Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 381, Issue 1–2, pp 115–125 | Cite as

MicroRNA-21 promotes the proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in Eca109 via activating ERK1/2/MAPK pathway

  • Fengxia Liu
  • Shutao Zheng
  • Tao Liu
  • Qing Liu
  • Meng Liang
  • Xiuling Li
  • Ilyar Sheyhidin
  • Xiaomei Lu
  • Wenya Liu


The aim of this study was to investigate how miR-21 promotes proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). MTT, wound healing assay and cell cycle showed that proliferation and migration of ESCC cell line Eca109 cells were increased in miR-21 mimics group, and decreased in anti-miR-21 Oligonucleotide (AMO) group after transfection into Eca109 cells with miR-21 mimics, AMO and scramble sequence, respectively. Cell apoptosis assay indicated that cell apoptosis can be obviously inhibited by overexpression of miR-21 and promoted by downregulation of miR-21. Meanwhile, western-blot results showed that p-ERK1/2 expression was elevated in miR-21 mimics group, whereas decreased in AMO group. Furthermore, the ERK1/2, a key component of MAPK signaling pathway, was knocked down, and overexpressed successfully using shRNA-ERK1/2 and overexpressing plasmids containing full length cDNA of ERK1/2, respectively. It was observed that shRNA-ERK1/2 can significantly decreased the level of miR-21 expression, while overexpression of ERK1/2 can up-regulate expression of miR-21. As further confirmation, Eca109 cells were treated with gradient concentration of U0126, a kind of MEK inhibitor, and expression of miR-21 was subsequently examined. It was found that U0126 can significantly decreased endogenous expression of miR-21. In parallel, U0126 decreased cell proliferation, migration and increased the apoptosis in Eca109 cells, with the expression of miR-21 being reduced significantly in U0126 group as compared with control groups. Our findings indicated that miR-21 promoted the proliferation, migration and inhibited apoptosis of Eca109 cells through activating ERK1/2/MAPK pathway, and that targeting miR-21 could be a promising therapeutic strategy in ESCC.


ESCC MicroRNA-21 ERK1/2/MAPK Proliferation and apoptosis 



The project was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, General Program (No. 2012211A080).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11010_2013_1693_MOESM1_ESM.doc (35 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 the list of transfect ion sequences and primers sequences (DOC 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fengxia Liu
    • 1
  • Shutao Zheng
    • 1
  • Tao Liu
    • 1
  • Qing Liu
    • 1
  • Meng Liang
    • 1
  • Xiuling Li
    • 1
  • Ilyar Sheyhidin
    • 1
  • Xiaomei Lu
    • 1
  • Wenya Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Lab Breeding Base of Xinjiang Major Diseases ResearchFirst Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical UniversityUrumqiPeople’s Republic of China

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