J Cancer 2019; 10(21):5139-5152. doi:10.7150/jca.30816

Research Paper

An NF90/long noncoding RNA-LET/miR-548k feedback amplification loop controls esophageal squamous cell carcinoma progression

Jianqing Lin, Zhiyao Chen, Shanhu Wu, Wenbo Huang, Feng Chen, Zhijun Huang

Department of Surgical Oncology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Quanzhou 362000, Fujian, China
Jianqing Lin and Zhiyao Chen are co-first authors.

Abstract

In our previous study we have found that miR-548k has oncogenic roles in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) via repressing long noncoding RNA (lncRNA)-LET and further upregulating nuclear factor 90 (NF90). However, the upstream factors controlling miR-548k expression are still unknown. In this study, we found NF90 directly binds pri-miR-548k, increases the stability of pri-miR-548k, and upregulates the expression of pri-miR-548k and miR-548k. Therefore, NF90, miR-548k and lncRNA-LET forms a feedback loop. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function assays demonstrated that in accordance with the roles of miR-548k, NF90 also promotes ESCC cell proliferation and migration. Furthermore, we verified the regulatory feedback loop between NF90, miR-548k, and lncRNA-LET. We found NF90 upregulated miR-548k and downregulated lncRNA-LET. miR-548k downregulated lncRNA-LET and upregulated NF90. lncRNA-LET downregulated NF90 and miR-548k. Through the reciprocal regulations between each other, the NF90/miR-548k/lncRNA-LET feedback loop controls the expressions of NF90 targets (HIF-1α and VEGF), miR-548k targets (KLF10 and EGFR), and lncRNA-LET target (p53). Further functional assays demonstrated that activation of the NF90/miR-548k/lncRNA-LET feedback loop via simultaneously overexpressing NF90 and miR-548k and simultaneously depleting lncRNA-LET significantly promotes ESCC cell proliferation and migration in vitro and ESCC tumor growth in vivo. Targeting the NF90/miR-548k/lncRNA-LET feedback loop via simultaneously depleting NF90 and miR-548k and simultaneously overexpressing lncRNA-LET significantly inhibits ESCC cell proliferation and migration in vitro and ESCC tumor growth in vivo. In summary, our findings identified a crucial oncogenic NF90/lncRNA-LET/miR-548k feedback amplification loop, which may be promising therapeutic targets for ESCC.

Keywords: esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, NF90, miR-548k, long noncoding RNA, feedback loop

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How to cite this article:
Lin J, Chen Z, Wu S, Huang W, Chen F, Huang Z. An NF90/long noncoding RNA-LET/miR-548k feedback amplification loop controls esophageal squamous cell carcinoma progression. J Cancer 2019; 10(21):5139-5152. doi:10.7150/jca.30816. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v10p5139.htm