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Circular RNAs regulate cancer stem cells by FMRP against CCAR1 complex in hepatocellular carcinoma

By Yan-Jing Zhu, Bo Zheng, Xu-Kai Ma, Xin-Yuan Lu, Xi-Meng Lin, Gui-Juan Luo, Shuai Yang, Qing Zhao, Xin Chen, Ying-Cheng Yang, Xiao-Long Liu, Rui Wu, Jing-Feng Liu, Yang Ge, Li Yang, Hong-Yang Wang, Lei Chen

Posted 20 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/396069 (published DOI: 10.7150/thno.32796)

Circular RNA (circRNA) possesses great pre-clinical diagnostic and therapeutic potentials in multiple cancers. However, the underlying correlation between circRNAs and cancer stem cells (CSCs) has not been reported. The absence of circZKSCAN1 endowed several malignant properties including cancer stemness and tightly correlated with worse overall and recurrence-free survival rate in HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Bioinformatics analysis and RNA immunoprecipitation-sequencing (RIP-seq) results revealed that circZKSCAN1 exerted its inhibitive role by competitively binding FMRP, therefore, block the binding between FMRP and β-catenin-binding protein-cell cycle and apoptosis regulator 1 (CCAR1) mRNA, and subsequently restraining the transcriptional activity of Wnt signaling. In addition, RNA-splicing protein Quaking 5 was found downregulated in HCC tissues and responsible for the reduction of circZKSCAN1. Collectively, this study revealed the mechanisms underlying the regulatory role of circZKSCAN1 in HCC CSCs and identified the newly discovered Qki5-circZKSCAN1-FMRP-CCAR1-Wnt signaling axis as a potentially important therapeutic target for HCC treatment.

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