RNA m6A demethylase FTO-mediated epigenetic up-regulation of LINC00022 promotes tumorigenesis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Yuanbo Cui, Chunyan Zhang, Shanshan Ma, Zhe Li, Wenjie Wang, Ya Li, Yingchao Ma, Jiarui Fang, Yaping Wang, Wei Cao, Fangxia Guan
2021 Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research  
Background Long non-coding RNA (LncRNA) controls cell proliferation and plays a significant role in the initiation and progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification now is recognized as a master driver of RNA function to maintain homeostasis in cancer cells. However, how m6A regulates LncRNA function and its role in tumorigenesis of ESCC remain unclear. Methods Multiple ESCC datasets were used to analyze gene expression in tumor tissues and
more » ... l tissues. Kaplan-Meier method and the ROC curve were conducted to evaluate the prognostic value and diagnostic value of LINC00022 in ESCC, respectively. Both gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments were employed to investigate the effects of LINC00022 on ESCC growth in vitro and in vivo. Bioinformatics analysis, colorimetric m6A assay, RIP, MeRIP and co-IP was performed to explore the epigenetic mechanism of LINC00022 up-regulation in ESCC. Results Here we report that m6A demethylation of LncRNA LINC00022 by fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) promotes tumor growth of ESCC in vivo. Clinically, we revealed that LINC00022 was up-regulated in primary ESCC samples and was predictive of poor clinical outcome for ESCC patients. Mechanistically, LINC00022 directly binds to p21 protein and promotes its ubiquitination-mediated degradation, thereby facilitating cell-cycle progression and proliferation. Further, the elevated FTO in ESCC decreased m6A methylation of LINC00022 transcript, leading to the inhibition of LINC00022 decay via the m6A reader YTHDF2. Over-expression of FTO was shown to drive LINC00022-dependent cell proliferation and tumor growth of ESCC. Conclusions Thus, this study demonstrated m6A-mediated epigenetic modification of LncRNA contributes to the tumorigenesis in ESCC and LINC00022, specific target of m6A, serves as a potential biomarker for this malignancy.
doi:10.1186/s13046-021-02096-1 pmid:34544449 fatcat:wfqchaz6vjcsrctgy4dtestdgu