Up-regulation of miR-455-5p by the TGF-β–SMAD signalling axis promotes the proliferation of oral squamous cancer cells by targeting UBE2B

Chao Min Cheng, Shine Gwo Shiah, Chien Chang Huang, Jenn Ren Hsiao, Jang Yang Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in the tumourigenesis of various cancers by regulating their downstream targets. To identify the changes of miRNAs in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), we investigated the expression profiles of miRNAs in 40 pairs of OSCC specimens and their matched non-tumour epithelial tissues. Our data revealed higher miR-455-5p expression in the tumour tissues than in the normal tissues; the expression was also higher in oral cancer cell lines than in normal keratinocyte cell lines. MiR-455-5p knockdown reduced both the anchorage-independent growth and the proliferative ability of oral cancer cells, and these factors increased in miR-455-5p-overexpressing cells. Furthermore, by analysing the array data of patients with cancer and cell lines, we identified ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2B (UBE2B) as a target of miR-455-5p, and further validated this using 3′-untranslated region luciferase reporter assays and western blot analysis. We also demonstrated that UBE2B suppression rescued the impaired growth ability of miR-455-5p-knockdown cells. Furthermore, we observed that miR-455-5p expression was regulated, at least in part, by the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway through the binding of SMAD3 to specific promoter regions. Notably, miR-455-5p expression was associated with the nodal status, stage, and overall survival in our patients, suggesting that miR-455-5p is a potential marker for predicting the prognosis of patients with oral cancer. In conclusion, we reveal that miR-455-5p expression is regulated by the TGF-β-dependent pathway, which subsequently leads to UBE2B down-regulation and contributes to oral cancer tumourigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • microRNA
  • oral cancer
  • TGF-β
  • UBE2B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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