IFN{gamma}-Induced IFIT5 Promotes Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Prostate Cancer via miRNA Processing

IFNγ, a potent cytokine known to modulate tumor immunity and tumoricidal effects, is highly elevated in patients with prostate cancer after radiation. In this study, we demonstrate that IFNγ can induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in prostate cancer cells via the JAK–STAT signaling pathway, leading to the transcription of IFN-stimulated genes (ISG) such as IFN-induced tetratricopeptide repeat 5 (IFIT5). We unveil a new function of IFIT5 complex in degrading precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNA) that includes pre-miR-363 from the miR-106a-363 cluster as well as pre-miR-101 and pre-miR-128, who share a similar 5′-end structure with pre-miR-363. These suppressive miRNAs exerted a similar function by targeting EMT transcription factors in prostate cancer cells. Depletion of IFIT5 decreased IFNγ-induced cell invasiveness in vitro and lung metastasis in vivo. IFIT5 was highly elevated in high-grade prostate cancer and its expression inversely correlated with these suppressive miRNAs. Altogether, this study unveils a prometastatic role of the IFNγ pathway via a new mechanism of action, which raises concerns about its clinical application.Significance: A unique IFIT5–XRN1 complex involved in the turnover of specific tumor suppressive microRNAs is the underlying mechanism of IFNγ-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer.See related commentary by Liu and Gao, p. 1032

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