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PSMB2 knockdown suppressed proteasome activity and cell proliferation, promoted apoptosis, and blocked NRF1 activation in gastric cancer cells


Proteasome 20S Subunit Beta 2 (PSMB2) has been suggested to play several roles in cancer. However, the role of PSMB2 and its underlying mechanisms in gastric cancer have not been studied. In this study, qRT-PCR was employed to detect the expression of genes that encode for 26 s proteasome subunit proteins. PSMB2 expression and its prognostic ability were assessed by collecting patient tissue samples and reviewing the TCGA and Kaplan–Meier Plotter databases. Immunofluorescence and western blotting experiments were performed to evaluate the expression of PSMB2 in human gastric cancer cells and normal gastric epithelial cells. Subsequently, PSMB2 was knocked down in HGC-27 and SNU-1 cells and overexpressed in N-87 and AGS cells. Proteasome activity assays, 5-Ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine staining, and TUNEL assays were used to assess proteasome activity, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. Tumor xenograft assays were conducted to evaluate PSMB2 function in vivo. Our results showed that a total of 8 genes encoding for the 26 s proteasome subunit protein were highly expressed in a variety of gastric cancer cells. Next, PSMB2 was selected as the focus of subsequent studies which showed that PSMB2 was highly expressed in samples of gastric cancer tissue. Furthermore, a review of the TCGA database revealed that a high level of PSMB2 expression was associated with a poor clinical prognosis. Our results indicated that PSMB2 overexpression promoted proteasome activity, cell proliferation, and suppressed the apoptosis of gastric cancer cells, while those effects were reversed by treatment with a proteasome inhibitor (MG132). In contrast, PSMB2 knockdown produced the opposite effects and also blocked NRF1 activation. Moreover, PSMB2 knockdown inhibited tumor growth in vivo, decreased PSMB2 expression and cell proliferation, and promoted apoptosis in tumor tissues. Our findings revealed the role played by PSMB2 in gastric cancer and suggest PSMB2 as a new target molecule for use in diagnosing and treating gastric cancer.

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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This study was not funded by any specific public or private agency.

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Correspondence to Chen Li.

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The authors have no commercial or other associations that might pose a conflict of interest.

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Samples of human gastric cancer and adjacent tissue were collected from the First Medical Center of PLA General Hospital. `The study protocol was approved by the Biomedical Ethics Committee of the First Medical Center of PLA General Hospital.

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Each recruited patient provided their signed written informed consent for retention and analysis of their tissue.

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Liu, Z., Yu, C., Chen, Z. et al. PSMB2 knockdown suppressed proteasome activity and cell proliferation, promoted apoptosis, and blocked NRF1 activation in gastric cancer cells. Cytotechnology (2022).

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  • 26S proteasome
  • Gastric cancer
  • PSMB2
  • Proteasome activity
  • NRF1