Research Papers:

Dysregulation of the BRCA1/long non-coding RNA NEAT1 signaling axis contributes to breast tumorigenesis

Pang-Kuo Lo, Yongshu Zhang, Benjamin Wolfson, Ramkishore Gernapudi, Yuan Yao, Nadire Duru and Qun Zhou _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:65067-65089. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11364

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Pang-Kuo Lo1, Yongshu Zhang1, Benjamin Wolfson1, Ramkishore Gernapudi1, Yuan Yao1, Nadire Duru1, Qun Zhou1

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Greenebaum Cancer Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Correspondence to:

Qun Zhou, email: qzhou@som.umaryland.edu

Keywords: BRCA1, NEAT1, miR-129, WNT4, breast cancer stem cells

Received: March 18, 2016     Accepted: August 10, 2016     Published: August 18, 2016


Dysregulation of long non-codng RNA (lncRNA) expression has been found to contribute to tumorigenesis. However, the roles of lncRNAs in BRCA1-related breast cancer remain largely unknown. In this study, we delineate the role of the novel BRCA1/lncRNA NEAT1 signaling axis in breast tumorigenesis. BRCA1 inhibits NEAT1 expression potentially through binding to its genomic binding site upstream of the NEAT1 gene. BRCA1 deficiency in human normal/cancerous breast cells and mouse mammary glands leads to NEAT1 overexpression. Our studies show that NEAT1 upregulation resulting from BRCA1 deficiency stimulates in vitro and in vivo breast tumorigenicity. We have further identified molecular mediators downstream of the BRCA1/NEAT1 axis. NEAT1 epigenetically silences miR-129-5p expression by promoting the DNA methylation of the CpG island in the miR-129 gene. Silencing of miR-129-5p expression by NEAT1 results in upregulation of WNT4 expression, a target of miR-129-5p, which leads to activation of oncogenic WNT signaling. Our functional studies indicate that this NEAT1/miR-129-5p/WNT4 axis contributes to the tumorigenic effects of BRCA1 deficiency. Finally our in silico expression correlation analysis suggests the existence of the BRCA1/NEAT1/miR-129-5p axis in breast cancer. Our findings, taken together, suggest that the dysregulation of the BRCA1/NEAT1/miR-129-5p/WNT4 signaling axis is involved in promoting breast tumorigenesis.

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