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Long non-coding RNA ZEB1-AS1 promotes cell invasion and epithelial to mesenchymal transition through inducing ZEB1 expression in cervical cancer

Authors Cheng RJ, Li N, Yang SY, Liu L, Han SY

Received 12 July 2018

Accepted for publication 13 September 2018

Published 18 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 7245—7253


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Leo Jen-Liang Su

Rongjie Cheng,1,* Nan Li,2,* Shuyan Yang,1 Lei Liu,1 Shiyu Han1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pathology, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in cancer initiation and development. The purpose of the present study was to determine the functions and mechanisms of lncRNA ZEB1-AS1 in human cervical cancer (CC).
Methods: A total of 106 pairs of CC tissues and adjacent normal epithelial tissues were collected from CC patients who underwent resection. Three human CC cell lines (HeLa, C33A and SiHa) and a normal cervical cell line Crl-2614 and were transfected with human ZEB1-AS1 cDNA, or empty vector as the control. Then, cells were transfected with ZEB1-AS1-specific small interfering RNA (si-ZEB1-AS1), ZEB1-specific siRNA (si-ZEB1) or negative siRNA control (si-NC). The transfection efficiency was confirmed by RT-qPCR analysis. qPCR was applied to determine the qualification of RNA. Cell proliferation was investigated by MTT assay. The apoptosis rate of cells was detected by flow cytometer. Cell invasion was detected by transwell assay. Western blot was applied to determine the expression of proteins. CC xenografts in 12 male BALB/c athymic nude mice were established. And the tumor volumes were measured by vernier caliper.
Results: We found that ZEB1-AS1 expression was remarkably increased in human CC tissue samples and cell lines, and its expression levels were closely associated with poor prognosis of CC patients. Moreover, we found that knockdown of ZEB1-AS1 inhibited the proliferation, migration, invasion and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of CC cells in vitro and suppressed CC xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, we found that knockdown of ZEB1-AS1 significantly inhibited ZEB1 expression, and knockdown of ZEB1 could rescue the effects of ZEB1-AS1 overexpression in CC cells.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our findings indicated that ZEB1-AS1 serves an oncogenic role in CC, which might become a potential prognostic indicator and therapeutic target in CC.

Keywords: cervical cancer, long non-coding RNA, ZEB1-AS1, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, ZEB1

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