-3p repressed expression of vimentin, an intermediate filament with the ability to modulate metabolism, and GalNT7, an enzyme that regulates metabolism of liver toxin galactosamine. Hepatocellular carcinoma cells, HepG2, transfected with miR-17 formed larger tumors with more blood vessels and less tumor cell death than mock-treated cells. Expression of miR-17 precursor modulated HepG2 proliferation, migration, survival, morphogenesis and colony formation and inhibited endothelial tube formation. Silencing of PTEN, vimentin or GalNT7 with their respective siRNAs enhanced proliferation and migration. Re-expressing these molecules reversed their roles in proliferation, migration and tumorigenesis. Further experiments indicated that these three molecules do not interact with each other, but appear to function in different signaling pathways. Our results demonstrated that a mature miRNA can function synergistically with its passenger strand leading to the same phenotype but by regulating different targets located in different signaling pathways. We anticipate that our assay will serve as a helpful model for studying miRNA regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1530
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Galnt7
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Microrna
  • Pten
  • Vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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