Research Papers:

Circular RNA profile indicates circular RNA VRK1 is negatively related with breast cancer stem cells

Ningning Yan, Haiyan Xu, Jinnan Zhang, Liang Xu, Yanyun Zhang, Le Zhang, Yingchun Xu and Fengchun Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:95704-95718. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21183

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Ningning Yan1,2,*, Haiyan Xu2,*, Jinnan Zhang3, Liang Xu4, Yanyun Zhang5, Le Zhang1,2, Yingchun Xu6 and Fengchun Zhang1,2

1Department of Oncology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China

2Department of Oncology, Suzhou Kowloon Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Suzhou 215021, China

3Department of Neurosurgery, China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, 130031, China

4Prevention and Cure Center of Breast Disease, Third Hospital of Nanchang, Nanchang, 330009, China

5Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences & SJTUSM, Shanghai 200031, China

6Department of Oncology, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200127, China

*These authors have Contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Fengchun Zhang, email: [email protected]

Yingchun Xu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: breast cancer stem cells; circular RNA; RNA-sequencing; circVRK1

Received: April 27, 2017     Accepted: August 26, 2017     Published: September 23, 2017


Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel type of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), have been shown to be implicated in biological processes including cancer as gene expression regulators. However, the roles of circRNAs in cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been unexplored. In the present study, we screened the circRNA profile in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) using RNA-Sequencing. Here, 27 circRNAs were found to be aberrantly expressed. Of these, 19 circRNAs were downregulated and 8 were upregulated and some of these circRNAs were validated by Q-PCR. Furthermore, we constructed the circRNA/miRNA network by bioinformatics approaches and hypothesized that circRNAs might be involved in stemness of BCSCs via serving as miRNA sponges. Importantly, we found that circular RNA VRK1 (circVRK1) could suppress BCSC’s expansion and self-renewal capacity. Collectively, the present work provides the first reported evidence of the circRNA profile and circRNA/miRNA interplay in BCSCs. In addition, these findings lay foundation to explore the functions of circRNAs in CSCs and indicate that circVRK1 might be a promising target for BCSCs.

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