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Activation of cellular transcriptional responses, mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), is common in many types of cancer, and generally confers a poor prognosis. Known to induce many hundreds of protein-coding genes, HIF has also recently been shown to be a key regulator of the non-coding transcriptional response. Here, we show that NEAT1 long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is a direct transcriptional target of HIF in many breast cancer cell lines and in solid tumors. Unlike previously described lncRNAs, NEAT1 is regulated principally by HIF-2 rather than by HIF-1. NEAT1 is a nuclear lncRNA that is an essential structural component of paraspeckles and the hypoxic induction of NEAT1 induces paraspeckle formation in a manner that is dependent upon both NEAT1 and on HIF-2. Paraspeckles are multifunction nuclear structures that sequester transcriptionally active proteins as well as RNA transcripts that have been subjected to adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing. We show that the nuclear retention of one such transcript, F11R (also known as junctional adhesion molecule 1, JAM1), in hypoxia is dependent upon the hypoxic increase in NEAT1, thereby conferring a novel mechanism of HIF-dependent gene regulation. Induction of NEAT1 in hypoxia also leads to accelerated cellular proliferation, improved clonogenic survival and reduced apoptosis, all of which are hallmarks of increased tumorigenesis. Furthermore, in patients with breast cancer, high tumor NEAT1 expression correlates with poor survival. Taken together, these results indicate a new role for HIF transcriptional pathways in the regulation of nuclear structure and that this contributes to the pro-tumorigenic hypoxia-phenotype in breast cancer.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/onc.2014.378

Type

Journal article

Journal

Oncogene

Publication Date

20/08/2015

Volume

34

Pages

4482 - 4490

Keywords

Animals, Apoptosis, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, Breast Neoplasms, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Cell Hypoxia, Cell Proliferation, Cell Survival, Female, Humans, Mice, RNA, Long Noncoding, Receptors, Cell Surface, Transcriptional Activation