General Research Fund, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong
National Natural Science Foundation of China
ARTICLE ABSTRACTLong noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) play critical roles in the development of cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the mechanisms underlying their deregulation remain largely unexplored. In this study, we report that two lncRNAs frequently downregulated in HCC function as tumor suppressors and are epigenetically silenced by histone methyltransferase EZH2. lncRNAs TCAM1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1 were inhibited by EZH-mediated trimethylation of H3K27me3 at their promoters. Downregulation of TCAM1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1 was frequently observed in HCC tumors compared with adjacent normal tissues. Both lncRNAs inhibited cell growth, cell survival, and transformation in HCC cells in vitro as well as tumor formation in vivo. Using RNA pull-down and mass spectrometry, we demonstrated that TCAM1P-004 bound IGF2BP1 and HIST1H1C, whereas RP11-598D14.1 bound IGF2BP1 and STAU1. These lncRNA–protein interactions were critical in regulating p53, MAPK, and HIF1α pathways that promoted cell proliferation in HCC. Overexpression of EZH2 was critical in repressing TCAM1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1, and EZH2-TCAM1P-004/RP11-598D14.1–regulated pathways were prevalent in human HCC. Aberrant suppression of TCAM1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1 led to loss of their tumor-suppressive effects by disrupting the interaction with IGF2BP1, HIST1H1C, and STAU1, which in turn promoted HCC development and progression. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the role of TCAMP1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1 in suppressing tumor growth and suggest that EZH2 may serve as a therapeutic target in HCC.
EZH2-mediated loss of lncRNAs TCAM1P-004 and RP11-598D14.1 hinders the formation of tumor suppressor lncRNA–protein complexes and subsequently promotes HCC growth.