Publications by authors named "Huacui Chen"

10 Publications

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Genome-wide CRISPR Screens Reveal Host Factors Critical for SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

Cell 2021 01 20;184(1):76-91.e13. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address:

Identification of host genes essential for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may reveal novel therapeutic targets and inform our understanding of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis. Here we performed genome-wide CRISPR screens in Vero-E6 cells with SARS-CoV-2, Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV), bat CoV HKU5 expressing the SARS-CoV-1 spike, and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike. We identified known SARS-CoV-2 host factors, including the receptor ACE2 and protease Cathepsin L. We additionally discovered pro-viral genes and pathways, including HMGB1 and the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, that are SARS lineage and pan-coronavirus specific, respectively. We show that HMGB1 regulates ACE2 expression and is critical for entry of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and NL63. We also show that small-molecule antagonists of identified gene products inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in monkey and human cells, demonstrating the conserved role of these genetic hits across species. This identifies potential therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and reveals SARS lineage-specific and pan-CoV host factors that regulate susceptibility to highly pathogenic CoVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574718PMC
January 2021

Genome-wide CRISPR screen reveals host genes that regulate SARS-CoV-2 infection.

bioRxiv 2020 Jun 17. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Identification of host genes essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection may reveal novel therapeutic targets and inform our understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Here we performed a genome-wide CRISPR screen with SARS-CoV-2 and identified known SARS-CoV-2 host factors including the receptor ACE2 and protease Cathepsin L. We additionally discovered novel pro-viral genes and pathways including the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex and key components of the TGF-β signaling pathway. Small molecule inhibitors of these pathways prevented SARS-CoV-2-induced cell death. We also revealed that the alarmin HMGB1 is critical for SARS-CoV-2 replication. In contrast, loss of the histone H3.3 chaperone complex sensitized cells to virus-induced death. Together this study reveals potential therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and highlights host genes that may regulate COVID-19 pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.16.155101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7457610PMC
June 2020

Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screening in gastrointestinal stromal tumor with Imatinib resistance.

Mol Cancer 2018 08 13;17(1):121. Epub 2018 Aug 13.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, the Second Affiliated Hospital of South China University of Technology, 1 Panfu Road, Guangzhou, 510180, Guangdong, China.

Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 Knockout Screening was applied to investigate novel targets in imatinib-resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). 20 genes and 2 miRNAs have been selected by total reads of sgRNA and sgRNA diversity, which has been further validated in imatinib-resistant GIST cells by CCK8 and qPCR analysis. Our study has finally revealed 9 genes (DBP, NR3C1, TCF12, TP53, ZNF12, SOCS6, ZFP36, ACYP1, and DRD1) involved in imatinib-resistant GIST-T1 cells. TP53 and SOCS6 may be the most promising candidate genes for imatinib-resistance due to the possible signaling pathway, such as apoptosis pathway and Wnt signaling pathway, JAK-STAT signaling pathway. It is necessary to perform more studies to discover novel targets in imatinib-resistant GIST, including DBP, NR3C1, TCF12, ZNF12, ZFP36, ACYP1 and DRD1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12943-018-0865-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6090611PMC
August 2018

Long noncoding RNA PVT1-214 promotes proliferation and invasion of colorectal cancer by stabilizing Lin28 and interacting with miR-128.

Oncogene 2019 01 3;38(2):164-179. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, The Second Affiliated Hospital of South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510180, China.

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are implicated in human cancer, but their mechanisms of action are largely unknown. In this study, we investigated lncRNA alterations that contribute to colorectal cancer (CRC) through microarray expression profiling in CRC patient samples. Here, we report that the CRC-associated lncRNA PVT1-214 is a key regulator of CRC development and progression; patients with high PVT1-214 expression had a shorter survival and poorer prognosis. In vitro and in vivo investigation of the role of PVT1-214 revealed a complex integrated phenotype affecting cell growth, stem-like properties, migration, and invasion. Furthermore, using RNA pull-down and mass spectrometry, we found that Lin28 (also known as Lin28A), a highly conserved RNA-binding protein, is associated with PVT1-214. Strikingly, we found that PVT1-214 not only upregulated Lin28 protein expression in CRC cells by stabilizing Lin28, but also participated in crosstalk with Lin28 mRNA through competition for miR-128 binding, imposing an additional level of post-transcriptional regulation. In addition, we further show that PVT1-214 repressed expression of let-7 family miRNAs, which was abrogated by Lin28 knockdown. Taken together, our findings support a model in which the PVT1-214/Lin28/let-7 axis serves as a critical regulator of CRC pathogenesis, which may simulate a new direction for CRC therapeutic development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-018-0432-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329639PMC
January 2019

