Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) has been recognized as a precancerous disorder in the oral cavity. Great effort has been made to inhibit the malignant progression of OSF over the past decades, but the cure of this fibrosis disease has not been discovered. In the present study, we found that a long noncoding RNA, LINC00312, was upregulated in OSF tissues, and positively associated with several fibrosis factors, such as α-SMA, type I collagen, and fibronectin. As such, we sought to investigate the role of LINC00312 in OSF progression and identify its interacting factor that mediated oral fibrogenesis. Our results showed that the inhibition of LINC00312 downregulated the myofibroblast activities, including collagen gel contractility, transwell migration, and wound healing, as well as the gene expression of myofibroblast markers. We verified that YBX1 was a downstream factor of LINC00312 and revealed that the downregulation of YBX1 repressed the gene expression of α-SMA and p-Smad2 along with the reduced myofibroblast phenotypes. Most importantly, we demonstrated that the LINC00312-induced myofibroblast activities were reverted by the knockdown of YBX1, suggesting that the LINC00312-mediated myofibroblast transdifferentiation was through YBX1. Collectively, our findings revealed that the LINC00312/ YBX1 axis may serve as a target for the development of therapies against OSF.
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