Aberrant expression of circular RNA (circRNA) is involved in the occurrence of various diseases and tumor development, in which plays a vital role, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nevertheless, the regulation mechanism and biological function of circITCH in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear. The expression level of circular RNA itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (circ-ITCH) was identified and validated by real-time polymerase-chain reaction (RT-qPCR) in HCC cell lines. The stability of circITCH was confirmed by Ribonuclease R (RNase R) assay. Subsequently, through silencing and overexpression of circITCH to investigate the functional roles of circITCH in HCC proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis. We also carried out bioinformatics analysis, luciferase reporter assays to define the relationship between microRNA (miR)-184 and circITCH. Moreover, xenograft mouse models and immunohistochemistry were employed to assess the function of circITCH in HCC. CircITCH (hsa_circ_0001141) was a stable circRNA and downregulated in HCC cells. Overexpression of circITCH inhibited cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and promoted apoptosis in vitro and in vivo, whereas knockdown of circITCH had the opposite effects. Mechanistically, miR-184 could be sponged by circITCH, and its overexpression could mitigate the suppressive effects of circITCH overexpression on HCC progression. Through biological website to predict the target genes of miR-184 may be combined. Gene ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis were performed to investigate mRNAs with significant functional enrichment and pathways, also which its relationship with HCC-related pathway and immune cells. Our findings reveal that circITCH served as a repressor to restrain HCC malignancy via miR-184. Therefore, circITCH may serve as a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target for HCC.Abbreviations: HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; CircRNA: Circular RNA; miRNA: MicroRNA; Circ-ITCH: circular RNA itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RT-qPCR: real-time polymerase-chain reaction; RNase R: Ribonuclease R; CeRNA: competing endogenous RNAs; SiRNA: small interfering RNA.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; circITCH; circRNA; circular RNA; miR-184.