Metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript-1 (MALAT-1) is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that is a negative prognostic factor for patients with pancreatic cancer and several other tumors. In this study, we show that knockdown of MALAT-1 in Panc1 and other pancreatic cancer cell lines decreases cell proliferation, survival and migration. We previously observed similar results for the lncRNAs HOTTIP and HOTAIR in Panc1 cells; however, RNAseq comparison of genes regulated by MALAT-1 shows minimal overlap with HOTTIP/HOTAIR-regulated genes. Analysis of changes in gene expression after MALAT-1 knockdown shows that this lncRNA represses several tumor suppressor-like genes including N-myc downregulated gene-1 (NDRG-1), a tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer that is also corepressed by EZH2 (a PRC2 complex member). We also observed that Specificity proteins Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 are overexpressed in Panc1 cells and Sp knockdown or treatment with small molecules that decrease Sp proteins expression also decrease MALAT-1 expression. We also generated Kras-overexpressing p53L/L;LSL-KrasG12DL/+;p48Cre+/-(p53L/L/KrasG12D) and p53L/+;LSLKrasG12DL/+;p48Cre+/- (p53L/+/KrasG12D) mice which are p53 homo- and heterozygous, respectively. These mice rapidly develop pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma-like tumors and were crossed with MALAT-1-/- mice. We observed that the loss of one or two MALAT-1 alleles in these Ras overexpressing mice does not significantly affect the time to death; however, the loss of MALAT-1 in the p53-/+ (heterozygote) mice slightly increases their lifespan.
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