1. Henan International Joint Laboratory for Nuclear Protein Regulation, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan 475004, China
2. School of Stomatology, Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan 475004, China
3. Kaifeng Municipal Key Laboratory of Cell Signal Transduction, Henan Provincial Engineering Centre for Tumor Molecular Medicine, Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan 475004, China
4. Kaifeng Key Laboratory of Infection and Biological Safety, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan 475004, China
5. The First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan 475001, China
* Equal contributors.
Thyroid cancer (TC) has increased globally, with a prominent increase in small, papillary thyroid cancers. PEST-containing nuclear protein (PCNP), a nuclear protein, has been found to be associated with human cancers in recent years. However, the role and molecular mechanism of PCNP in thyroid cancer remain underexplored. In the present study, the results showed that the expression levels of PCNP in human thyroid tissues were higher than those in adjacent non‐tumor tissues. Overexpression of PCNP reduced the proliferation, migration, and invasion of human thyroid cancer cells and down‐regulation of PCNP showed reverse effects. In addition, PCNP regulated cell cycle arrest through modifications in the expression of cell cycle regulating genes and PCNP affected apoptosis via activation of ERK/JNK/p38 pathway in thyroid cancer cells. Moreover, PCNP overexpression promoted autophagy by reducing the expression levels of Wnt/β‐catenin pathway in TC cells, however, PCNP knockdown had opposite effects. Furthermore, PCNP overexpression reduced the growth of xenografted human thyroid cancer, whereas PCNP knockdown showed opposite trends. In conclusion, in vitro and in vivo data demonstrate that PCNP as a tumor suppressor gene may serve as a novel prognostic and potential therapeutic marker in human thyroid cancer.
Keywords: PCNP, thyroid cancer, cell cycle, apoptosis, autophagy