Gold nano-particles (AuNPs) carrying miR-326 targets PDK1/AKT/c-myc axis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Abnormal expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) contributes to tumour growth and invasion. MiR-326 expression often down-regulates in several kinds of cancer and low expression of miR-326 is linked with poor prognosis in cancer patients. In the present study, we aimed to explore the modulatory mechanism of miR-326 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-326 expression was significantly decreased in HCC cell lines and tissues. miR-326 decreased HCC cell growth by affecting cell-cycle progression and by promoting apoptosis. In addition, miR-326 inhibited HCC cell invasion by decreasing the EMT phenotype. We found that miR-326 functioned as a tumour suppressor by repressing its down-stream target PDK1. C-myc contributed to miR-326 down-regulation through binding at its promoter and inhibited its expression. Based on these results, we conducted a therapeutic experiment by using gold nano-particles (AuNPs) carrying miR-326. Restoration of miR-326 reduced tumour growth in vivo. Our findings suggest that miR-326 may be a candidate prognostic biomarker and a target for new therapies in HCC patients.