CircEZH2/miR-133b/IGF2BP2 aggravates colorectal cancer progression via enhancing the stability of m6A-modified CREB1 mRNA

Mol Cancer. 2022 Jun 30;21(1):140. doi: 10.1186/s12943-022-01608-7.


Background: Aberrant expression of circular RNAs (circRNAs) contributes to the initiation and progression of human malignancies, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive.

Methods: High-throughput sequencing was performed to screen aberrantly expressed circRNAs or miRNAs in colorectal cancer (CRC) and adjacent normal tissues. A series of gain- and loss-of-function studies were conducted to evaluate the biological behaviors of CRC cells. RNA pulldown, mass spectrometry, RIP, qRT-PCR, Western blot, luciferase reporter assays and MeRIP-seq analysis were further applied to dissect the detailed mechanisms.

Results: Here, a novel circRNA named circEZH2 (hsa_circ_0006357) was screened out by RNA-seq in CRC tissues, whose expression is closely related to the clinicpathological characteristics and prognosis of CRC patients. Biologically, circEZH2 facilitates the proliferation and migration of CRC cells in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, circEZH2 interacts with m6A reader IGF2BP2 and blocks its ubiquitination-dependent degradation. Meanwhile, circEZH2 could serve as a sponge of miR-133b, resulting in the upregulation of IGF2BP2. Particularly, circEZH2/IGF2BP2 enhances the stability of CREB1 mRNA, thus aggravating CRC progression.

Conclusions: Our findings not only reveal the pivotal roles of circEZH2 in modulating CRC progression, but also advocate for attenuating circEZH2/miR-133b/IGF2BP2/ CREB1 regulatory axis to combat CRC.

Keywords: CREB1; CircEZH2; Colorectal cancer; IGF2BP2; miR-133b.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein* / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • RNA, Circular* / genetics
  • RNA, Circular* / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins* / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins* / metabolism


  • CREB1 protein, human
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • IGF2BP2 protein, human
  • MIRN133 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins