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Y Box-Binding Protein 1 Promotes Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, Invasion, and Metastasis of Cervical Cancer via Enhancing the Expressions of Snail
  1. Tianyun Pang, BS*,
  2. Min Li, PhD,
  3. Ye Zhang, BS,
  4. Weiwei Yong, MS,
  5. Haixian Kang, MS,
  6. Yunhong Yao, MS and
  7. Xinrong Hu, MD, PhD
  1. *Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
  2. Pathology, Cancer Research Institute, Guangdong Medical University, Dongguan, China.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Xinrong Hu, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Cancer Research Institute, Guangdong Medical University, Dongguan, China 523808. E-mail:;


Objective Y box-binding protein 1 (YB-1) is a potent oncogenic protein. How it regulates Snail in most tumors including cervical cancer is unknown. This article is to study if YB-1 plays a role in cervical cancer via regulating the expression of Snail.

Methods Immunohistochemical staining of YB-1, Snail, and E-cadherin (E-cad) was performed on tissue specimens including 35 cases of chronic cervicitis (as a control), 35 cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasm (CIN) I, 35 cases of CIN II/III, 28 cases of unmetastatic cervical squamous cell carcinoma, and 19 cases of metastatic cervical squamous cell carcinoma. RNA interference technique was used to knock down YB-1, E6, and Snail genes. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction, western blot, and transwell experiment were used to detect RNA, protein, and cell invasion of cervical cancer cell lines Hela and C33A, respectively.

Results First, YB-1 knockdown significantly reduced messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels of Snail, followed by the increased mRNA and protein levels of E-cad and the decreased invasive ability in both Hela (human papillomavirus [HPV] 18+) and C33A (HPV−) cell lines. Second, YB-1 and Snail protein were correlatively expressed in the group order of metastatic cervical squamous cell carcinoma > unmetastatic cervical squamous cell carcinoma > CINs > cervicitis, with the inverse expression mode of E-cad in the group order, P value less than 0.01, between any 2 groups. Finally, HPV18 E6 knockdown reduced the mRNA and protein levels of YB-1 and Snail in Hela cells.

Conclusions The results firstly reported that YB-1 whose mRNA expression is regulated by HPV18 E6 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition and progression of cervical cancer via enhancing the expressions of Snail, which indicated that YB-1/Snail/epithelial-mesenchymal transition axis could have a potential use in the diagnosis and therapy of cervical cancer metastasis as a cancer marker and molecular target.

  • YB-1
  • Snail
  • EMT
  • Metastasis
  • Cervical cancer

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  • T.P., M.L., and Y.Z. contributed equally to this work.

  • This study was funded by the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (2013B021800061, 2016A020215146), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Dongguan City (2013108101060), the natural science fund of Guangdong province (2014A030313536, 2015A030313519), and the Science & Technology Innovation Project of Guangdong Province (2014–16).

  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.