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Role of a novel circRNA-CGNL1 in regulating pancreatic cancer progression via NUDT4-HDAC4-RUNX2-GAMT-mediated apoptosis.

Molecular Cancer 2024 January 32
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is an extremely malignant tumor with low survival rate. Effective biomarkers and therapeutic targets for PC are lacking. The roles of circular RNAs (circRNAs) in cancers have been explored in various studies, however more work is needed to understand the functional roles of specific circRNAs. In this study, we explore the specific role and mechanism of circ_0035435 (termed circCGNL1) in PC.

METHODS: qRT-PCR analysis was performed to detect circCGNL1 expression, indicating circCGNL1 had low expression in PC cells and tissues. The function of circCGNL1 in PC progression was examined both in vitro and in vivo. circCGNL1-interacting proteins were identified by performing RNA pulldown, co-immunoprecipitation, GST-pulldown, and dual-luciferase reporter assays.

RESULTS: Overexpressing circCGNL1 inhibited PC proliferation via promoting apoptosis. CircCGNL1 interacted with phosphatase nudix hydrolase 4 (NUDT4) to promote histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) dephosphorylation and subsequent HDAC4 nuclear translocation. Intranuclear HDAC4 mediated RUNX Family Transcription Factor 2 (RUNX2) deacetylation and thereby accelerating RUNX2 degradation. The transcription factor, RUNX2, inhibited guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT) expression. GAMT was further verified to induce PC cell apoptosis via AMPK-AKT-Bad signaling pathway.

CONCLUSIONS: We discovered that circCGNL1 can interact with NUDT4 to enhance NUDT4-dependent HDAC4 dephosphorylation, subsequently activating HDAC4-RUNX2-GAMT-mediated apoptosis to suppress PC cell growth. These findings suggest new therapeutic targets for PC.

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