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Front Cell Dev Biol ; 9: 681372, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1365533

ABSTRACT

Immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is critical in tumor development. C-type (Ca2+ -dependent) lectin (CLEC) receptors, essential in innate pattern recognition, have potential regulatory effects on immune cell trafficking and modulatory effects on cancer cell activity. However, information on the expression and prognostic value of CLECs in HCC is scanty. Herein, we explored the potential role of CLECs in HCC based on TCGA, ONCOMINE, GEPIA, UALCAN, cBioPortal, Metascape, TRRUST, and TIMER databases. Results demonstrated a significantly higher mRNA level of CLEC4A and CLEC4L in HCC tissues than normal liver tissues. Contrarily, we found significantly low CLEC4G/H1/H2/M expression in HCC tissues. The IHC analysis revealed the following: Absence of CLEC4A/J/K/M in normal and liver cancer tissues; high CLEC4C expression in HCC tissues; low expression and zero detection of CLEC4D/E/H1/H2/L in HCC tissues and normal tissues, respectively. And the HepG2 and LX-2 were used to verify the expression level of CLEC4s via qRT-PCR in vitro. Furthermore, the expression of CLEC4H1 (ASGR1) and CLEC4H2 (ASGR2) exhibited a significant relation to clinical stages. However, the expression of CLEC4A, CLEC4D, CLEC4E, CLEC4J (FCER2), CLEC4K (CD207), CLEC4G, CLEC4H1, CLEC4M, and CLEC4H2 decreased with tumor progression. Patients expressing higher CLEC4H1/H2 levels had longer overall survival than patients exhibiting lower expression. Moreover, CLEC4A/D/E/J/K/G/H1/M/H2 had significant down-regulated levels of promoter methylation. The expression level of CLEC4s was correlated with the infiltration of B cells, CD8 + T cells, CD4 + T cells, macrophage cells, neutrophil cells, and dendritic cells. Functional analysis revealed the potential role of CLECL4s in virus infection, including COVID-19. Also, hsa-miR-4278 and hsa-miR-324-5p, two potential miRNA targets of CLEC4s, were uncovered. This article demonstrates that CLEC4 is crucial for the development of HCC and is associated with infiltration of various immune cells, providing evidence for new immunotherapy targets in HCC.

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