Oncogenic Role of THOR, a Conserved Cancer/Testis Long Non-coding RNA.


Large-scale transcriptome sequencing efforts have vastly expanded the catalog of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) with varying evolutionary conservation, lineage expression, and cancer specificity. Here, we functionally characterize a novel ultraconserved lncRNA, THOR (ENSG00000226856), which exhibits expression exclusively in testis and a broad range of human cancers. THOR knockdown and overexpression in multiple cell lines and animal models alters cell or tumor growth supporting an oncogenic role. We discovered a conserved interaction of THOR with IGF2BP1 and show that THOR contributes to the mRNA stabilization activities of IGF2BP1. Notably, transgenic THOR knockout produced fertilization defects in zebrafish and also conferred a resistance to melanoma onset. Likewise, ectopic expression of human THOR in zebrafish accelerated the onset of melanoma. THOR represents a novel class of functionally important cancer/testis lncRNAs whose structure and function have undergone positive evolutionary selection.


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  • Beer DG
  • Bui HH
  • Cao X
  • Chinnaiyan AM
  • Chu SC
  • Dhanasekaran SM
  • Escara-Wilke J
  • Feng FY
  • Freier SM
  • Guo S
  • Hosono Y
  • Iyer MK
  • Johnson TM
  • Malik R
  • Mehra R
  • Niknafs YS
  • Pitchiaya S
  • Poliakov A
  • Prensner JR
  • Qiao Y
  • Saleh S
  • Sankar K
  • Su F
  • Tien J
  • Zhou W
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cell, 2017, 171 (7)