Chromosomal structural variations play an important role in determining the transcriptional landscape of human breast cancers. To assess the nature of these structural variations, we analyzed eight breast tumor samples with a focus on regions of gene amplification using mate-pair sequencing of long-insert genomic DNA with matched transcriptome profiling. We found that tandem duplications appear to be early events in tumor evolution, especially in the genesis of amplicons. In a detailed reconstruction of events on chromosome 17, we found large unpaired inversions and deletions connect a tandemly duplicated ERBB2 with neighboring 17q21.3 amplicons while simultaneously deleting the intervening BRCA1 tumor suppressor locus. This series of events appeared to be unusually common when examined in larger genomic data sets of breast cancers albeit using approaches with lesser resolution. Using siRNAs in breast cancer cell lines, we showed that the 17q21.3 amplicon harbored a significant number of weak oncogenes that appeared consistently coamplified in primary tumors. Down-regulation of BRCA1 expression augmented the cell proliferation in ERBB2-transfected human normal mammary epithelial cells. Coamplification of other functionally tested oncogenic elements in other breast tumors examined, such as RIPK2 and MYC on chromosome 8, also parallel these findings. Our analyses suggest that structural variations efficiently orchestrate the gain and loss of cancer gene cassettes that engage many oncogenic pathways simultaneously and that such oncogenic cassettes are favored during the evolution of a cancer.
Delineating candidate genes at the chromosomal breakpoint regions in the apparently balanced chromosome rearrangements (ABCR) has been shown to be more effective with the emergence of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. We employed a large-insert (7-11 kb) paired-end tag sequencing technology (DNA-PET) to systematically analyze genome of four patients harbouring cytogenetically defined ABCR with neurodevelopmental symptoms, including developmental delay (DD) and speech disorders. We characterized structural variants (SVs) specific to each individual, including those matching the chromosomal breakpoints. Refinement of these regions by Sanger sequencing resulted in the identification of five disrupted genes in three individuals: guanine nucleotide binding protein, q polypeptide (GNAQ), RNA-binding protein, fox-1 homolog (RBFOX3), unc-5 homolog D (C.elegans) (UNC5D), transmembrane protein 47 (TMEM47), and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP). Among them, XIAP is the causative gene for the immunodeficiency phenotype seen in the patient. The remaining genes displayed specific expression in the fetal brain and have known biologically relevant functions in brain development, suggesting putative candidate genes for neurodevelopmental phenotypes. This study demonstrates the application of NGS technologies in mapping individual gene disruptions in ABCR as a resource for deciphering candidate genes in human neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs).
The closely related transcription factors (TFs), estrogen receptors ER? and ER?, regulate divergent gene expression programs and proliferative outcomes in breast cancer. Utilizing breast cancer cells with ER?, ER?, or both receptors as a model system to define the basis for differing response specification by related TFs, we show that these TFs and their key coregulators, SRC3 and RIP140, generate overlapping as well as unique chromatin-binding and transcription-regulating modules. Cistrome and transcriptome analyses and the use of clustering algorithms delineated 11 clusters representing different chromatin-bound receptor and coregulator assemblies that could be functionally associated through enrichment analysis with distinct patterns of gene regulation and preferential coregulator usage, RIP140 with ER? and SRC3 with ER?. The receptors modified each others transcriptional effect, and ER? countered the proliferative drive of ER? through several novel mechanisms associated with specific binding-site clusters. Our findings delineate distinct TF-coregulator assemblies that function as control nodes, specifying precise patterns of gene regulation, proliferation, and metabolism, as exemplified by two of the most important nuclear hormone receptors in human breast cancer.
A recent publication questions the suitability of mice as a model for the human inflammatory response and has fueled the continuing debate about the suitability of mice as models for human disease. We discuss recent advances in disease modeling using mice, and the genetic factors that need to be considered when trying to recapitulate aspects of human disease. Failure to appreciate the important differences between human and mouse biology and genetics underlying attempts to generate faithful models frequently leads to poor outcomes. Closely coordinated human and model organism studies are essential to provide traction for translational research.
Histone modifications are key regulators of chromatin function. However, little is known to what extent histone modifications can directly impact on chromatin. Here, we address how a modification within the globular domain of histones regulates chromatin function. We demonstrate that H3K122ac can be sufficient to stimulate transcription and that mutation of H3K122 impairs transcriptional activation, which we attribute to a direct effect of H3K122ac on histone-DNA binding. In line with this, we find that H3K122ac defines genome-wide genetic elements and chromatin features associated with active transcription. Furthermore, H3K122ac is catalyzed by the coactivators p300/CBP and can be induced by nuclear hormone receptor signaling. Collectively, this suggests that transcriptional regulators elicit their effects not only via signaling to histone tails but also via direct structural perturbation of nucleosomes by directing acetylation to their lateral surface.
