AMD1 upregulates hepatocellular carcinoma cells stemness by FTO mediated mRNA demethylation

Clin Transl Med. 2021 Mar;11(3):e352. doi: 10.1002/ctm2.352.


Background: S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase proenzyme (AMD1) is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of spermine (SPM) and spermidine (SPD), which are associated with multifarious cellular processes. It is also found to be an oncogene in multiple cancers and a potential target for tumor therapy. Nevertheless, the role AMD1 plays in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still unknown.

Methods: HCC samples were applied to detect AMD1 expression and evaluate its associations with clinicopathological features and prognosis. Subcutaneous and orthotopic tumor mouse models were constructed to analyze the proliferation and metastasis of HCC cells after AMD1 knockdown or overexpression. Drug sensitive and tumor sphere assay were performed to investigate the effect of AMD1 on HCC cells stemness. Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR), western blot, immunohistochemical (IHC) and m6A-RNA immunoprecipitation (Me-RIP) sequencing/qPCR were applied to explore the potential mechanisms of AMD1 in HCC. Furthermore, immunofluorescence, co-IP (Co-IP) assays, and mass spectrometric (MS) analyses were performed to verify the proteins interacting with AMD1.

Results: AMD1 was enriched in human HCC tissues and suggested a poor prognosis. High AMD1 level could promote SRY-box transcription factor 2 (SOX2), Kruppel like factor 4 (KLF4), and NANOG expression of HCC cells through obesity-associated protein (FTO)-mediated mRNA demethylation. Mechanistically, high AMD1 expression increased the levels of SPD in HCC cells, which could modify the scaffold protein, Ras GTPase-activating-like protein 1 (IQGAP1) and enhance the interaction between IQGAP1 and FTO. This interaction could enhance the phosphorylation and decrease the ubiquitination of FTO.

Conclusions: AMD1 could stabilize the interaction of IQGAP1 with FTO, which then promotes FTO expression and increases HCC stemness. AMD1 shows prospects as a prognostic predictor and a therapeutic target for HCC.

Keywords: AMD1; FTO; IQGAP1; N6-methyladenosine; hepatocellular carcinoma; polyamination; stemness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase / genetics*
  • Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO / genetics*
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Demethylation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • FTO protein, mouse
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase
  • Amd1 protein, mouse