Cell death & disease

EZH2-mediated epigenetic suppression of long noncoding RNA SPRY4-IT1 promotes NSCLC cell proliferation and metastasis by affecting the epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

PMID 24967960


Recent evidence indicates that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have a critical role in the regulation of cellular processes such as differentiation, proliferation, and metastasis. These lncRNAs are dysregulated in a variety of cancers and many function as tumor suppressors; however, the regulatory factors involved in silencing lncRNA transcription are poorly understood. In this study, we showed that epigenetic silencing of lncRNA SPRY4 intronic transcript 1 (SPRY4-IT1) occurs in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells through direct transcriptional repression mediated by the Polycomb group protein enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2). SPRY4-IT1 is derived from an intron within SPRY4, and is upregulated in melanoma cells; knockdown of its expression leads to cell growth arrest, invasion inhibition, and elevated rates of apoptosis. Upon depletion of EZH2 by RNA interference, SPRY4-IT1 expression was restored, and transfection of SPRY4-IT1 into NSCLC cells resulted in a significant antitumoral effect, both in culture and in xenografted nude mice. Moreover, overexpression of SPRY4-IT1 was found to have a key role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition through the regulation of E-cadherin and vimentin expression. In EZH2-knockdown cells, which characteristically showed impaired cell proliferation and metastasis, the induction of SPRY4-IT1 depletion partially rescued the oncogenic phenotype, suggesting that SPRY4-IT1 repression has an important role in EZH2 oncogenesis. Of most relevance, translation of these findings into human NSCLC tissue samples demonstrated that patients with low levels of SPRY4-IT1 expression had a shorter overall survival time, suggesting that SPRY4-IT1 could be a biomarker for poor prognosis of NSCLC.