N6-methyladenine-mediated aberrant activation of the lncRNA SOX2OT-GLI1 loop promotes non-small-cell lung cancer stemness


  • Hongliang Dong
  • Lili Zeng
  • Weiwei Chen
  • Qian Zhang
  • Fei Wang
  • Yan Wu
  • Bingjie Cui
  • Jingjing Qi
  • Xin Zhang
  • Cuilan Liu
  • Jiong Deng
  • Y. Yu
  • C.A. Schmitt
  • Jing Du


  • Cell Death Discovery


  • Cell Death Discov 9 (1): 149


  • Despite the advent of precision medicine and immunotherapy, mortality due to lung cancer remains high. The sonic hedgehog (SHH) cascade and its key terminal factor, glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1), play a pivotal role in the stemness and drug resistance of lung cancer. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanism of non-canonical aberrant GLI1 upregulation. The SHH cascade was upregulated in stem spheres and chemo-resistant lung cancer cells and was accountable for drug resistance against multiple chemotherapy regimens. GLI1 and the long non-coding RNA SOX2OT were positively regulated, and the GLI1-SOX2OT loop mediated the proliferation of parental and stem-like lung cancer cells. Further mechanistic investigation revealed that SOX2OT facilitated METTL3/14/IGF2BP2-mediated m6A modification and stabilization of the GLI1 mRNA. Additionally, SOX2OT upregulated METTL3/14/IGF2BP2 by sponging miR-186-5p. Functional analysis corroborated that GLI1 acted as a downstream target of METTL3/14/IGF2BP2, and GLI1 silencing could block the oncogenicity of lung cancer stem-like cells. Pharmacological inhibition of the loop remarkably inhibited the oncogenesis of lung cancer cells in vivo. Compared with paired adjacent normal tissues, lung cancer specimens exhibited consistently upregulated GLI1/SOX2OT/METTL3/14/IGF2BP2. The m6A-modified GLI1-SOX2OT loop may serve as a potential therapeutic target and prognostic predictor for lung cancer therapy and diagnosis in the clinic.