PCBP1 regulates the transcription and alternative splicing of metastasis‑related genes and pathways in hepatocellular carcinoma

Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 2;11(1):23356. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02642-z.


PCBP1 is a multifunctional RNA-binding protein (RBP) expressed in most human cells and is involved in posttranscriptional gene regulation. PCBP1 regulates the alternative splicing, translation and RNA stability of many cancer-related genes and has been identified as a potential tumour suppressor gene. PCBP1 inhibits the invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, but there are few studies on the specific regulatory target and mechanism of RBPs in HCC, and it is unclear whether PCBP1 plays a role in tumour metastasis as a splicing factor. We analysed the regulation of gene expression by PCBP1 at the transcriptional level. We obtained and analysed PCBP1-knockdown RNA-seq data and eCLIP-seq data of PCBP1 in HepG2 cells and found that PCBP1 widely regulates the alternative splicing and expression of genes enriched in cancer-related pathways, including extracellular matrix, cell adhesion, small molecule metabolic process and apoptosis. We validated five regulated alternative splicing events affected by PCBP1 using RT-qPCR and found that there was a significant difference in the expression of APOC1 and SPHK1 between tumour and normal tissues. In this study, we provided convincing evidence that human PCBP1 profoundly regulates the splicing of genes associated with tumour metastasis. These findings provide new insight into potential markers or therapeutic targets for HCC treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • RNA Splicing Factors / genetics
  • RNA Splicing Factors / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • PCBP1 protein, human
  • RNA Splicing Factors
  • RNA-Binding Proteins