Ring Finger Protein 125 Is an Anti-Proliferative Tumor Suppressor in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Takahiro Kodama, Michiko Kodama, Nancy A. Jenkins, Neal G. Copeland, Huanhuan Joyce Chen, Zhubo Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide and the only cancer with an increasing incidence in the United States. Recent advances in sequencing technology have enabled detailed profiling of liver cancer genomes and revealed extensive inter-and intra-tumor heterogeneity, making it difficult to identify driver genes for HCC. To identify HCC driver genes, we performed transposon mutagenesis screens in a mouse HBV model of HCC and discovered many candidate cancer genes (SB/HBV-CCGs). Here, we show that one of these genes, RNF125 is a potent anti-proliferative tumor suppressor gene in HCC. RNF125 is one of nine CCGs whose expression was >3-fold downregulated in human HCC. Depletion of RNF125 in immortalized mouse liver cells led to tumor formation in transplanted mice and accelerated growth of human liver cancer cell lines, while its overexpression inhibited their growth, demonstrating the tumor-suppressive function of RNF125 in mouse and human liver. Whole-transcriptome analysis revealed that RNF125 transcriptionally suppresses multiple genes involved in cell proliferation and/or liver regeneration, including Egfr, Met, and Il6r. Blocking Egfr or Met pathway expression inhibited the increased cell proliferation observed in RNF125 knockdown cells. In HCC patients, low expression levels of RNF125 were correlated with poor prognosis demonstrating an important role for RNF125 in HCC. Collectively, our results identify RNF125 as a novel anti-proliferative tumor suppressor in HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2589
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 24 2022


  • RNF125
  • anti-proliferation
  • driver genes
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • tumor suppressor
  • whole-transcriptome analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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