Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded BamHI-A rightward frame 1 (BARF1) is a putative viral oncogene in EBV-infected stomach cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate BARF1-induced cellular protein and microRNA alterations. In this study, BARF1-expressing stomach cancer cells showed a high rate of proliferation, high levels of NFκB, and miR-146a upregulation, which was reversed by NFκB knockdown. During BARF1-induced NFκB upregulation, hCSF1 receptor level was unchanged. Knockdown of BARF1 in the naturally EBV-infected YCCEL1 stomach cancer cells suppressed cell proliferation, and downregulated NFκB and miR-146a. SMAD4 was identified as a miR-146a target and was downregulated in BARF1-expressing cells, whereas SMAD4 expression was restored by anti-miR-146a. Knockdown of BARF1 in YCCEL1 cells upregulated SMAD4, and this effect was reversed by miR-146a overexpression. Transfection of BARF1-expressing cells with pCEP4- SMAD4 abolished the cell proliferating effect of BARF1. In stomach cancer tissues, miR-146a was expressed at higher levels, and more frequent NFκB nuclear positivity immunohistochemically, but not of SMAD4 nuclear loss was found in the EBV-positive group compared with the EBV-negative group. In conclusion, EBV-encoded BARF1 promotes cell proliferation in stomach cancer by upregulating NFκB and miR-146a and downregulating SMAD4, thereby contributing to EBV-induced stomach cancer progression.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2016R1D1A1B01010316) and a grant (11-184) from the Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea (JHW).
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