SOCS3 gene silencing does not occur through methylation and mutations in gastric cancer

Atika Al Saqri, Shika Hanif Malgundkar, Fatima Al Kindi, Ishita Gupta, Mansour Al Moundhri, Yahya Tamimi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Gastric cancer (GC) is ranked the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Mutations and epigenetic alterations in several essential genes, including p53, KRAS, PIK3CA, FAT4 and ARID1A, are often reported. Furthermore, loss of SOCS3 expression was reported in GC, suggesting its tumor suppressor role. To assess the mutational and methylation status of SOCS3, we performed gene panel exome sequencing on 47 human GC samples. The SOCS3 gene was rarely mutated, suggesting alternative regulation mechanisms, such as promoter hypermethylation and/or long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). We first explored SOCS3 promoter methylation status in 44 human GC samples by methylation-specific PCR (MS-PCR). Thirteen out of forty-four patients (29.5%) displayed a methylation pattern. Then, to see whether SOCS3 expression is silenced by CpG methylation, we examined publicly available databases (cbioportal and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)). The analysis revealed β values lower than 0.1, indicating hypo-methylation in healthy and GC samples. Moreover, moderate methylation (β < 0.4) and high methylation (β > 0.4) did not affect the free survival, suggesting that methylation is unlikely to be the mechanism ruling SOCS3 silencing in GC. Next, to assess the regulatory effects of lncRNAs on SOCS3, we silenced the AC125807.2-lncRNA and quantified the SOCS3 gene expression in AGS and NCI-N87 gastric cancer cell line. SOCS3 was found to be downregulated following AC125807.2-lncRNA silencing in AGS cells, suggesting the potential implication of lncRNA AC125807.2 in SOCS3 regulation. However, in NCI-N87 cells, there was no significant change in SOCS3 expression. In conclusion, neither mutations nor hypermethylation was associated with the SOCS3 downregulation in GC, and alternative mechanisms, including non-coding RNAs-mediated gene silencing, may be proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1125
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 21 2022


  • Bioinformatics
  • Gastric cancer
  • Long non-coding RNA
  • Methylation
  • SOCS3
  • Stomach Neoplasms/genetics
  • Mutation/genetics
  • Humans
  • Gene Silencing
  • DNA Methylation/genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding/genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein/genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic/genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology


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