Downregulated miR-98-5p promotes PDAC proliferation and metastasis by reversely regulating MAP4K4

Yue Fu, Xinchun Liu, Qiuyang Chen, Tongtai Liu, Cheng Lu, Jun Yu, Yi Miao, Jishu Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: The aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) has emerged as important hallmarks of cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the differences of miRNA expression remain unclear. Many studies have reported that miR-98-5p plays vital functions in the development and progression of multiple cancers. However, its role in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains unknown. Methods: The expression of miR-98-5p and its specific target gene were determined in human PDAC specimens and cell lines by miRNA qRT-PCR, qRT-PCR and western blot. The effects of miR-98-5p depletion or ectopic expression on PDAC proliferation, migration and invasion were evaluated in vitro using CCK-8 proliferation assays, colony formation assays, wound healing assays and transwell assays. Furthermore, the in vivo effects were investigated using the mouse subcutaneous xenotransplantation and pancreatic tail xenotransplantation models. Luciferase reporter assays were employed to identify interactions between miR-98-5p and its specific target gene. Results: MiR-98-5p expression was significantly lower in cancerous tissues and associated with tumor size, TNM stage, lymph node metastasis and survival. Notably, a series of gain- and loss-of-function assays elucidated that miR-98-5p suppressed PDAC cell proliferation, migration and invasion both in vitro and in vivo. Luciferase reporter assays, western blot and qRT-PCR revealed MAP4K4 to be a direct target of miR-98-5p. The effects of ectopic miR-98-5p were rescued by MAP4K4 overexpression. In contrast, the effects of miR-98-5p depletion were impaired by MAP4K4 knockdown. Furthermore, miR-98-5p suppressed the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway through downregulation of MAP4K4. In addition, the expression level of miR-98-5p was negatively correlated with MAP4K4 expression in PDAC tissues and cell lines. Conclusions: These results suggest that downregulation of miR-98-5p promotes tumor development by downregulation of MAP4K4 and inhibition of the downstream MAPK/ERK signaling, thus, highlighting the potential of miR-98-5p as a therapeutic target for PDAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Invasion
  • MAP4K4
  • MAPK/ERK signaling pathway
  • MiR-98-5p
  • Migration
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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