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CircSMARCA5 inhibits migration of glioblastoma multiforme cells by regulating a molecular axis involving splicing factors SRSF1/SRSF3/PTB

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  • Davide Barbagallo, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences—Section of Biology and Genetics, Università di Catania
  • ,
  • Angela Caponnetto, Università di Catania
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  • Matilde Cirnigliaro, Università di Catania
  • ,
  • Duilia Brex, Università di Catania
  • ,
  • Cristina Barbagallo, Università di Catania
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  • Floriana D’Angeli, Università di Catania
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  • Antonio Morrone, Università di Catania
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  • Rosario Caltabiano, Università di Catania
  • ,
  • Giuseppe Maria Barbagallo, Università di Catania
  • ,
  • Marco Ragusa, Università di Catania
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  • Cinzia Di Pietro, Università di Catania
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  • Thomas Birkballe Hansen
  • Michele Purrello, Università di Catania

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have recently emerged as a new class of RNAs, highly enriched in the brain and very stable within cells, exosomes and body fluids. To analyze their involvement in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) pathogenesis, we assayed the expression of twelve circRNAs, physiologically enriched in several regions of the brain, through real-time PCR in a cohort of fifty-six GBM patient biopsies and seven normal brain parenchymas. We focused on hsa_circ_0001445 (circSMARCA5): it was significantly downregulated in GBM biopsies as compared to normal brain tissues (p-value < 0.00001, student’s t-test), contrary to its linear isoform counterpart that did not show any differential expression (p-value = 0.694, student’s t-test). Analysis of a public dataset revealed a negative correlation between the expression of circSMARCA5 and glioma’s histological grade, suggesting its potential negative role in the progression to malignancy. Overexpressing circSMARCA5 in U87MG cells significantly decreased their migration, but not their proliferation rate. In silico scanning of circSMARCA5 sequence revealed an enrichment in binding motifs for several RNA binding proteins (RBPs), specifically involved in splicing. Among them, serine and arginine rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1), a splicing factor known to be a positive controller of cell migration and known to be overexpressed in GBM, was predicted to bind circSMARCA5 by three different prediction tools. Direct interaction between circSMARCA5 and SRSF1 is supported by enhanced UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (eCLIP) data for SRSF1 in K562 cells from Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Consistently, U87MG overexpressing circSMARCA5 showed an increased expression of serine and arginine rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) RNA isoform containing exon 4, normally skipped in a SRSF1-dependent manner, resulting in a non-productive non-sense mediated decay (NMD) substrate. Interestingly, SRSF3 is known to interplay with two other splicing factors, polypyrimidine tract binding protein 1 (PTBP1) and polypyrimidine tract binding protein 2 (PTBP2), that positively regulate glioma cells migration. Collectively, our data show circSMARCA5 as a promising druggable tumor suppressor in GBM and suggest that it may exert its function by tethering the RBP SRSF1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number480
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Cell migration, CircRNAs, Glioblastoma multiforme, RNA binding proteins, Splicing

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