EIF4A3-regulated circ_0087429 can reverse EMT and inhibit the progression of cervical cancer via miR-5003-3p-dependent upregulation of OGN expression

Background: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are noncoding RNAs with stable structures with high expression and tissue-specific expression. Studies have shown that circRNA dysregulation is closely related to the progression of tumours. However, the function and regulatory mechanism of most circRNAs in cervical cancer are still unclear.

Methods: CircRNAs related to cervical cancer were screened through the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. qRT-PCR was used to verify the expression of circ_0087429 in cervical cancer tissues and cells. Then, in vivo and in vitro experiments were conducted to evaluate the role of circ_0087429 in the progression of cervical cancer. The role of the circ_0087429/miR-5003-3p/osteoglycin (OGN) axis in the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) was confirmed by rescue experiments, fluorescence in situ hybridization, luciferase reporter assays, immunofluorescence staining and western blotting. The inhibitory effect of Eukaryotic initiation factor 4A-III (EIF4A3) on the biogenesis of circ_0087429 was verified by RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays and qRT-PCR.

Results: circ_0087429 is significantly downregulated in cervical cancer tissues and cells and negatively correlated with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging and lymphatic metastasis in cervical cancer patients. circ_0087429 can significantly inhibit the proliferation, migration, invasion and angiogenesis of cervical cancer in vitro and tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. OGN is significantly downregulated in cervical cancer tissues and cells. circ_0087429 can upregulate the expression of OGN by competitively binding with miR-5003-3p, thereby reversing EMT and inhibiting the progression of cervical cancer. EIF4A3 can inhibit circ_0087429 expression by binding to its flanking regions.

Conclusions: As a tumour suppressor, circ_0087429 regulated by EIF4A3 can reverse EMT and inhibit the progression of cervical cancer through the miR-5003-3p/OGN axis. It is expected to become a potential target for the treatment of cervical cancer.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; Circ_0087429; EIF4A3; Epithelial to mesenchymal transition; MiR-5003-3p; OGN.