Novel Long Non-Coding RNA Affects Metastasis in Colon Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A primate-specific long non-coding RNA contributes to metastasis in colon cancer, according to a new study.

Levels of N-BLR, a novel lncRNA, are associated with tumor stage, invasion potential, and overall survival among colorectal cancer patients, researchers led by MD Anderson’s George Calin found. They further reported in Genome Biology that a short pyknon motif appeared to mediate these effects by affecting crosstalk between N-BLR and E-cadherin and ZEB1, both of which are involved in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT).

“The primate-specific N-BLR is a novel molecular contributor to the complex mechanisms that underlie metastasis in colorectal cancer and a potential novel biomarker for this disease,” Calin and his colleagues wrote in their paper.

The researchers were initially investigating pyknons — a class of short DNA motifs — and whether they were active or passive. In a qRT-PCR assay of some 11 pyknons in regions associated with loss of heterozygosity thought to include functionally relevant sequences, they found that transcription of all 11 genomic pyknon regions varied among the seven colorectal cancer cell lines they used.

Following up on that, they noted that levels of a particular pyknon — pyk-reg-90 — correlated with tumor stage and poor

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