Background: Thyroid carcinoma (TC) is an increasingly common malignancy of endocrine organs, and its most frequently encountered histotype is papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Identifying new potential gene alterations is important for completely elucidating the mechanism of PTC initiation and progression. Thus, we performed whole transcriptome sequence analysis (RNA-seq) on 79 PTC tissue samples and paired adjacent nontumor tissue samples to study the molecular mechanism of TC tumorigenesis and progression further. The results of RNA-seq analysis showed that spectrin beta, nonerythrocytic 2 (SPTBN2), was markedly overexpressed in PTC tissues relative to that in the paired nontumor tissues. Additionally, the analysis results for 502 PTC samples and 58 nontumor thyroid samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset were consistent with our RNA-seq results. However, the molecular mechanisms and function of SPTBN2 in TC progression remain unknown.
Methods: We examined SPTBN2 gene expression in 48 papillary thyroid tumor tissues and paired adjacent normal thyroid tissues by using qRT-PCR. SPTBN2 expression in the TC cell lines was silenced by small interfering RNA. Then, the transfected TC cells were used to investigate the in vitro function of SPTBN2.
Result: The expression of SPTBN2 was significantly upregulated in our RNA-seq cohort, our local validated cohort, and TCGA RNA-seq cohort. The results of the in vitro experiment revealed that in TC cell lines, SPTBN2 downregulation considerably suppressed tumor cell proliferation, the cell cycle, migration, colony formation, and invasion and induced cell apoptosis. Furthermore, the protein levels of CCNE2, CDK2, CDK4, and Bcl-2 were downregulated, and those of P21, Bax, cleaved caspase-8, and cleaved caspase-3 had increased in transfected TC cells relative to in control TC cells.
Conclusion: The downregulation of SPTBN2 caused apoptosis and retarded G1/S cell cycle transition in TC cells. Thus, SPTBN2 may be a good candidate gene for TC diagnosis and therapy.
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