Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(9):1213-1221. doi:10.7150/ijbs.21502

Research Paper

Identification and Analysis of P53-Mediated Competing Endogenous RNA Network in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Yiming Zhang, Ran Kang, Wenrong Liu, Yalan Yang, Ruofan Ding, Qingqing Huang, Junhua Meng, Lili Xiong, Zhiyun Guo

School of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, Southwest Jiaotong University


Recent studies have indicated that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and mRNA function as competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) that compete to bind to shared microRNA (miRNA) recognition elements (MREs) to perform specific biological functions during tumorigenesis. The tumor suppressor p53 is a master regulator of cancer-related biological processes by acting as a transcription factor to regulate target genes including miRNA and lncRNA. However, the mechanism in human hepatocellular carcinoma and whether p53-mediated RNA targets could form ceRNA network remain unclear. Here, we identified a series of differential expressed miRNAs, lncRNA and mRNA which were potentially regulated by p53 using RNA sequencing in HepG2. Genomic characteristics comparative analysis showed significant differences between mRNAs and lncRNAs. By integrating experimentally confirmed Ago2 and p53 binding sites, we constructed a highly reliable p53-mediated ceRNA network using hypergeometric test. The KEGG pathway enrichment analysis showed that the ceRNA network highly enriched in the cancer or p53-associated signaling pathways. Finally, using betweenness centrality analysis, we identified five master miRNAs (hsa-miR-3620-5p, hsa-miR-3613-3p, hsa-miR-6881-3p, hsa-miR-6087 and hsa-miR-18a-3p) that regulated most of the target RNAs, suggesting these miRNAs play central roles in the whole p53-mediated ceRNAs network. Taken together, our results provide a new regulatory mechanism of p53 networks for future studies in cancer therapeutics.

Keywords: ceRNA network, p53, hepatocellular carcinoma, mRNA, lncRNA.

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How to cite this article:
Zhang Y, Kang R, Liu W, Yang Y, Ding R, Huang Q, Meng J, Xiong L, Guo Z. Identification and Analysis of P53-Mediated Competing Endogenous RNA Network in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(9):1213-1221. doi:10.7150/ijbs.21502. Available from