Fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) is identified as a critical demethylase involved in various physiological processes. Despite efforts have been made to study the biological functions of FTO in certain cancers, the role of FTO in ovarian cancer is largely unknown. In this study, we sought to investigate the function of FTO on proliferation, apoptosis and autophagy of ovarian cancer cells.
Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to detect FTO expression in ovarian tumor tissues and ovarian cancer cell lines OVCAR-3, SKOV-3, COC1, HO-8910 and A2780. SKOV-3 cells were constructed with FTO overexpression and A2780 cells were constructed with FTO knockdown. CCK-8 assay was used to examine cell viability and flow cytometry was used to detect cell apoptosis. Activity assay kits were applied to detect caspase-3 and caspase-9 levels. Western blot was performed to measure the expressions of FTO, PCNA, Bax, Bcl-2, LC3, ATG5, P62, p-AKT and AKT. Stable FTO-overexpression SKOV-3 cells or FTO-depletion A2780 cells were injected subcutaneously into male Balb/c-nu mice. Xenografted tumors were assayed by H&E staining. Immunohistochemistry was subjected to measure FTO and Ki67 expressions.
FTO was up-regulated in ovarian tumor tissues compared with non-cancerous ovarian tissues. FTO overexpression markedly increased viability and autophagy function, but decreased apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells. In addition, FTO overexpression promoted AKT phosphorylation. In contrast, FTO silence showed the opposite effect.
FTO accelerated ovarian cancer cell growth by promoting proliferation, inhibiting apoptosis, and activating autophagy.

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