Overexpression of this peptide was present in 70% of cancer samples compared to 0% in control

Abstract: In most human cancers, a large number of proteins with driver mutations are involved in tumor development, implying that multiple fine tuners are involved in cancer formation and/or maintenance. A useful strategy for cancer therapy may therefore be to target multiple cancer type-specific fine tuners. Furthermore, genome-wide association studies of tumor samples have identified a large number of long noncoding (lnc)RNA associated with various types of tumor. In this context we have previously found that C20orf204 (a splice variant of Linc00176) RNA contains a 189 amino acid (AA) long open reading frame (C20orf204-189AA) that is expressed predominantly in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We report here that a protein, C20orf204-189AA, was detected in the nucleus of 14 out of 20 primary HCC, but not in control livers. Strikingly, overexpression of C20orf204-189AA enhanced cell proliferation and ribosomal RNA transcription. C20orf204-189AA is co-localized, and interacted with nucleolin via the C-terminal and with ribosomal RNA via the N-terminal domain. Furthermore, the expression of C20orf204-189AA upregulates the protein level of nucleolin. Nucleolin and C20orf204 mRNA levels in HCC are correlated with tumor differentiation grade and patient survival, suggesting that C20orf204-189AA is a cancer type-specific fine tuner in some HCC that presents itself for potential targeting therapy and cancer biomarker. Thus, cancer cells exhibit remarkable transcriptome alterations partly by adopting cancer-specific splicing isoforms of noncoding RNAs and may participate in tumor development.


Burbano De Lara S, Tran DDH, Allister AB, et al. C20orf204, a hepatocellular carcinoma-specific protein interacts with nucleolin and promotes cell proliferation. Oncogenesis. 2021;10(3):31.

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