1. Department of Urology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, School of Medicine in Tongji University, Shanghai 200072, China.
2. Department of Pathology, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200127, China.
3. Department of Urology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.
4. Department of Urology, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200127, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a new class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that are derived from exons or introns by special selective shearing. circRNAs have been shown to play critical roles in various human cancers. However, their roles in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown.
Methods: A novel circRNA-circPTCH1, was identified from a microarray analysis of five paired RCC tissues. Then, we validated its expression and characterization through qRT-PCR, gel electrophoresis, RNase R digestion assays and Sanger sequencing. Functional experiments were performed to determine the effect of circPTCH1 on RCC progression both in vitro and in vivo. The interactions between circPTCH1 and miR-485-5p were clarified by RNA pull-down, luciferase reporter and RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays.
Results: We observed that circPTCH1 was up-regulated in RCC cell lines and tumor samples, and higher levels of circPTCH1 were significantly correlated with worse patient survival, advanced Fuhrman grade and greater risk of metastases. Elevated circPTCH1 expression led to increased migration and invasion of RCC cells both in vitro and in vivo whereas silencing circPTCH1 decreased migration and invasion and impeded the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of RCC cells. Mechanistically, we elucidated that circPTCH1 could directly bind miR-485-5p and subsequently suppress expression of the target gene MMP14.
Conclusion: circPTCH1 promotes RCC metastasis via the miR-485-5p/MMP14 axis and activation of the EMT process. Targeting circPTCH1 may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for metastatic RCC.
Keywords: circPTCH1, miR-485-5p, MMP14, metastasis, renal cell carcinoma