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Hepatitis B virus X protein related lncRNA WEE2-AS1 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma proliferation and invasion

Hu, Zhigang, Huang, Pinbo, Yan, Yongcong, Zhou, Zhenyu, Wang, Jie, Wu, Gang
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.1 pp. 79-86
Hepatitis B virus, apoptosis, cell cycle, enzymes, gene expression regulation, genes, hepatoma, messenger RNA, microarray technology, patients, prognosis, therapeutics, tissues
Hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) is involved in the initiation and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by regulating the host protein-coding genes. In this study, we showed that HBx altered the expression of lncRNAs to promote the progression of HCC. lncRNA microarray and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reactions (qRT-PCRs) were performed to identify lncRNAs that were differentially regulated by HBx in HCC cells and tissues. Protein, mRNA, and lncRNA expression analyses; cell cycle and apoptosis analyses; loss/gain-of-function analysis were performed to delineate the consequences of WEE2-AS1 upregulation in HCC cells. WEE2-AS1 over-expressed in HCC and was positively correlated to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, hepatic vascular invasion, poor tumor differentiation and poor patient prognosis. WEE2-AS1 also accelerated the proliferation, migration, invasion and cell cycle progression of HCC cells. Fermitin family member 3 (FERMT3) was a downstream target of WEE2-AS1. In conclusion, there is a preliminary HBx-WEE2-AS1- FERMT3 pathway which may serve as a therapeutic target for HBV-associated HCC.