Estradiol-mediated inhibition of Sp1 decreases miR-3194-5p expression to enhance CD44 expression during lung cancer progression

Ming Jer Young, Yung Ching Chen, Shao An Wang, Hui Ping Chang, Wen Bin Yang, Chia Chi Lee, Chia Yu Liu, Yau Lin Tseng, Yi Ching Wang, H. Sunny Sun, Wen Chang Chang, Jan Jong Hung

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sp1, an important transcription factor, is involved in the progression of various cancers. Our previous studies have indicated that Sp1 levels are increased in the early stage of lung cancer progression but decrease during the late stage, leading to poor prognosis. In addition, estrogen has been shown to be involved in lung cancer progression. According to previous studies, Sp1 can interact with the estrogen receptor (ER) to coregulate gene expression. The role of interaction between Sp1 and ER in lung cancer progression is still unknown and will be clarified in this study. Methods: The clinical relevance between Sp1 levels and survival rates in young women with lung cancer was studied by immunohistochemistry. We validated the sex dependence of lung cancer progression in EGFRL858R-induced lung cancer mice. Wound healing assays, chamber assays and sphere formation assays in A549 cells, Taxol-induced drug-resistant A549 (A549-T24) and estradiol (E2)-treated A549 (E2-A549) cells were performed to investigate the roles of Taxol and E2 in lung cancer progression. Luciferase reporter assays, immunoblot and q-PCR were performed to evaluate the interaction between Sp1, microRNAs and CD44. Tail vein-injected xenograft experiments were performed to study lung metastasis. Samples obtained from lung cancer patients were used to study the mRNA level of CD44 by q-PCR and the protein levels of Sp1 and CD44 by immunoblot and immunohistochemistry. Results: In this study, we found that Sp1 expression was decreased in premenopausal women with late-stage lung cancer, resulting in a poor prognosis. Tumor formation was more substantial in female EGFRL858R mice than in male mice and ovariectomized female mice, indicating that E2 might be involved in the poor prognosis of lung cancer. We herein report that Sp1 negatively regulates metastasis and cancer stemness in E2-A549 and A549-T24 cells. Furthermore, E2 increases the mRNA and protein levels of RING finger protein 4 (RNF4), which is the E3-ligase of Sp1, and thereby decreases Sp1 levels by promoting Sp1 degradation. Sp1 can be recruited to the promoter of miR-3194-5p, and positively regulate its expression. Furthermore, there was a strong inverse correlation between Sp1 and CD44 levels in clinical lung cancer specimens. Sp1 inhibited CD44 expression by increasing the expression of miR-3194-5p, miR-218-5p, miR-193-5p, miR-182-5p and miR-135-5p, ultimately resulting in lung cancer malignancy. Conclusion: Premenopausal women with lung cancer and decreased Sp1 levels have a poor prognosis. E2 increases RNF4 expression to repress Sp1 levels in premenopausal women with lung cancer, thus decreasing the expression of several miRNAs that can target CD44 and ultimately leading to cancer malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)3
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 17 2022


  • CD44
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Lung cancer
  • microRNAs
  • RNF4
  • Sp1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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