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Cell Death Dis. 2017 Jul 13;8(7):e2924. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2017.311.

Linc-DYNC2H1-4 promotes EMT and CSC phenotypes by acting as a sponge of miR-145 in pancreatic cancer cells.

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School of Life Science and Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China.
Department of General Surgery, Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.


The acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and/or existence of a sub-population of cancer stem-like cells (CSC) are associated with malignant behavior and chemoresistance. To identify which factor could promote EMT and CSC formation and uncover the mechanistic role of such factor is important for novel and targeted therapies. In the present study, we found that the long intergenic non-coding RNA linc-DYNC2H1-4 was upregulated in pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC-3-Gem with acquired gemcitabine resistance. Knockdown of linc-DYNC2H1-4 decreased the invasive behavior of BxPC-3-Gem cells while ectopic expression of linc-DYNC2H1-4 promoted the acquisition of EMT and stemness of the parental sensitive cells. Linc-DYNC2H1-4 upregulated ZEB1, the EMT key player, which led to upregulation and downregulation of its targets vimentin and E-cadherin respectively, as well as enhanced the expressions of CSC makers Lin28, Nanog, Sox2 and Oct4. Linc-DYNC2H1-4 is mainly located in the cytosol. Mechanically, it could sponge miR-145 that targets ZEB1, Lin28, Nanog, Sox2, Oct4 to restore these EMT and CSC-associated genes expressions. We proved that MMP3, the nearby gene of linc-DYNC2H1-4 in the sense strand, was also a target of miR-145. Downregulation of MMP3 by miR-145 was reverted by linc-DYNC2H1-4, indicating that competing with miR-145 is one of the mechanisms for linc-DYNC2H1-4 to regulate MMP3. In summary, our results explore the important role of linc-DYNC2H1-4 in the acquisition of EMT and CSC, and the impact it has on gemcitabine resistance in pancreatic cancer cells.

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