Research Papers:

RNA-binding protein CELF1 promotes tumor growth and alters gene expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Reniqua P. House, Sudha Talwar, E. Starr Hazard, Elizabeth G. Hill and Viswanathan Palanisamy _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:43620-43634. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6204

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Reniqua P. House1, Sudha Talwar1, E. Starr Hazard2, Elizabeth G. Hill3 and Viswanathan Palanisamy1

1 Department of Oral Health Sciences and Center for Oral Health Research, College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

2 Division of Bioinformatics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

3 Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

Correspondence to:

Viswanathan Palanisamy, email:

Keywords: oral squamous cell carcinoma, CELF1, mRNA splicing and mRNA turnover

Received: April 15, 2015 Accepted: October 09, 2015 Published: October 20, 2015


The RNA binding protein CELF1 (also known as CUGBP1) is emerging as a critical regulator of cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis. Here, to provide a global prospective of CELF1 regulation of oral squamous cell carcinoma, we performed RNA-sequencing in oral cancer cells and CELF1 overexpression analysis in non-malignant human oral keratinocytes. Our approaches identified 1283 mRNAs differentially regulated as a function of CELF1 expression and more importantly CELF1 promoted alternative splicing of several target pre-mRNAs, which are known to be involved in various cancer biological processes. Overexpression of CELF1 in non-malignant human oral keratinocytes protected cells against oxidative damage and altered gene expression patterns. Finally, we provide evidence that reduction of CELF1 protein using a xenograft tumorigenesis mouse model decreased tumor growth. Altogether, these data provided a comprehensive view of the CELF1 mRNA regulatory network in oral cancer and suggests that CELF1 and/or its target mRNAs are viable candidates for therapeutic intervention.

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