NSUN2 modified by SUMO-2/3 promotes gastric cancer progression and regulates mRNA m5C methylation

Cell Death Dis. 2021 Sep 9;12(9):842. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-04127-3.


The 5-methylcytosine (m5C) RNA methyltransferase NSUN2 is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and metastasis formation and is upregulated in multiple cancers. However, the biological significance of NSUN2 in gastric cancer (GC) and the modification of NSUN2 itself have not been fully investigated. Here, we analyzed the expression level of NSUN2 in tissue microarrays containing 403 GC tissues by immunohistochemistry. NSUN2 was upregulated in GC, and that it was a predictor of poor prognosis. NSUN2 promotes the proliferation, migration, and invasion of GC cells in vitro. We also demonstrated that small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-2/3 interacts directly with NSUN2 by stabilizing it and mediating its nuclear transport. This facilitates the carcinogenic activity of NSUN2. Furthermore, m5C bisulfite sequencing (Bis-seq) in NSUN2-deficient GC cells showed that m5C-methylated genes are involved in multiple cancer-related signaling pathways. PIK3R1 and PCYT1A may be the target genes that participate in GC progression. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism by which NSUN2 functions in GC progression. This may provide new treatment options for GC patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / chemistry
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Sumoylation
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • SUMO2 protein, human
  • SUMO3 protein, human
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins
  • Ubiquitins
  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Methyltransferases
  • NSUN2 protein, human