Overexpression of flavin-containing monooxygenase 5 predicts poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer.

Oncol Lett 2018 Mar 4;15(3):3923-3927. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510180, P.R. China.

The present study investigated the expression and clinical significance of flavin-containing monooxygenase 5 (FMO5) in colorectal cancer (CRC). The expression of FMO5 was detected by immunohistochemistry in 208 colon cancer tissues and 8 normal colon tissues. Then, the correlations of FMO5 expression with several clinicopathological features were evaluated. FMO5 mRNA expression from The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset was assessed for further validation. In addition, the association of the expression of FMO5 with prognosis was further evaluated by Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazards model. The FMO5 protein level in colon cancer tissues was significantly higher than that in normal colon tissues (P<0.001). Overexpression of FMO5 was associated with an advanced clinical stage of cancer (P=0.018) and lymph node metastasis (P=0.03). The TCGA dataset also demonstrated that FMO5 was upregulated in CRC with advanced clinical stage (P=0.047), lymph node metastasis (P=0.045) and distant metastasis (P=0.030). The Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that higher FMO5 mRNA indicated a shorter overall survival in patients with CRC compared with a low expression of FMO5 (P=0.029). Cox proportional hazards regression revealed that a high FMO5 mRNA level served as an independent prognostic factor for patients with CRC (hazard ratio, 2.865; 95% confidence interval, 1.116-7.355; P=0.029). A high expression of FMO5 may serve roles in colorectal carcinogenesis and distant metastasis. FMO5 may be an independent predictive factor for the prognosis of CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2018.7724DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5795894PMC
March 2018

Expression of EZH2 is associated with poor outcome in colorectal cancer.

Oncol Lett 2018 Mar 19;15(3):2953-2961. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510180, P.R. China.

Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), the critical component of polycomb group protein family, has been demonstrated to be overexpressed in various types of human cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma, breast, bladder and lung cancer. The mechanism of how EZH2 promotes oncogenesis has also been well studied. However, little is known about the role of EZH2 in colorectal cancer (CRC). The main purpose of the present study was to analyze the association between EZH2 expression and the clinicopathological features of CRC. Therefore, the mRNA and protein expression levels were analyzed in tumor tissues and adjacent non-cancerous tissues by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and western blot analysis. The expression of EZH2 was demonstrated to be significantly increased in tumor tissues compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues, according to the results of western blot analysis and RT-qPCR in the majority of cases. Patients with low EZH2 expression had a longer overall survival rate compared with those with high EZH2 expression. An analysis of the association between clinicopathological features and EZH2 expression indicated that high EZH2 expression was significantly associated with tumor stage, tumor size, histological differentiation and lymph node metastasis. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that high EZH2 expression was an independent predictor of overall survival. In conclusion, to the best of our knowledge, the data presented in the present study is the first to indicate that EZH2 is upregulated in CRC and may serve as a predictor of poor outcome for patients with CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2017.7647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778885PMC
March 2018

Overexpression of transcription factor activating enhancer binding protein 4 (TFAP4) predicts poor prognosis for colorectal cancer patients.

Exp Ther Med 2017 Oct 2;14(4):3057-3061. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510180, P.R. China.

