Expression of NUAK2 in gastric cancer tissue and its effects on the proliferation of gastric cancer cells

Exp Ther Med. 2017 Feb;13(2):676-680. doi: 10.3892/etm.2016.3983. Epub 2016 Dec 19.


The present study aimed to analyze the expression and effects of NUAK2 in gastric cancer and adjacent normal gastric tissues. The protein expression levels of NUAK2 were detected by western blot analysis. The effects of NUAK2 expression on the proliferation of gastric cancer cells was detected using an MTT and BrdU incorporation assay. Furthermore, the effects of NUAK2 on proliferation and cancer stem cell markers, both protein and microRNA (miRNA), were investigated by western blot analysis and miRNA microarrays, respectively. The results demonstrated that NUAK2 was able to significantly promote the proliferation of SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells. In addition, NUAK2 overexpression decreased the percentage of cells in the G1 phase and increased the percentage of cells in the S phase. Western blot analysis and miRNA microarrays revealed that overexpression of NUAK2 resulted in increased expression levels of proliferation markers, including c-myc, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, cyclin-dependent kinase 2, miRNA 21, and gastric cancer stem cell markers, including aldehyde dehydrogenase 1, CD44 and CD133. In conclusion, NUAK2 expression differed between the tumor and normal gastric tissues. NUAK2 was able to promote the proliferation of gastric cancer cells and regulate their cell cycle. Proliferation and cancer stem cell markers were upregulated by NUAK2 expression. Therefore, the results from the present study suggest that NUAK2 may be a promising target for gastric cancer therapy in the future.

Keywords: NUAK2; gastric cancer; microRNA; proliferation.