Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies and has a poor prognosis. Novel diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for HCC are thus urgently needed. CEP55 plays a crucial role in regulating physical cytokinesis. Whether, and how, CEP55 contributes to HCC development remains unclear. Herein, we demonstrate that CEP55 is abnormally upregulated in HCC tissue, and these high levels of CEP55 are closely related to the poor prognosis of HCC patients. Knockdown of CEP55 expression significantly inhibits HCC cell migration and invasion. We also demonstrate that CEP55 physiologically interacts with JAK2 and promotes its phosphorylation; thus, it is a novel regulator of JAK2–STAT3 signaling and its target genes MMP2/9. Finally, blocking JAK2 or STAT3 blunts the stimulation of migration and invasion due to CEP55 overexpression. In summary, our results suggest that CEP55, as an oncogene, promotes HCC cell migration and invasion through regulating JAK2–STAT3–MMPs signaling.
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