Background: Emerging studies show that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in carcinogenesis and cancer progression. The lncRNA ZEB1 antisense 1 (ZEB1-AS1) derives from the promoter region of ZEB1 and we still know little about its expressions, roles and mechanisms.
Methods: RACE was used to obtain the sequence of ZEB1-AS1. RNA interference was used to decrease ZEB1-AS1 expression. Adenovirus expression vector was used to increase ZEB1-AS1 expression. CHIP and RIP were used to detect the epigenetic mechanisms by which ZEB1-AS1 regulated ZEB1. CCK8 assay, wound healing assay and transwell assay were used to measure proliferation and migration of prostate cancer cells.
Results: In this study, in prostate cancer cells, we found that RNAi-mediated downregulation of ZEB1-AS1 induced significant ZEB1 inhibition while artificial overexpression of ZEB1-AS1 rescued ZEB1 expression, which means that ZEB1-AS1 promotes ZEB1 expression. Also, ZEB1-AS1 indirectly inhibited miR200c, the well-known target of ZEB1, and upregulated miR200c's target BMI1. Mechanistically, ZEB1-AS1 bound and recruited histone methyltransferase MLL1 to the promoter region of ZEB1, induced H3K4me3 modification therein, and activated ZEB1 transcription. Biologically, ZEB1-AS1 promoted proliferation and migration of prostate cancer cells.
Conclusions: Collectively, ZEB1-AS1 functions as an oncogene in prostate cancer via epigenetically activating ZEB1 and indirectly regulating downstream molecules of ZEB1.
Keywords: BMI1; Long non-coding RNA; Prostate cancer; ZEB1; ZEB1-AS1; miR200c.