The Long Noncoding RNA CCAT2 Induces Chromosomal Instability Through BOP1-AURKB Signaling

Baoqing Chen, Mihnea P. Dragomir, Linda Fabris, Recep Bayraktar, Erik Knutsen, Xu Liu, Changyan Tang, Yongfeng Li, Tadanobu Shimura, Tina Catela Ivkovic, Mireia Cruz De los Santos, Simone Anfossi, Masayoshi Shimizu, Maitri Y. Shah, Hui Ling, Peng Shen, Asha S. Multani, Barbara Pardini, Jared K. Burks, Hiroyuki KatayamaLucas C. Reineke, Longfei Huo, Muddassir Syed, Shumei Song, Manuela Ferracin, Eiji Oki, Bastian Fromm, Cristina Ivan, Krithika Bhuvaneshwar, Yuriy Gusev, Koshi Mimori, David Menter, Subrata Sen, Takatoshi Matsuyama, Hiroyuki Uetake, Catalin Vasilescu, Scott Kopetz, Jan Parker-Thornburg, Ayumu Taguchi, Samir M. Hanash, Leonard Girnita, Ondrej Slaby, Ajay Goel, Gabriele Varani, Mihai Gagea, Chunlai Li, Jaffer A. Ajani, George A. Calin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Chromosomal instability (CIN) is a carcinogenesis event that promotes metastasis and resistance to therapy by unclear mechanisms. Expression of the colon cancer–associated transcript 2 gene (CCAT2), which encodes a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), associates with CIN, but little is known about how CCAT2 lncRNA regulates this cancer enabling characteristic. Methods: We performed cytogenetic analysis of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines (HCT116, KM12C/SM, and HT29) overexpressing CCAT2 and colon organoids from C57BL/6N mice with the CCAT2 transgene and without (controls). CRC cells were also analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy, γ-H2AX, and senescence assays. CCAT2 transgene and control mice were given azoxymethane and dextran sulfate sodium to induce colon tumors. We performed gene expression array and mass spectrometry to detect downstream targets of CCAT2 lncRNA. We characterized interactions between CCAT2 with downstream proteins using MS2 pull-down, RNA immunoprecipitation, and selective 2′-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension analyses. Downstream proteins were overexpressed in CRC cells and analyzed for CIN. Gene expression levels were measured in CRC and non-tumor tissues from 5 cohorts, comprising more than 900 patients. Results: High expression of CCAT2 induced CIN in CRC cell lines and increased resistance to 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin. Mice that expressed the CCAT2 transgene developed chromosome abnormalities, and colon organoids derived from crypt cells of these mice had a higher percentage of chromosome abnormalities compared with organoids from control mice. The transgenic mice given azoxymethane and dextran sulfate sodium developed more and larger colon polyps than control mice given these agents. Microarray analysis and mass spectrometry indicated that expression of CCAT2 increased expression of genes involved in ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis. CCAT2 lncRNA interacted directly with and stabilized BOP1 ribosomal biogenesis factor (BOP1). CCAT2 also increased expression of MYC, which activated expression of BOP1. Overexpression of BOP1 in CRC cell lines resulted in chromosomal missegregation errors, and increased colony formation, and invasiveness, whereas BOP1 knockdown reduced viability. BOP1 promoted CIN by increasing the active form of aurora kinase B, which regulates chromosomal segregation. BOP1 was overexpressed in polyp tissues from CCAT2 transgenic mice compared with healthy tissue. CCAT2 lncRNA and BOP1 mRNA or protein were all increased in microsatellite stable tumors (characterized by CIN), but not in tumors with microsatellite instability compared with nontumor tissues. Increased levels of CCAT2 lncRNA and BOP1 mRNA correlated with each other and with shorter survival times of patients. Conclusions: We found that overexpression of CCAT2 in colon cells promotes CIN and carcinogenesis by stabilizing and inducing expression of BOP1 an activator of aurora kinase B. Strategies to target this pathway might be developed for treatment of patients with microsatellite stable colorectal tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2146-2162.e33
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Aneuploidy
  • MSS
  • Noncoding RNA
  • Tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

MD Anderson CCSG core facilities

  • Flow Cytometry and Cellular Imaging Facility
  • Genetically Engineered Mouse Facility
  • Research Animal Support Facility


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