Ovarian cancer (OC) is a gynecological malignancy with a poor prognosis and low survival rate. E2F2 is a transcription activator that plays an indispensable role in cell proliferation and cell cycle progression. The preliminary analysis indicated that the E2F2 gene could produce three circular RNAs (circRNAs). This study aimed to investigate whether these circRNAs would be involved in OC tumorigenesis. The results showed that one of the circRNAs (termed circE2F2) was significantly upregulated in OC tissues and cell lines, and high circE2F2 expression was associated with poor survival in OC patients. The knockdown of circE2F2 in OC cells suppressed cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and cellular glucose metabolism. In circE2F2-deficient cells, the half-life of the E2F2 mRNA was significantly shorter than that in the control group, indicating that sufficient circE2F2 expression could strengthen the stability of the E2F2 mRNA. Further analysis revealed that circE2F2 could bind to RNA-binding protein Hu antigen R (HuR). Moreover, circE2F2 enhanced the stability of the E2F2 mRNA via binding to the HuR protein. Also, E2F2 overexpression significantly enhanced the mobility, invasiveness, and glucose metabolism of OC cells with insufficient circE2F2 expression, suggesting that circE2F2 induced OC cell growth and metastasis by upregulating E2F2. In conclusion, circE2F2 promoted OC cell proliferation, metastasis, and glucose metabolism by stabilizing the E2F2 mRNA via binding to the HuR protein. These findings suggest a novel regulatory mechanism for the oncogenic effects of circE2F2, E2F2, and HuR on ovarian carcinogenesis.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.