Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Gastric Neoplasms, Shanghai Institute of Digestive Surgery, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China
*These authors have contributed equally to this work and share first authorship.
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) small nucleolar RNA host gene 12 (SNHG12) plays important roles in the pathogenesis and progression of cancers. However, the role of SNHG12 in the metastasis of gastric cancer (GC) has not yet been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, we demonstrated that SNHG12 was upregulated in GC tissues and cell lines. In addition, the expression level of SNHG12 in GC samples was significantly related to tumor invasion depth, TNM stage and lymph node metastasis and was associated with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in GC patients. In vivo and in vitro assays indicated that SNHG12 promotes GC metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Bioinformatics and mechanistic analyses revealed that SNHG12 can directly target miR-218-5p to regulate YWHAZ mRNA, forming an SNHG12/miR-218-5p/YWHAZ axis and decreasing the ubiquitination of β-catenin. In addition, SNHG12 stabilizes CTNNB1 mRNA by binding with HuR, thus activating the β-catenin signaling pathway. Further analysis also revealed that the transcription factor YY1 negatively modulates SNHG12 transcription. In conclusion, SNHG12 is a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target for GC. Negatively modulated by YY1, SNHG12 promotes GC metastasis and EMT by regulating the miR-218-5p/YWHAZ axis and stabilizing CTNNB1 via activation of the β-catenin signaling pathway.
Keywords: gastric cancer, SNHG12, miR-218-5p, YWHAZ, metastasis