MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have critical roles in lung tumorigenesis and development. To determine aberrantly expressed miRNAs involved in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and investigate pathophysiological functions and mechanisms, we firstly carried out small RNA deep sequencing in NSCLC cell lines (EPLC-32M1, A549 and 801D) and a human immortalized cell line 16HBE, we then studied miRNA function by cell proliferation and apoptosis. cDNA microarray, luciferase reporter assay and miRNA transfection were used to investigate interaction between the miRNA and target gene. miR-944 was significantly down-regulated in NSCLC and had many putative targets. Moreover, the forced expression of miR-944 significantly inhibited the proliferation of NSCLC cells in vitro. By integrating mRNA expression data and miR-944-target prediction, we disclosed that EPHA7 was a potential target of miR-944, which was further verified by luciferase reporter assay and microRNA transfection. Our data indicated that miR-944 targets EPHA7 in NSCLC and regulates NSCLC cell proliferation, which may offer a new mechanism underlying the development and progression of NSCLC.
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