Inhibition of long non-coding RNA UCA1 by CRISPR/Cas9 attenuated malignant phenotypes of bladder cancer.

PMID 28038452


CRISPR/Cas9 is a novel and effective genome editing technique, but its application is not widely expanded to manipulate long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) expression. The lncRNA urothelial carcinoma-associated 1 (UCA1) is upregulated in bladder cancer and promotes the progression of bladder cancer. Here, we design gRNAs specific to UCA1 and construct CRISPR/Cas9 systems targeting UCA1. Single CRISPR/Cas9-UCA1 can effectively inhibit UCA1 expression when transfected into 5637 and T24 bladder cancer cells, while the combined transfection of the two most effective CRISPR/Cas9-UCA1s can generate more satisfied inhibitory effect. CRISPR/Cas9-UCA1s attenuate UCA1 expression via targeted genome-specific DNA cleavage, resulting in the significant inhibition of cell proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. The mechanisms associated with the inhibitory effect of CRISPR/Cas9-UCA1 on malignant phenotypes of bladder cancer are attributed to the induction of cell cycle arrest at G1 phase, a substantial increase of apoptosis, and an enhanced activity of MMPs. Additionally, urinary UCA1 can be used as a non-invasive diagnostic marker for bladder cancer as revealed by a meta-analysis. Collectively, our data suggest that CRISPR/Cas9 technique can be used to down-modulate lncRNA expression, and urinary UCA1 may be used as a non-invasive marker for diagnosis of bladder cancer.