POU2F2-oriented network promotes human gastric cancer metastasis

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Abstract

Background and aims

Aberrant upregulation of POU2F2 expression has been discovered in metastatic gastric cancer (GC). However, the mechanisms underlying the aberrant upregulation and the potential functions of POU2F2 remain uncertain.

Design

The role and mechanism of POU2F2 in GC metastasis were investigated in gastric epithelial cells, GC cell lines and an experimental metastasis animal model by gain of function and loss of function. Upstream and downstream targets of POU2F2 were selected by bioinformatics and identified by luciferase reporter assay, electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation PCR. The influence of miR-218 on its putative target genes (POU2F2, ROBO1 and IKK-β) and GC metastasis was further explored via in vitro and in vivo approaches.

Results

Increased POU2F2 expression was detected in metastatic GC cell lines and patient samples. POU2F2 was induced by the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB and, in turn, regulated ROBO1 transcription, thus functionally contributing to GC metastasis. Finally, miR-218 was found to suppress GC metastasis by simultaneously mediating multiple molecules in the POU2F2-oriented network.

Conclusions

This study demonstrated that NF-κB and the SLIT2/ROBO1 interaction network with POU2F2 as the central part may exert critical effects on tumour metastasis. Blocking the activation of the POU2F2-oriented metastasis network using miR-218 precursors exemplified a promising approach that sheds light on new strategies for GC treatment.

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