Emerging evidence reveals crucial roles of wild type RAS in liver cancer. The delta subunit of rod-specific photoreceptor cGMP phosphodiesterase
(PDE6D) regulates the trafficking of RAS proteins to the plasma membrane and thereby contributes to RAS activation. However, the expression and specific function of PDE6D in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were completely unknown. In this study, PDE6D was newly found to be markedly upregulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. Overexpression of PDE6D in HCC correlated with enhanced tumor stages, tumor grading, and ERK activation. PDE6D depletion significantly reduced proliferation, clonogenicity, and migration of HCC cells. Moreover, PDE6D was induced by TGF-β1, the mediator of stemness, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and chemoresistance. In non-resistant cells, overexpression of PDE6D conferred resistance to sorafenib-induced toxicity. Further, PDE6D was overexpressed in sorafenib resistance, and inhibition of PDE6D reduced proliferation and migration in sorafenib-resistant HCC cells. Together, PDE6D was found to be overexpressed in liver cancer and correlated with tumor stages, grading, and ERK activation. Moreover, PDE6D contributed to migration, proliferation, and sorafenib resistance in HCC cells, therefore representing a potential novel therapeutic target.
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