Research Papers:

Identification and characterization of RASSF1C piRNA target genes in lung cancer cells

Mark E. Reeves, Mathew Firek, Abdullaati Jliedi and Yousef G. Amaar _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:34268-34282. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15965

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Mark E Reeves1,2, Mathew Firek1, Abdullaati Jliedi1, Yousef G Amaar1

1Surgical Oncology Laboratory, Loma Linda VA Medical Center, Loma Linda, California, USA

2Loma Linda University Cancer Center, Loma Linda, California, USA

Correspondence to:

Yousef G Amaar, email: [email protected]

Keywords: lung cancer, RASSF1C, PIWIL1, piRNAs, cell proliferation

Received: November 25, 2015     Accepted: February 20, 2017     Published: March 07, 2017


RASSF1C up-regulates important genes involved in lung cancer cell growth, including a stem cell self-renewal gene, piwil1. In this article, we report the identification of small noncoding PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in lung cancer cells over-expressing RASSF1C. A piRNA microarray screen was performed using RNA isolated from the lung cancer cell line H1299 stably over-expressing RASSF1C and corresponding control. The piRNA microarray screen identified several piRNAs that are regulated by RASSF1C and we have validated the expression of two up-regulated piRNAs (piR-34871 and piR-52200) and two down-regulated piRNAs (piR-35127 and piR-46545) in lung cancer cells with silenced and over-expressed RASSF1C using RT-PCR. We also assessed the expression of these four piRNAs in lung tumor and matched normal tissues (n = 12). We found that piR-34871 and piR-52200 were up-regulated in 58% and 50%, respectively; while piR-35127 and piR-46545 were down-regulated in 50% in lung tumor tissues tested. The expression of piR-35127 was inversely correlated with RASSF1C expression in 10/12 tumor tissues. Over-expression of piR-35127 and piR-46545 and knock-down of piR-34871 and piR-52200 significantly reduced normal lung and breast epithelial cell proliferation and cell colony formation as well as proliferation of lung cancer cell lines (A549 and H1299) and breast cancer cell lines (Hs578T and MDA-MB-231). This suggests that these novel piRNAs may potentially be involved in regulating lung cell transformation and tumorigenesis. RASSF1C may potentially modulate the expression of its piRNA target genes through attenuation of the AMPK pathway, as over-expression of RASSF1C resulted in reduction of p-AMPK, p21, and p27 protein levels.

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