Long non-coding RNA CASC15 promotes melanoma progression by epigenetically regulating PDCD4

Cell Biosci. 2018 Jul 13;8:42. doi: 10.1186/s13578-018-0240-4. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Background: Long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) have been identified as critical regulators in a variety of cancer types. Cancer susceptibility candidate 15 (CASC15), a lncRNA located at chromosome 6p22.3, has been discovered to participate in melanoma progression and phenotype switching. Nevertheless, the roles and molecular mechanisms of CASC15 in melanoma are far from being understood.

Results: We found that CASC15 expression was up-regulated in melanoma tissues and associated with advanced pathological stages. Function experiments displayed that CASC15 knockdown hindered proliferation, facilitated apoptosis and suppressed invasion, while CASC15 overexpression facilitated proliferation and invasion in melanoma cells. Further mechanistic analysis showed that CASC15 epigenetically silenced the expression of programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) by recruiting EZH2 and increasing H3K27me3 level at the promoter region of PDCD4. Additionally, PDCD4 overexpression inhibited proliferation, enhanced apoptosis and decreased invasion of melanoma cells. Moreover, CASC15-knockdown-induced anti-cancer effects were abated by PDCD4 down-regulation. Furthermore, depletion of CASC15 blocked tumor growth of melanoma by up-regulating PDCD4 in vivo.

Conclusions: CASC15 acts as an oncogene by negatively regulating PDCD4 expression via recruiting EZH2 and subsequently increasing H3K27me3 level. Together, our study indicates that CASC15/EZH2/PDCD4 may serve as a promising therapeutic target for melanoma intervention.

Keywords: CASC15; EZH2; LncRNA; Melanoma; PDCD4.