H19-dependent transcriptional regulation of β3 and β4 integrins upon estrogen and hypoxia favors metastatic potential in prostate cancer

Lorenza Bacci, Aurora Aiello, Cristian Ripoli, Rossella Loria, Dario Pugliese, Francesco Pierconti, Dante Rotili, Lidia Strigari, Francesco Pinto, Pier Francesco Bassi, Antonello Mai, Claudio Grassi, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Rita Falcioni, Antonella Farsetti, Simona Nanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estrogen and hypoxia promote an aggressive phenotype in prostate cancer (PCa), driving transcription of progression-associated genes. Here, we molecularly dissect the contribution of long non-coding RNA H19 to PCa metastatic potential under combined stimuli, a topic largely uncovered. The effects of estrogen and hypoxia on H19 and cell adhesion molecules' expression were investigated in PCa cells and PCa-derived organotypic slice cultures (OSCs) by qPCR and Western blot. The molecular mechanism was addressed by chromatin immunoprecipitations, overexpression, and silencing assays. PCa cells' metastatic potential was analyzed by in vitro cell-cell adhesion, motility test, and trans-well invasion assay. We found that combined treatment caused a significant H19 down-regulation as compared with hypoxia. In turn, H19 acts as a transcriptional repressor of cell adhesion molecules, as revealed by up-regulation of both β3 and β4 integrins and E-cadherin upon H19 silencing or combined treatment. Importantly, H19 down-regulation and β integrins induction were also observed in treated OSCs. Combined treatment increased both cell motility and invasion of PCa cells. Lastly, reduction of β integrins and invasion was achieved through epigenetic modulation of H19-dependent transcription. Our study revealed that estrogen and hypoxia transcriptionally regulate, via H19, cell adhesion molecules redirecting metastatic dissemination from EMT to a β integrin-mediated invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4012
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2019


  • Biomolecular analysis
  • Epigenetic modulators
  • Estrogen
  • H19
  • Hypoxia
  • LncRNA
  • Prostate cancer
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tumor metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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