Lentivirus mediated silencing of Ubiquitin Specific Peptidase 39 inhibits cell proliferation of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro
BACKGROUND: Ubiquitin Specific Peptidase 39 (USP39) is a 65 kDa SR-related protein involved in RNA splicing. Previous studies showed that USP39 is related with tumorigenesis of human breast cancer cells. RESULTS: In the present study, we investigated the functions of USP39 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell line SMMC-7721. We knocked down the expression of USP39 through lentivirus mediated RNA interference. The results of qRT-PCR and western blotting assay showed that both the mRNA and protein levels were suppressed efficiently after USP39 specific shRNA was delivered into SMMC-7721 cells. Cell growth was significantly inhibited as determined by MTT assay. Crystal violet staining indicated that colony numbers and sizes were both reduced after knock-down of USP39. Furthermore, suppression of USP39 arrested cell cycle progression at G2/M phase in SMMC-7721cells. In addition, Annexin V showed that downregulation of USP39 significantly increased the population of apoptotic cells. CONCLUSIONS: All our results suggest that USP39 is important for HCC cell proliferation and is a potential target for molecular therapy of HCC.