NOR1 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation and migration through modulating the Notch signaling pathway

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. Previous studies have reported that the oxidored-nitro domain containing protein 1 (NOR1) is a novel tumor suppressor in several tumors. Recent evidence suggests that NOR1 is strongly expressed in HCC cells. However, its role and mechanism in HCC are unclear. In the current study, Western blot and qPCR detected strong NOR1 mRNA and protein expression in HepG2 and Hep3B cells. After transfection with NOR1 siRNA or pcDNA3.1-myc-his-NOR1, the proliferation and migration of HepG2 and Hep3B cells were analyzed in vitro. HepG2 or Hep3B cells overexpressing NOR1 showed an increased proliferation and migration, whereas siRNA-mediated silencing of NOR1 showed the opposite effect. Furthermore, NOR1 activated the Notch signaling pathway, indicated by increased levels of Notch1, NICD, Hes1, and Hey1 in protein. Importantly, the Notch inhibitor DAPT downregulated Notch activation and further enhanced siNOR1-induced reduction of cell proliferation and migration in HepG2 and Hep3B cells, whereas DAPT reversed the effect of NOR1 overexpression on cell proliferation and migration. In conclusion, these results indicate that NOR1 may be involved in the progression of HCC and thus may be a potential target for the treatment of liver cancer.

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