Long noncoding RNA UPK1A-AS1 indicates poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma and promotes cell proliferation through interaction with EZH2
Background: Dysregulation of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) is responsible for cancer initiation and development, positioning lncRNAs as not only biomarkers but also promising therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. A growing number of lncRNAs have been reported in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but their functional and mechanistic roles remain unclear. Methods: Gene Set Enrichment Analysis was used to investigate the molecular mechanism of UPK1A antisense RNA 1 (UPK1A-AS1). Cell Counting
... ). Cell Counting Kit-8 assays, EdU assays, flow cytometry, western blotting, and xenograft assays were used to confirm the role of UPK1A-AS1 in the proliferation of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo . Bioinformatics analyses and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were performed to explore the interplay between UPK1A-AS1 and enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2). RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP), RNA pull-down assays, western blotting, and qRT-PCR were conducted to confirm the interaction between UPK1A-AS1 and EZH2. The interaction between UPK1A-AS1 and miR-138-5p was examined by luciferase reporter and RIP assays. Finally, the expression level and prognosis value of UPK1A-AS1 in HCC were analyzed using RNA sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas datasets. Results: We showed that UPK1A-AS1, a newly identified lncRNA, promoted cellular proliferation and tumor growth by accelerating cell cycle progression. Cell cycle-related genes, including CCND1, CDK2, CDK4, CCNB1, and CCNB2, were significantly upregulated in HCC cells overexpressing UPK1A-AS1. Furthermore, overexpression of UPK1A-AS1 could protect HCC cells from cis-platinum toxicity. Mechanistically, UPK1A-AS1 interacted with EZH2 to mediate its nuclear translocation and reinforce its binding to SUZ12, leading to increased H27K3 trimethylation. Targeting EZH2 with specific small interfering RNA impaired the UPK1A-AS1-mediated upregulation of proliferation and cell cycle progression-related genes. Moreover, miR-138-5p was identified as a direct target of UPK1A-AS1. Additionally, UPK1A-AS1 was significantly upregulated in HCC, and the upregulation of UPK1A-AS1 predicted poor prognosis for patients with HCC. Conclusions: Our study revealed that UPK1A-AS1 promotes HCC development by accelerating cell cycle progression through interaction with EZH2 and sponging of miR-138-5p, suggesting that UPK1A-AS1 possesses substantial potential as a novel biomarker for HCC prognosis and therapy.