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lncRNA HULC promotes the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma cells via stabilizing COX-2 protein

Xiong, Haojun, Li, Bo, He, Jintao, Zeng, Yijun, Zhang, Yan, He, Fengtian
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2017
carcinogenesis, hepatoma, neoplasm cells
Highly upregulated in liver cancer (HULC), a lncRNA overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), has been demonstrated to be involved in the carcinogenesis and progression of HCC. However, the mechanisms of HULC promoting the abnormal growth of HCC cells are still not well elucidated. In the present study, we for the first time demonstrated that HULC promoted the growth of HCC cells through elevating COX-2 protein. Moreover, the study of the corresponding mechanism by which HULC upregulated COX-2 showed that HULC enhanced the level of ubiquitin-specific peptidase 22 (USP22), which decreased ubiquitin-mediated degradation of COX-2 protein by removing the conjugated polyubiquitin chains from COX-2 and finally stabilized COX2 protein. In addition, knockdown of USP22 or COX-2 attenuated HULC-mediated abnormal growth of HCC cells. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that “USP22/COX-2” axis played an important role in HULC promoting growth of HCC cells. The identification of this novel pathway may pave a road for developing new potential anti-HCC strategies.