Theranostics 2019; 9(2):449-465. doi:10.7150/thno.29055

Research Paper

MiR-454-3p-Mediated Wnt/β-catenin Signaling Antagonists Suppression Promotes Breast Cancer Metastasis

Liangliang Ren1*, Han Chen1*, Junwei Song1,2 *, Xuhong Chen1*, Chun Lin1, Xiaolan Zhang1, Ning Hou3, Jinyuan Pan1, Zhongqiu Zhou1, Lan Wang4, Danping Huang5, Jianan Yang1,6, Yingying Liang1,7, Jun Li1, Hongbiao Huang1, Lili Jiang1✉

1. Affiliated Cancer Hospital & Institute of Guangzhou Medical University; Key Laboratory of Protein Modification and Degradation; State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 511436, China;
2. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Genome Stability and Human Disease Prevention, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Health Science Center, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, 518060, China;
3. Key Laboratory of Molecular Target & Clinical Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences & the Fifth Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 511436, China;
4. Department of Pathogen Biology and Immunology, School of Basic Courses, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou, 510006, China;
5. Department of Ultrasonography, Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510623, China;
6. Department of Urologic Oncosurgery, Affiliated Cancer Hospital & Institute of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510095, China;
7. Department of Radiation Oncology, Affiliated Cancer Hospital & Institute of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510095, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.


The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is constitutively active and promotes multiple tumor processes, including breast cancer metastasis. However, the underlying mechanism by which the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is constitutively activated in breast cancer metastasis remains unclear. Inhibition of Wnt antagonists is important for Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation, and post-transcriptional regulation of these antagonists by microRNAs (miRNAs) might be a possible mechanism underlying signaling activation. Regulation of nuclear pre-mRNA domain-containing 1A (RPRD1A) is a known inhibitor of cell growth and Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity, but the function and regulatory mechanism of RPRD1A in breast cancer have not been clarified. The aim of this study was to understand how regulators of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway may play a role in the metastasis of this cancer.

Methods: RPRD1A expression and its association with multiple clinicopathological characteristics was analyzed immunohistochemically in human breast cancer specimens. miR-454-3p expression was analyzed using real-time PCR. RPRD1A or miR-454-3p knockdown and overexpression were used to determine the underlying mechanism of their functions in breast cancer cells. Xenografted tumor model, 3D invasive culture, cell migration and invasion assays and sphere formation assay were used to determine the biofunction of RPRD1A and miR-454-3p in breast cancer. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), luciferase reporter assay, and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) were performed to study the regulation and underlying mechanisms of RPRD1A and miR-454-3p expression and their correlation with the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in breast cancer.

Results: The Wnt/β-catenin signaling antagonist RPRD1A was downregulated and its upstream regulator miR-454-3p was amplified and overexpressed in metastatic breast cancer, and both were correlated with overall and relapse-free survival in breast cancer patients. The suppression by miR-454-3p on RPRD1A was found to activate Wnt/β-catenin signaling, thereby promoting metastasis. Simultaneously, three other negative regulators of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, namely, AXIN2, dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor (DKK) 3 and secreted frizzled related protein (SFRP) 1, were also found to be targets of miR-454-3p and were involved in the signaling activation. miR-454-3p was found to be involved in early metastatic processes and to promote the stemness of breast cancer cells and early relapse under both in vitro and in vivo conditions.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that miR-454-3p-mediated suppression of Wnt/β-catenin antagonist RPRD1A, as well as AXIN2, DKK3 and SFRP1, sustains the constitutive activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling; thus, miR-454-3p and RPRD1A might be potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets for breast cancer metastasis.

Keywords: miR-454-3p, RPRD1A, Wnt/β-catenin signaling, breast cancer, metastasis

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Ren L, Chen H, Song J, Chen X, Lin C, Zhang X, Hou N, Pan J, Zhou Z, Wang L, Huang D, Yang J, Liang Y, Li J, Huang H, Jiang L. MiR-454-3p-Mediated Wnt/β-catenin Signaling Antagonists Suppression Promotes Breast Cancer Metastasis. Theranostics 2019; 9(2):449-465. doi:10.7150/thno.29055. Available from