JOURNAL ARTICLE

Circular RNA hsa_circ_0008305 (circPTK2) inhibits TGF-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis by controlling TIF1γ in non-small cell lung cancer

Longqiang Wang, Xin Tong, Zhengyu Zhou, Shengjie Wang, Zhe Lei, Tianze Zhang, Zeyi Liu, Yuanyuan Zeng, Chang Li, Jun Zhao, Zhiyue Su, Cuijuan Zhang, Xia Liu, Guangquan Xu, Hong-Tao Zhang
Molecular Cancer 2018 September 27, 17 (1): 140
30261900

BACKGROUND: TGF-β promotes tumor invasion and metastasis through inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are recognized as functional non-coding RNAs involved in human cancers. However, whether and how circRNAs contribute to TGF-β-induced EMT and metastasis in NSCLC remain vague. Here, we investigated the regulation and function of Circular RNA hsa_circ_0008305 (circPTK2) in TGF-β-induced EMT and tumor metastasis, as well as a link between circPTK2 and transcriptional intermediary factor 1 γ (TIF1γ) in NSCLC.

METHODS: Circular RNAs were determined by human circRNA Array analysis, real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and northern blot. Luciferase reporter, RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation (RIP), RNA pull-down and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays were employed to test the interaction between circPTK2 and miR-429/miR-200b-3p. Ectopic overexpression and siRNA-mediated knockdown of circPTK2, TGF-β-induced EMT, Transwell migration and invasion in vitro, and in vivo experiment of metastasis were used to evaluate the function of circPTK2. Transcription and prognosis analyses were done in public databases.

RESULTS: CircPTK2 and TIF1γ were significantly down-regulated in NSCLC cells undergoing EMT induced by TGF-β. CircPTK2 overexpression augmented TIF1γ expression, inhibited TGF-β-induced EMT and NSCLC cell invasion, whereas circPTK2 knockdown had the opposite effects. CircPTK2 functions as a sponge of miR-429/miR-200b-3p, and miR-429/miR-200b-3p promote TGF-β-induced EMT and NSCLC cell invasion by targeting TIF1γ. CircPTK2 overexpression inhibited the invasion-promoting phenotype of endogenous miR-429/miR-200b-3p in NSCLC cells in response to TGF-β. CircPTK2 overexpression significantly decreased the expression of Snail, an important downstream transcriptional activator of TGF-β/Smad signaling. In an in vivo experiment of metastasis, circPTK2 overexpression suppressed NSCLC cell metastasis. Moreover, circPTK2 expression was dramatically down-regulated and positively correlated with TIF1γ expression in human NSCLC tissues. Especially, circPTK2 was significantly lower in metastatic NSCLC tissues than non-metastatic counterparts.

CONCLUSION: Our findings show that circPTK2 (hsa_circ_0008305) inhibits TGF-β-induced EMT and metastasis by controlling TIF1γ in NSCLC, revealing a novel mechanism by which circRNA regulates TGF-β-induced EMT and tumor metastasis, and suggesting that circPTK2 overexpression could provide a therapeutic strategy for advanced NSCLC.

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