Background: Remarkable deregulation of several microRNAs (miRNAs) is demonstrated in cutaneous melanoma. hsa-miR-193a-3p is reported to be under-expressed in tissues and in plasma of melanoma patients, but the role of both miR-193a arms in melanoma is not known yet. Methods: After observing the reduced levels of miR-193a arms in plasma exosomes of melanoma patients, the effects of hsa-miR-193a-3p and –5p transfection in cutaneous melanoma cell lines are investigated. Results: In melanoma cell lines A375, 501Mel, and MeWo, the ectopic over-expression of miR-193a arms significantly reduced cell viability as well as the expression of genes involved in proliferation (ERBB2, KRAS, PIK3R3, and MTOR) and apoptosis (MCL1 and NUSAP1). These functional features were accompanied by a significant downregulation of Akt and Erk pathways and a strong increase in the apoptotic process. Since in silico databases revealed TROY, an orphan member of the tumor necrosis receptor family, as a potential direct target of miR-193a-5p, this possibility was investigated using the luciferase assay and excluded by our results. Conclusions: Our results underline a relevant role of miR-193a, both-3p and-5p, as tumor suppressors clarifying the intracellular mechanisms involved and suggesting that their ectopic over-expression could represent a novel treatment for cutaneous melanoma patients.
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