The long non-coding RNA TUG1 indicates a poor prognosis for colorectal cancer and promotes metastasis by affecting epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Junfeng Sun, Chaohui Ding, Zhen Yang, Tao Liu, Xiefu Zhang, Chunlin Zhao, Jiaxiang Wang
Journal of Translational Medicine 2016 February 8, 14: 42

BACKGROUND: Long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that are involved in gene expression regulation. Taurine up-regulated gene 1 (TUG1) is a cancer progression related lncRNA in some tumor oncogenesis; however, its role in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains unclear. In this study, we determined the expression patterns of TUG1 in CRC patients and explored its effect on CRC cell metastasis using cultured representative CRC cell lines.

METHODS: The expression levels of TUG1 in 120 CRC patients and CRC cells were determined using quantitative real-time PCR. HDACs and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related gene expression were determined using western blot. CRC cell metastasis was assessed by colony formation, migration assay and invasion assay.

RESULTS: Our data showed that the levels of TUG1 were upregulated in both CRC cell lines and primary CRC clinical samples. TUG1 upregulation was closely correlated with the survival time of CRC patients. Overexpression of TUG1 in CRC cells increased their colony formation, migration, and invasion in vitro and promoted their metastatic potential in vivo, whereas knockdown of TUG1 inhibited the colony formation, migration, and invasion of CRC cells in vitro. It is also worth pointing out that TUG1 activated EMT-related gene expression.

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that tumor expression of lncRNA TUG1 plays a critical role in CRC metastasis. TUG1 may have potential roles as a biomarker and/or a therapeutic target in colorectal cancer.

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