Liver tumor-initiating cells (TICs) are involved in liver tumorigenesis, metastasis, drug resistance, and relapse, but the regulatory mechanisms of liver TICs are largely unknown. Here, we have identified a functional circular RNA, termed circRNA activating MAFF (cia-MAF), that is robustly expressed in liver cancer and liver TICs. cia-MAF–KO primary cells and cia-maf–KO liver tumors harbor decreased ratios of TICs, and display impaired liver tumorigenesis, self-renewal, and metastatic capacities. In contrast, cia-MAF overexpression drives liver TIC propagation, self-renewal, and metastasis. Mechanistically, cia-MAF binds to the MAFF promoter, recruits the TIP60 complex to the MAFF promoter, and finally promotes MAFF expression. Loss of cia-MAF function attenuates the combination between the TIP60 complex and the MAFF promoter. MAFF is highly expressed in liver tumors and liver TICs, and its antisense oligo (ASO) has therapeutic potential in treating liver cancer without MAFA/MAFG gene copy number alterations (CNAs). This study reveals an additional layer for liver TIC regulation as well as circRNA function, and provides an additional target for eliminating liver TICs, especially for liver tumors without MAFA/MAFG gene CNAs.
Zhenzhen Chen, Tiankun Lu, Lan Huang, Zhiwei Wang, Zhongyi Yan, Yubo Guan, Wenjing Hu, Zusen Fan, Pingping Zhu
Usage data is cumulative from August 2021 through October 2021.
Usage information is collected from two different sources: this site (JCI) and Pubmed Central (PMC). JCI information (compiled daily) shows human readership based on methods we employ to screen out robotic usage. PMC information (aggregated monthly) is also similarly screened of robotic usage.
Various methods are used to distinguish robotic usage. For example, Google automatically scans articles to add to its search index and identifies itself as robotic; other services might not clearly identify themselves as robotic, or they are new or unknown as robotic. Because this activity can be misinterpreted as human readership, data may be re-processed periodically to reflect an improved understanding of robotic activity. Because of these factors, readers should consider usage information illustrative but subject to change.