Transcription factor activating enhancer binding protein 4 (TFAP4) is an important regulator in the genesis and progression of human cancers. Overexpression of TFAP4 has been found to be correlated with several malignancies. The present study assessed the clinical importance of TFAP4 in colorectal cancer (CRC). First, immunohistochemistry was used to analyze TFAP4 expression and the association of TFAP4 expression with clinicopathological features on a tissue microarray containing 208 CRC patients. The results revealed that TFAP4 protein expression was significantly upregulated in CRC tissues compared with that in normal colon tissues (P<0.001). Of note, statistical analysis revealed that TFAP4 expression was significantly correlated with a high pathological grade (P=0.034), advanced clinical stage (P=0.024), enhanced tumor invasion (P=0.002) and lymph node metastasis (P=0.041). In addition, the Cancer Genome Atlas dataset further validated that TFAP4 mRNA levels were increased in CRC with advanced clinical stage (P=0.026), lymph node metastasis (P=0.018) and vascular invasion (P=0.046). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated that CRC patients with high TFAP4 expression had shorter overall survival compared with those with low TFAP4 expression (P=0.011). Importantly, overexpression of TFAP4 was a valuable independent prognostic factor for CRC patients (hazard ratio, 8.200; 95% confidence interval, 1.838-36.591; P=0.006). In summary, TFAP4 may have an important role in CRC progression and upregulation of TFAP4 may be a predictor of poor prognosis for CRC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/etm.2017.4875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585722PMC
October 2017

Gambogic acid potentiates the chemosensitivity of colorectal cancer cells to 5-fluorouracil by inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis.

Exp Ther Med 2017 Feb 2;13(2):662-668. Epub 2017 Jan 2.

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510180, P.R. China.

Chemotherapy using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) for colorectal cancer (CRC) has low specificity and response rates, leading to severe side effects. Gambogic acid (GA), a traditional Chinese medicine, has multi-targeted anticancer effects, including growth inhibition and apoptosis induction. However, it is unclear whether a combination of 5-FU and GA has synergistic anticancer effects in CRC cells. In this study, SW480 and HCT116 human CRC cells and human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) were treated with different concentrations of 5-FU, GA or 5-FU+GA. A Cell Counting kit-8 assay was conducted to quantify cell proliferation. The combination index (CI) was calculated and the median-effect principle was applied to analyze the interaction between 5-FU and GA. Flow cytometry was used to determine the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting were applied to measure P53, survivin and thymidylate synthase (TS) mRNA and protein levels. It was found that 5-FU+GA more pronouncedly inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis, compared with either monotherapy. CI values <1 indicated the synergistic effects of the drugs. 5-FU+GA further decreased P53, survivin and TS mRNA and protein levels in the two CRC cell lines compared with single drugs, whereas increased P53 protein levels were observed in HCT116 cells. Moreover, 5-FU+GA did not increase cytotoxicity to IECs. These results demonstrate that GA enhances the anticancer effects of 5-FU on CRC cells. Combined treatment with 5-FU and GA is effective and safe for CRC cells, and may become a promising chemotherapy treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/etm.2017.4021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5348657PMC
February 2017

Gankyrin sustains PI3K/GSK-3β/β-catenin signal activation and promotes colorectal cancer aggressiveness and progression.

Oncotarget 2016 Dec;7(49):81156-81171

Department of General Surgery, Guangzhou Digestive Disease Center, Guangzhou First People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510180, China.

High levels of angiogenesis, metastasis and chemoresistance are major clinical features of colorectal cancer (CRC), a lethal disease with a high incidence worldwide. Aberrant activation of Wnt/β-catenin pathway contributes to CRC progression. However, little is known about regulatory mechanisms of the β-catenin activity in cancer progression. Here we report that Gankyrin was markedly upregulated in primary tumor tissues from CRC patients and was associated with poor survival. Moreover, we demonstrated that overexpressing Gankyrin promoted, while knockdown of Gankyrin impaired, the aggressive phenotype of proliferation, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and metastasis of CRC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, we found a unique molecular mechanism of Gankyrin in CRC cells signaling transduction, that regulated the cross-talk between PI3K/Akt and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways, sustaining PI3K/GSK-3β/β-catenin signal activation in CRC. Therefore, these findings not only reveal a mechanism that promotes aggressiveness and progression in CRC, but also provide insight into novel molecular targets for antitumor therapy in CRCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5348383PMC
December 2016

[Effect of interleukin 17 on invasion of human colon cancer cells].

