miR-451a is underexpressed and targets AKT/mTOR pathway in papillary thyroid carcinoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC) is the most frequent thyroid cancer. Although several PTC-specific miRNA profiles have been reported, only few upregulated miRNAs are broadly recognized, while less consistent data are available about downregulated miRNAs. In this study we investigated miRNA deregulation in PTC by miRNA microarray, analysis of a public dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), literature review and meta-analysis based on a univocal miRNA identifier derived from miRBase v21. A list of 18 miRNAs differentially expressed between PTC and normal thyroid was identified and validated in the TCGA dataset. Furthermore, we compared our signature with miRNA profiles derived from 15 studies selected from literature. Then, to select possibly functionally relevant miRNA, we integrated our miRNA signature with those from two in vitro cell models based on the PTC-driving oncogene RET/PTC1. Through this strategy, we identified commonly deregulated miRNAs, including miR-451a, which emerged also by our meta-analysis as the most frequently reported downregulated miRNA. We showed that lower expression of miR-451a correlates with aggressive clinical-pathological features of PTC as tall cell variant, advanced stage and extrathyroid extension. In addition, we demonstrated that ectopic expression of miR-451a impairs proliferation and migration of two PTC-derived cell lines, reduces the protein levels of its recognized targets MIF, c-MYC and AKT1 and attenuates AKT/mTOR pathway activation. Overall, our study provide both an updated overview of miRNA deregulation in PTC and the first functional evidence that miR-451a exerts tumor suppressor functions in this neoplasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12731-12747
Number of pages17
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2016


  • AKT pathway
  • miR-451a
  • miRNA
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'miR-451a is underexpressed and targets AKT/mTOR pathway in papillary thyroid carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this