The oncogenic RNA-binding protein SRSF1 regulates LIG1 in non-small cell lung cancer
In recent years, the relevance of RNA metabolism has been increasingly recognized in a variety of diseases. Modifications in the levels of RNA-binding proteins elicit changes in the expression of cancer-related genes. Here we evaluate whether SRSF1 regulates the expression of DNA repair genes, and whether this regulation has a relevant role in lung carcinogenesis. An in silico analysis was performed to evaluate the association between the expression of SRSF1 and DNA repair genes. In vitro functional analyses were conducted in SRSF1 or DNA ligase 1 (LIG1)-downregulated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines. In addition, the prognostic value of LIG1 was evaluated in NSCLC patients by immunohistochemistry. We found a significant correlation between the DNA repair gene LIG1 and SRSF1 in NSCLC cell lines. Moreover, SRSF1 binds to LIG1 mRNA and regulates its expression by increasing its mRNA stability and enhancing its translation in an mTOR-dependent manner. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated LIG1 inhibition reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis of NSCLC cells. Finally, the expression of LIG1 was an independent prognostic factor for NSCLC, as confirmed in a series of 210 patients. These results show that LIG1 is regulated by the oncoprotein SRSF1 and plays a relevant role in lung cancer cell proliferation and progression. LIG1 is associated with poor prognosis in non-small lung cancer patients.