Circular RNA (circRNA) has been proven to play a significant role in multiple types of cancer. However, the expression and role of circRNAs in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains elusive.
CircRNA and mRNA expression profiles of EOC were screened with sequencing analysis. Gene silencing and over-expression were used to study circRNA function. Cell proliferation and Matrigel invasion assays were used to detect cell proliferation and invasion, respectively. The expression of circRNAs, mRNAs and miRNAs was detected using qPCR. The location of circRNAs was detected using FISH. The expression of proteins was detected using western blot and immunohistochemistry.
CircMUC16 had increased expression in EOC tissues as compared to healthy ovarian tissues. The expression of circMUC16 was linked to the progression in stage and grade of EOC. Hence, silencing circMUC16 suppressed autophagy flux of SKOV3 cells. In contrast, ectopic expression of circMUC16 promoted autophagy flux of A2780 cells. CircMUC16-mediated autophagy exacerbated EOC invasion and metastasis. Mechanistically, circMUC16 could directly bind to miR-199a-5p and relieve suppression of target Beclin1 and RUNX1. In turn, RUNX1 elevated the expression of circMUC16 via promotion of its transcription. CircMUC16 could directly bind to ATG13 and promote its expression.
This study demonstrated that circMUC16 regulated Beclin1 and RUNX1 by sponging miR-199a-5p. The data suggested that circMUC16 could be a potential target for EOC diagnosis and therapy.