Oncology research

RITA inhibits growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma through induction of apoptosis.

PMID 24308154


RBP-J-interacting and tubulin-associated (RITA) is a novel RBP-J-interacting protein that downregulates Notch-mediated transcription. The current study focuses on the antitumor effect of RITA in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and aims to explore its molecular mechanism. Thirty paired HCC and adjacent non-tumoral liver samples were analyzed by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). RITA overexpression was induced by transfection of a pcDNA3.1-Flag-RITA plasmid into HepG2 cells. RITA knockdown was achieved by siRNA transfection. mRNA and protein expression of target genes were quantified by qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were measured using MTT assay and flow cytometry. Our results demonstrate that adjacent nontumoral liver samples exhibited increased RITA expression compared to HCC tissues (p < 0.05); RITA levels were associated with tumor differentiation status. Overexpression of RITA suppressed cell proliferation and promoted early apoptosis, while its silencing promoted cell growth dramatically (p < 0.05). RITA overexpression upregulated p53 and reduced cyclin E levels, whereas silencing of RITA had the opposite effect on p53 and cyclin E expression. Our in vitro results represent the first evidence that RITA might suppress tumor growth and induce apoptosis in HCCs, and may be a potent antitumoral agent for HCC treatment that deserves further exploration.