Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the major causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel class of non-coding RNA, have been reported to be involved in the etiology of various malignancies. However, the underlying cellular mechanisms of circRNAs implicated in the pathogenesis of HCC remain unknown. In this study, we identified a functional RNA, hsa_circ_0000384 (circMRPS35), from public tumor databases using a set of computational analyses, and we further identified that circMRPS35 was highly expressed in 35 pairs of HCC from patients. Moreover, knockdown of the expression of circMRPS35 in Huh-7 and HCC-LM3 cells suppressed their proliferation, migration, invasion, clone formation, and cell cycle in vitro, and it suppressed tumor growth in vivo as well. Mechanically, circMRPS35 sponged microRNA-148a-3p (miR-148a), regulating the expression of Syntaxin 3 (STX3), which modulated the ubiquitination and degradation of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Unexpectedly, we detected a peptide encoded by circMRPS35 (circMRPS35-168aa), which was significantly induced by chemotherapeutic drugs and promoted cisplatin resistance in HCC. These results demonstrated that circMRPS35 might be a novel mediator in HCC progress, and they raise the potential of a new biomarker for HCC diagnosis and prognosis, as well as a novel therapeutic target for HCC patients.
Keywords: HCC; circMRPS35; circRNA; cisplatin resistance; proliferation; protein coding.
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