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