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Long Non-Coding RNA MEG3 in Metal Carcinogenesis

Published: 7 February 2023
 by  MDPI
 in Toxics

Abstract: Most transcripts from human genomes are non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that are not translated into proteins. ncRNAs are divided into long (lncRNAs) and small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs). LncRNAs regulate their target genes both transcriptionally and post-transcriptionally through interactions with proteins, RNAs, and DNAs. Maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3), a lncRNA, functions as a tumor suppressor. MEG3 regulates cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, hypoxia, autophagy, and many other processes involved in tumor development. MEG3 is downregulated in various cancer cell lines and primary human cancers. Heavy metals, such as hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)), arsenic, nickel, and cadmium, are confirmed human carcinogens. The exposure of cells to these metals causes a variety of cancers. Among them, lung cancer is the one that can be induced by exposure to all of these metals. In vitro studies have demonstrated that the chronic exposure of normal human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to these metals can cause malignant cell transformation. Metal-transformed cells have the capability to cause an increase in cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, elevated migration and invasion, and properties of cancer stem-like cells. Studies have revealed that MEG is downregulated in Cr(VI)-transformed cells, nickel-transformed cells, and cadmium (Cd)-transformed cells. The forced expression of MEG3 reduces the migration and invasion of Cr(VI)-transformed cells through the downregulation of the neuronal precursor of developmentally downregulated protein 9 (NEDD9). MEG3 suppresses the malignant cell transformation of nickel-transformed cells. The overexpression of MEG3 decreases Bcl-xL, causing reduced apoptosis resistance in Cd-transformed cells. This paper reviews the current knowledge of lncRNA MEG3 in metal carcinogenesis.
Keywords: metals / carcinogenesis / long non-coding RNA / MEG3

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