Overexpression of Hiwi Promotes Growth of Human Breast Cancer Cells

  • Wang, Da-Wei (Central Research Department, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University) ;
  • Wang, Zhao-Hui (Department of Neurology, the Affiliated Hospital of Beihua University) ;
  • Wang, Ling-Ling (Department of Neurology, the Affiliated Hospital of Beihua University) ;
  • Song, Yang (Central Research Department, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University) ;
  • Zhang, Gui-Zhen (Central Research Department, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University)
  • 발행 : 2014.10.11


The Piwi subfamily comprises two argonaute (Ago) family proteins, which are defined by the presence of PAZ and Piwi domains, with well known roles in RNA silencing. Hiwi, a human Piwi subfamily member, has been shown to play essential roles in stem cell self-renewal and gametogenesis. Recently, accumulating reports have indicated that abnormal hiwi expression is associated with poorer prognosis of multiple types of human cancers, including examples in the breast. However, little is known about details of the oncogenic role of hiwi in breast cancers. In present study, we confirmed overexpression of hiwi in breast cancer specimens and breast cancer cell lines at both mRNA and protein levels. Thus both RT-qPCR and Western blot data revealed significantly higher hiwi in intratumor than peritumor specimens, overexpression being associated with tumor size, lymph node metastasis and histological grade. Hiwi overexpression was also identified in breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, and gain-of-function and loss-of-function strategies were adopted to identify the role of hiwi in the MCF-7 cell growth. Results demonstrated that hiwi expression in MCF-7 cells was significantly up- or down-regulated by the two strategies. We next evaluated the influence of hiwi overexpression or knockdown on the growth of breast cancer cells. Both cell count and colony formation assays confirmed promoting roles of hiwi in MCF-7 cells, which could be inhibited by hiwi specific blockage by siRNAs. In summary, the present study confirmed overexpression of hiwi in breast cancer specimens and breast cancer cell lines, and provided e vidence of promotion by hiwi of cell growth. The results imply an oncogenic role of hiwi in breast cancers.


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