Zhonghua Wei Chang Wai Ke Za Zhi 2016 Jun;19(6):695-701

Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Affiliated Guangzhou Municipal People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510180, China.

Objective: To investigate the effect and its possible mechanism of interleukin-17 (IL-17) on invasion and metastasis of human colon cancer cells.

Methods: IL-17 was added into the culture media of human colon cancer cells SW480 and LOVO. Cells were divided into 4 groups: SW480 control group (SW480 cells), LOVO control group (LOVO cells), SW480 experiment group (50 μg/L IL-17+SW480 cells), and LOVO experiment group (50 μg/L IL-17+LOVO cells). Cell growth was measured by CCK-8 assay. The proliferation rate(%)=[(Aexperiment group-Ablank)/(Acontrol group-Ablank)]×100%). The ability of cell invasion and migration was measured by transwell assay. Real time-PCR was used to detect mRNA expression of VEGF and MMP-9. Western blot was performed to detect protein expression of STAT3, p-STAT3, VEGF and MMP-9. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was applied to measure the protein content of VEGF and MMP-9 in the supernatant.

Results: After cultivation for 24, 48 and 72 hours, CCK-8 assay revealed that the proliferation rate of SW480 was 1.18%±0.07%, 1.42%±0.09%, and 1.62%±0.08%; the proliferation rate of LOVO was 1.13%±0.02%, 1.32%±0.05% and 1.73%±0.02% in experiment group. Transwell experiments showed that after cultivation with IL-17 for 24 hours, number of invasion cell in experimental groups (SW480: 34.00±0.45, LOVO: 41.60±0.51) was higher as compared to corresponding control groups (SW480: 4.53±0.14; LOVO: 3.67±0.33) with significant differences (SW480: t=-76.026, P=0.001; LOVO: t=-81.580, P=0.005). The number of migration cell in experimental groups (SW480: 36.40±0.51, LOVO: 46.40±0.68) was higher as compared to corresponding control groups (SW480: 7.83±0.69; LOVO: 6.67±0.48) with significant differences (SW480: t=-51.542, P=0.003; LOVO: t=-49.265, P=0.005). Real-time PCR results revealed that after cultivation with IL-17 for 24 hours, VEGF and MMP-9 mRNA relative expression levels in experimental groups (SW480: VEGF:1.53±0.12, MMP-9: 2.44±0.23; LOVO: VEGF: 2.96±0.35, MMP-9: 3.38±0.55) were higher than those in control groups (both 1) with significant differences (VEGF: t=3.799, P=0.043; MMP-9: t=5.254, P=0.039). Western blot illustrated that after cultivation with IL-17 for 24 hours, STAT3, p-STAT3, VEGF and MMP-9 proteins relative expression levels in experimental groups were significantly higher that those in control groups (SW480:STAT3: t=3.233, P=0.023; p-STAT3: t=3.954, P=0.032; VEGF: t=3.201, P=0.025; MMP-9: t=3.154, P=0.029; LOVO: STAT3: t=3.788, P=0.012; p-STAT3: t=2.662, P=0.040; VEGF: t=4.118, P=0.035; MMP-9: t=4.268, P=0.030). ELISA indicated that content of VEGF and MMP-9 in the supernatant of experimental groups (SW480: VEGF 5 491.41±63.22, MMP-9: 21.43±1.35. LOVO: VEGF: 8 631.46±129.59, MMP-9: 178.32±3.20) were higher than those in control groups (SW480: VEGF:4 456.32±87.56, MMP-9:18.57±2.44. LOVO: VEGF: 8 122.38±108.66, MMP-9: 163.22±6.89) with significant differences (SW480: VEGF: t=6.993, P=0.037; MMP-9: t=5.587, P=0.040. LOVO: VEGF: t=7.013, P=0.044; MMP-9: t=6.762, P=0.043).

Conclusion: IL-17 may be able to activate STAT3 signal transduction pathway in vitro through up-regulation of VEGF and MMP-9 expression, thereby enhancing the invasion and migration of colon cancer SW480 and LOVO cells.
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June 2016