Backgrounds: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are essential factors that regulate tumor development and metastasis via diverse molecular mechanisms in a broad type of cancers. However, the pathological roles of lncRNAs in gallbladder carcinoma (GBC) remain largely unknown. Here we discovered a novel lncRNA termed lncRNA Highly expressed in GBC (lncRNA-HGBC) which was upregulated in GBC tissue and aimed to investigate its role and regulatory mechanism in the development and progression of GBC.
Methods: The expression level of lncRNA-HGBC in GBC tissue and different cell lines was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. The full length of lncRNA-HGBC was obtained by 5' and 3' rapid amplification of the cDNA ends (RACE). Cellular localization of lncRNA-HGBC was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays and subcellular fractionation assay. In vitro and in vivo assays were preformed to explore the biological effects of lncRNA-HGBC in GBC cells. RNA pull-down assay, mass spectrometry, and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assay were used to identify lncRNA-HGBC-interacting proteins. Dual luciferase reporter assays, AGO2-RIP, and MS2-RIP assays were performed to verify the interaction between lncRNA-HGBC and miR-502-3p.
Results: We found that lncRNA-HGBC was upregulated in GBC and its upregulation could predict poor survival. Overexpression or knockdown of lncRNA-HGBC in GBC cell lines resulted in increased or decreased, respectively, cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and in xenografted tumors. LncRNA-HGBC specifically bound to RNA binding protein Hu Antigen R (HuR) that in turn stabilized lncRNA-HGBC. LncRNA-HGBC functioned as a competitive endogenous RNA to bind to miR-502-3p that inhibits target gene SET. Overexpression, knockdown or mutation of lncRNA-HGBC altered the inhibitory effects of miR-502-3p on SET expression and downstream activation of AKT. Clinically, lncRNA-HGBC expression was negatively correlated with miR-502-3p, but positively correlated with SET and HuR in GBC tissue.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that lncRNA-HGBC promotes GBC metastasis via activation of the miR-502-3p-SET-AKT cascade, pointing to lncRNA-HGBC as a new prognostic predictor and a therapeutic target.
Keywords: Gallbladder cancer; HuR; SET; lncRNA-HGBC; miR-502-3p.