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The RNA-binding protein Sam68 regulates tumor cell viability and hepatic carcinogenesis by inhibiting the transcriptional activity of FOXOs

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Src associated in mitosis (Sam68; 68 kDa) is a KH domain RNA-binding protein that belongs to the signal transduction and activation of RNA family, and has been implicated in the oncogenesis and progression of several human cancers. Our study aimed to investigated the clinicopathologic significance of Sam68 expression and its role in cell proliferation and the underlying molecular mechanism in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We demonstrated that Sam68 expression was significantly increased in HCC and high expression of Sam68 was significantly associated with Edmondson grade, tumor size, tumor nodule number, HBsAg status and Ki-67 expression. The Kaplan–Meier survival curves showed that increased expression of Sam68 was correlated with poor prognosis in HCC patients and served as an independent prognostic marker of overall survival in a multivariable analysis. In addition, through serum starvation and refeeding assay, we demonstrated that Sam68 was lowly expressed in serum-starved HCC cells, and was progressively increased after serum-additioning. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of endogenous Sam68 inhibited cell proliferation and tumourigenicity of HCC cells in vitro, through blocking the G1 to S phase transition. Moreover, we reported that the anti-proliferative effect of silencing Sam68 was accompanied with up-regulated expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21Cip1 and p27Kip1, enhanced transactivation of FOXO factors (FOXO4), and dysreuglation of Akt/GSK-3β signaling. Taken together, these findings provide a rational framework for the progression of HCC and thereby indicated that Sam68 might be a novel and useful prognostic marker and a potential target for human HCC treatment.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81272708).

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Correspondence to Runzhou Ni.

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Zhang, T., Wan, C., Shi, W. et al. The RNA-binding protein Sam68 regulates tumor cell viability and hepatic carcinogenesis by inhibiting the transcriptional activity of FOXOs. J Mol Hist 46, 485–497 (2015).

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