Essential role of NADPH oxidase-dependent reactive oxygen species generation in regulating MicroRNA-21 expression and function in prostate cancer

Sarvesh Jajoo, Debashree Mukherjea, Tejbeer Kaur, Kelly E. Sheehan, Sandeep Sheth, Vikrant Borse, Leonard P. Rybak, Vickram Ramkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Aims: Oncogenic microRNAs (miRs) promote tumor growth and invasiveness. One of these, miR-21, contributes to carcinogenesis in prostate and other cancers. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that NADPH oxidase-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulate the expression and function of miR-21 and its target proteins, maspin and programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4), in prostate cancer cells. Results: The highly aggressive androgen receptor negative PC-3M-MM2 prostate cancer cells demonstrated high expression of miR-21 and p47phox (an essential subunit of NADPH oxidase). Using loss-of-function strategy, we showed that transfection of PC-3M-MM2 cells with anti-miR-21- and p47phox siRNA (si-p47phox) led to reduced expression of miR-21 with concurrent increase in maspin and PDCD4, and decreased the invasiveness of the cells. Tail-vein injections of anti-miR-21- and si-p47phox-transfected PC-3M-MM2 cells in severe combined immunodeficient mice reduced lung metastases. Clinical samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer expressed high levels of miR-21 and p47 phox, and low expression of maspin and PDCD4. Finally, ROS activated Akt in these cells, the inhibition of which reduced miR-21 expression. Innovation: The levels of NADPH oxidase-derived ROS are high in prostate cancer cells, which have been shown to be involved in their growth and migration. This study demonstrates that ROS produced by this pathway is essential for the expression and function of an onco-miR, miR-21, in androgen receptor-negative prostate cancer cells. Conclusion: These data demonstrate that miR-21 is an important target of ROS, which contributes to the highly invasive and metastatic phenotype of prostate cancer cells. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1863-1876.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1863-1876
Number of pages14
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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