Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 6 (LPAR6) is a G protein-coupled receptor that plays critical roles in cellular morphology and hair growth. Although LPAR6 overexpression is also critical for cancer cell proliferation, its role in liver cancer tumorigenesis and the underlying mechanism are poorly understood. Here, using liver cancer and matched paracancerous tissues, as well as functional assays including cell proliferation, quantitative real-time PCR, RNA-Seq, and ChIP assays, we report that LPAR6 expression is controlled by a mechanism whereby hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) suppresses liver cancer growth. We show that high LPAR6 expression promotes cell proliferation in liver cancer. More importantly, we find that LPAR6 is transcriptionally down-regulated by HGF treatment and that its transcriptional suppression depends on nuclear receptor coactivator 3 (NCOA3). We note that enrichment of NCOA3, which has histone acetyltransferase activity, is associated with histone 3 Lys-27 acetylation (H3K27ac) at the LPAR6 locus in response to HGF treatment, indicating that NCOA3 transcriptionally regulates LPAR6 through the HGF signaling cascade. Moreover, depletion of either LPAR6 or NCOA3 significantly inhibited tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo (in mouse tumor xenograft assays), similar to the effect of the HGF treatment. Collectively, our findings indicate an epigenetic link between LPAR6 and HGF signaling in liver cancer cells, and suggest that LPAR6 can serve as a biomarker and new strategy for therapeutic interventions for managing liver cancer.
Keywords: G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR); cell signaling; epigenetics; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF); histone acetyltransferase; lysophosphatidic acid receptor 6 (LPAR6); nuclear receptor coactivator 3 (NCOA3); transcription.
© 2020 Zheng et al.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article
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