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Open AccessArticle

Molecular Mechanism of Aflatoxin-Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Derived from a Bioinformatics Analysis

by Peirong Cai 1,2,3, Hao Zheng 1,2, Jinjin She 1,2, Nannan Feng 1,2, Hui Zou 1,2, Jianhong Gu 1,2, Yan Yuan 1,2, Xuezhong Liu 1,2, Zongping Liu 1,2,3 and Jianchun Bian 1,2,3,*
1
College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
2
Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Yangzhou 225009, China
3
Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety of the Ministry of Education of China, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2020, 12(3), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12030203
Received: 15 February 2020 / Revised: 16 March 2020 / Accepted: 20 March 2020 / Published: 23 March 2020
Exposure to aflatoxin is considered to be one of the causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). With the development of bioinformation, we sought to reveal the occurrence and development of aflatoxin-induced HCC through data research. We identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of datasets GSE127791 (Aflatoxin-treated pluripotent stem cell derived human hepatocytes vs. controls) and GSE64041 (liver carcinoma with unknown cause vs. non-cancerous tissue) by GEO2R to find the common DEGs. Gene ontology (GO) and KEGG path enrichment analysis were used to annotate the function of DEGs. Hub genes were screened from identified DEGs by protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analysis. The prognostic value of hub genes in cancer databases were evaluated. We obtained 132 common DEGs and 11 hub genes. According to cluster analysis and protein co-expression networks, we screened out the key genes, histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 2 (PCK2). Oncomine database and survival curve analysis showed that the decline in HRG and PCK2 expression in the development of HCC indicated poor prognosis. We speculated that the decreased expression of HRG and PCK2 after aflatoxin exposure to hepatocyte may be related to aflatoxin induced hepatocyte injury and carcinogenesis. In addition, the decreased expression of HRG and PCK2 in the occurrence and development of HCC suggests a poor prognosis of HCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: aflatoxin; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); bioinformatics analysis; HRG; PCK2 aflatoxin; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); bioinformatics analysis; HRG; PCK2
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Cai, P.; Zheng, H.; She, J.; Feng, N.; Zou, H.; Gu, J.; Yuan, Y.; Liu, X.; Liu, Z.; Bian, J. Molecular Mechanism of Aflatoxin-Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Derived from a Bioinformatics Analysis. Toxins 2020, 12, 203.

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