CircCDKN2B-AS1 interacts with IMP3 to stabilize hexokinase 2 mRNA and facilitate cervical squamous cell carcinoma aerobic glycolysis progression
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research
Background Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been reported to play key roles in the development of various cancers. However, the biological functions and clinical significance of most circRNAs are still elusive. The purpose of this study was to explore the function and mechanism of a certain circRNA named circCDKN2B-AS1 in cervical cancer development and its potential value in the clinic. Methods qRT-PCR was used to verify the expression level of circCDKN2B-AS1. CCK-8, Transwell, and flow cytometry
... and flow cytometry (FCM) assays were performed to detect cellular proliferation, migration, and apoptosis, respectively. A Seahorse XFe96 Analyzer was used to measure glycolysis metabolism level. RNA pull-down, RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP), actinomycin-D addition assays and Western blotting were used to screen and elucidate the potential mechanisms involved. BALB/c nude mice and zebrafish embryos (AB, WT) were used as animal models to investigate tumorigenesis capability. 18FDG-microPET/CT imaging and lactic acid (LA) and pyruvic acid (PA) content detection assays were used to detect the level of glucose metabolism in subcutaneous tumors from nude mice. Results CircCDKN2B-AS1, a circular isoform of the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) CDKN2B-AS1, was upregulated in cervical cancer and precancerous tissues. We found that circCDKN2B-AS1 associated with the IMP3 protein depending on a specific binding site and regulated the stability of Hexokinase 2 (HK2) mRNA, the rate-limiting enzyme of the aerobic glycolysis pathway. The expression level of circCDKN2B-AS1 fated the binding of IMP3 to the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of HK2 mRNA, consequently affecting the malignant cell phenotype and aerobic glycolysis in cervical cancer in vitro and in vivo. Mutant circCDKN2B-AS1, lacking the IMP3 binding site, did not have such effects. Utilization of an inhibitory peptide to block the interaction between circCDKN2B-AS1 and the IMP3 protein impeded the binding of IMP3 to the 3'UTR of HK2 mRNA and suppressed aerobic glycolysis in cervical cancer cells. Conclusions Our findings demonstrate that circCDKN2B-AS1 facilitates aerobic glycolysis by sponging the IMP3 protein to stabilize HK2 mRNA, consequently promoting the malignant phenotype in cervical cancer, which may provide a potential approach for cervical cancer therapeutics.