DCC netrin 1 receptor (DCC) affects the structure and function of the dopamine circuitry, which in turn affects the susceptibility to developing addiction. In a previous study, we found that single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12607853 in the 3′ untranslated region (3′-UTR) of DCC was significantly associated with heroin addiction. In the current study, we first used bioinformatics prediction to identify the DCC rs12607853 C allele as a potential hsa-miR-422a and hsa-miR-378c target site. We then used vector construction and dual-luciferase reporter assays to investigate the targeting relationship of DCC rs12607853 with hsa-miR-422a and hsa-miR-378c. The dual-luciferase reporter gene assay confirmed that the C allele of rs12607853 in combination with hsa-miR-422a led to repressed dual-luciferase gene expression. Moreover, gene expression assays disclosed that hsa-miR-422a inhibited DCC expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. We also found that morphine inhibited the expression of hsa-miR-422a but increased the expression of DCC mRNA, and this change in the expression of hsa-miR-422a could not be reversed by naloxone, which suggested that the role of DCC in opioid addiction might be regulated by hsa-miR-422a. In summary, this study improves our understanding of the role of hsa-miR-422a and identifies the genetic basis of rs12607853, which might contribute to the discovery of new biomarkers or therapeutic targets for opioid addiction.© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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