RNA-binding protein LIN28B inhibits apoptosis through regulation of the AKT2/FOXO3A/BIM axis in ovarian cancer cells

Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2018 Aug 31;3:23. doi: 10.1038/s41392-018-0026-5. eCollection 2018.


LIN28B is an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates mRNA translation and miRNA let-7 maturation in embryonic stem cells and developing tissues. Increasing evidence demonstrates that LIN28B is activated in cancer and serves as a critical oncogene. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of LIN28B function in tumorigenesis are still largely unknown. Here we report that LIN28B was expressed in over half of the patients with epithelial ovarian cancer who were examined (n = 584). Functional experiments demonstrated that LIN28B inhibited ovarian cancer cell apoptosis. Furthermore, we showed that the proapoptotic factor BIM played an essential role in the antiapoptotic function of LIN28B. RNA-IP microarray analysis suggested that LIN28B binds to mRNAs that are associated with the DNA damage pathway, such as AKT2, in ovarian cancer cells. By binding to AKT2 mRNA and enhancing its protein expression, LIN28B regulated FOXO3A protein phosphorylation and decreased the transcriptional level of BIM, which antagonized the antiapoptosis activity of LIN28B. Taken together, these results mechanistically linked LIN28B and the AKT2/FOXO3A/BIM axis to the apoptosis pathway. The findings may have important implications in the diagnosis and therapeutics of ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural