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Integrin-β5, a miR-185-targeted gene, promotes hepatocellular carcinoma tumorigenesis by regulating β-catenin stability.

ABSTRACT

The tumour microenvironment is essential for cancer progress and metastasis. Integrin-β5 (ITGB5), a member of the integrin family, has been implicated to mediate the interactions of cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and promote tumorigenesis in several malignancies. However, the role of ITGB5 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still unknown.The biological function of ITGB5 in HCC was investigated using migration, colony formation assays. The potential molecular mechanism of ITGB5 in regulating HCC tumorigenesis and β-catenin stabilization was investigated by western blotting, co-immunoprecipitation and ubiquitination assays. The expression level of ITGB5 mediated by miR-185 was confirmed by bioinformatic analysis, luciferase assay. The clinical significance of ITGB5 was based on human tissue microarray (TMA) analysis.Here, we found that the expression of ITGB5 is increased in HCC tissues. Elevated ITGB5 markedly facilitates HCC cell migration and tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Further mechanistic studies revealed that ITGB5, as a partner of β-catenin, directly interacts with β-catenin and inhibits its degradation, thus leading to WNT/β-catenin activity. Subsequently, we also found that ITGB5 is a direct targeted gene of miR-185. The downregulation of miR-185 in HCC cells promotes an increase in ITGB5. An additional increase of ITGB5 is associated with β-catenin upregulation and a miR-185 decrease in HCC tissues.Our data reveal that the miR-185-ITGB5-β-catenin pathway plays an important role in HCC tumorigenesis, and ITGB5 may be a promising specific target for HCC therapy.