1. Institute of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University (Army Medical University), Chongqing, P. R. China
2. Institute of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery, Chongqing General Hospital, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing, P. R. China
3. Department of First Hepatobiliary Surgery, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P. R. China
4. Department of Clinical Nutrition, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University (Army Medical University), Chongqing, P. R. China
Background: Due to the limitations of strategies for its early diagnosis and treatment, pancreatic cancer (PC) remains a substantial human health threat. We previously discovered a methylation-mediated lncRNA, LINC00261, which is downregulated in PC tissues. However, the underlying role of LINC00261 in PC remains largely unknown.
Methods: Quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization were performed to evaluate the expression levels of LINC00261 in PC, adjacent nontumor and normal pancreas tissues. The clinical significance of LINC00261 was assessed in multicenter PC samples. The functions of LINC00261 in PC were investigated by gain- and loss-of-function assays in vitro and in vivo. Potential downstream pathways and mechanisms were explored via RNA sequencing and bioinformatic analyses. RNA immunoprecipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were used to validate the underlying mechanisms. Pyrosequencing and targeted demethylation of the LINC00261 promoter were performed to explore the upstream epigenetic mechanisms and therapeutic potential.
Results: LINC00261 was significantly downregulated in PC tissues, and its expression was positively associated with the prognosis of PC patients. Phenotypic studies indicated that LINC00261 overexpression significantly suppressed PC cell proliferation, migration and metastasis in vitro and in vivo. c-Myc was identified as a downstream target of LINC00261. LINC00261 repressed c-Myc transcription by physically interacting and binding with the bromo domain of p300/CBP, preventing the recruitment of p300/CBP to the promoter region of c-Myc and decreasing the H3K27Ac level. Moreover, the methylation level of the LINC00261 promoter was high in PC tissues and was correlated with poor prognosis. Targeted demethylation of the LINC00261 promoter inhibited PC progression both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that methylation-mediated LINC00261 suppresses PC progression by epigenetically repressing c-Myc expression. These findings expand the therapeutic potential of LINC00261, possibly providing evidence to support the development of epigenetic drugs or therapeutic strategies. This research adds further insights into the etiology of PC and indicates that LINC00261 may be a prognostic and therapeutic target in PC.
Keywords: LINC00261, c-Myc, Pancreatic cancer, p300/CBP, H3K27Ac