Long Noncoding RNA HOTAIRM1 Maintains Tumorigenicity of Glioblastoma Stem-Like Cells Through Regulation of HOX Gene Expression

  • Hongping XiaEmail author
  • Yinhua Liu
  • Zhichun Wang
  • Wei Zhang
  • Min Qi
  • Bin Qi
  • Xiaochun JiangEmail author
Original Article


Noncoding RNAs regulate transcription of gene expression and play an important role in the pathogenesis of glioblastomas. These tumors are heterogeneous with some glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are highly tumorigenic subpopulations of cells contributing to recurrence and treatment resistance. In this study, GSCs were established by neurosphere cultures of primary glioblastoma cells and validated by the expression of GSC marker CD133. The expression of the long noncoding RNA HOTAIRM1 was detected using real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). The role of HOTAIRM1 in the proliferation, apoptosis, stemness, and tumorigenicity of GSCs was investigated by soft agar colony formation, flow cytometry, TUNEL analysis, sphere formation, and in vivo xenograft models through silencing of HOTAIRM1. The expression of HOTAIRM1 and the neighboring HOX genes were analyzed by qRT-PCR in different grades of gliomas and nontumor tissues. We found that HOTAIRM1 is significantly elevated in GSCs. The silencing of HOTAIRM1 significantly impairs the proliferation, apoptosis, self-renewal, tumorigenesis of GSCs. In addition, HOTAIRM1 is significantly upregulated in gliomas and associated with tumor grade and patient survival. HOTAIRM1 neighboring genes, HOXA1, HOXA2, and HOXA3, are also significantly upregulated in gliomas and correlate with the expression of HOTAIRM1. Among them, HOXA2 and HOXA3 were identified as being upregulated in GSCs and contributed to the self-renewal of these stem cells. Taken together, our results demonstrate that HOTAIRM1 plays a critical role in the self-renewal of GSCs. These data also suggest that overexpression of HOTAIRM1 can be a negative prognostic factor for patient survival in malignant glioma and may be a promising potential therapeutic target.

Key Words

Glioblastoma stem cells CD133 LncRNAs HOTAIRM1 HOX genes 



This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Anhui Province Education Department, the National Young 1000 Talents Program of China, the Jiangsu Province Education Department grant, and the Jiangsu Province “Innovative and the Entrepreneurial Team” and “Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talent.”

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Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Yijishan HospitalWannan Medical CollegeWuhuChina
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences & The Affiliated Sir Run Run Hospital & State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine & Key Laboratory of Antibody Technique of National Health CommissionNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryFirst Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Yijishan HospitalWannan Medical CollegeWuhuChina
  5. 5.Department of NeurosurgeryFirst Hospital of Jilin UniversityJilinChina

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