The zebrafish is recognized as a versatile cancer and drug screening model. However, it is not known whether the estrogen-responsive genes and signaling pathways that are involved in estrogen-dependent carcinogenesis and human cancer are operating in zebrafish. In order to determine the potential of zebrafish model for estrogen-related cancer research, we investigated the molecular conservation of estrogen responses operating in both zebrafish and human cancer cell lines.
Secretory factors that drive cancer progression are attractive immunotherapeutic targets. We used a whole-genome data-mining approach on multiple cohorts of breast tumours annotated for clinical outcomes to discover such factors. We identified Serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 1 (SPINK1) to be associated with poor survival in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) cases. Immunohistochemistry showed that SPINK1 was absent in normal breast, present in early and advanced tumours, and its expression correlated with poor survival in ER+ tumours. In ER- cases, the prognostic effect did not reach statistical significance. Forced expression and/or exposure to recombinant SPINK1 induced invasiveness without affecting cell proliferation. However, down-regulation of SPINK1 resulted in cell death. Further, SPINK1 overexpressing cells were resistant to drug-induced apoptosis due to reduced caspase-3 levels and high expression of Bcl2 and phospho-Bcl2 proteins. Intriguingly, these anti-apoptotic effects of SPINK1 were abrogated by mutations of its protease inhibition domain. Thus, SPINK1 affects multiple aggressive properties in breast cancer: survival, invasiveness and chemoresistance. Because SPINK1 effects are abrogated by neutralizing antibodies, we suggest that SPINK1 is a viable potential therapeutic target in breast cancer.
The HUGO Pan-Asian SNP consortium conducted the largest survey to date of human genetic diversity among Asians by sampling 1,719 unrelated individuals among 71 populations from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. We have constructed a database (PanSNPdb), which contains these data and various new analyses of them. PanSNPdb is a research resource in the analysis of the population structure of Asian peoples, including linkage disequilibrium patterns, haplotype distributions, and copy number variations. Furthermore, PanSNPdb provides an interactive comparison with other SNP and CNV databases, including HapMap3, JSNP, dbSNP and DGV and thus provides a comprehensive resource of human genetic diversity. The information is accessible via a widely accepted graphical interface used in many genetic variation databases. Unrestricted access to PanSNPdb and any associated files is available at: http://www4a.biotec.or.th/PASNP.
Somatic genome rearrangements are thought to play important roles in cancer development. We optimized a long-span paired-end-tag (PET) sequencing approach using 10-Kb genomic DNA inserts to study human genome structural variations (SVs). The use of a 10-Kb insert size allows the identification of breakpoints within repetitive or homology-containing regions of a few kilobases in size and results in a higher physical coverage compared with small insert libraries with the same sequencing effort. We have applied this approach to comprehensively characterize the SVs of 15 cancer and two noncancer genomes and used a filtering approach to strongly enrich for somatic SVs in the cancer genomes. Our analyses revealed that most inversions, deletions, and insertions are germ-line SVs, whereas tandem duplications, unpaired inversions, interchromosomal translocations, and complex rearrangements are over-represented among somatic rearrangements in cancer genomes. We demonstrate that the quantitative and connective nature of DNA-PET data is precise in delineating the genealogy of complex rearrangement events, we observe signatures that are compatible with breakage-fusion-bridge cycles, and we discover that large duplications are among the initial rearrangements that trigger genome instability for extensive amplification in epithelial cancers.
Using a long-span, paired-end deep sequencing strategy, we have comprehensively identified cancer genome rearrangements in eight breast cancer genomes. Herein, we show that 40%-54% of these structural genomic rearrangements result in different forms of fusion transcripts and that 44% are potentially translated. We find that single segmental tandem duplication spanning several genes is a major source of the fusion gene transcripts in both cell lines and primary tumors involving adjacent genes placed in the reverse-order position by the duplication event. Certain other structural mutations, however, tend to attenuate gene expression. From these candidate gene fusions, we have found a fusion transcript (RPS6KB1-VMP1) recurrently expressed in ?30% of breast cancers associated with potential clinical consequences. This gene fusion is caused by tandem duplication on 17q23 and appears to be an indicator of local genomic instability altering the expression of oncogenic components such as MIR21 and RPS6KB1.
At the symposium, approaches to individualized cancer medicine were considered, from basic sciences (genetics, epigenetics, biological tumor signatures) to clinical investigations, including strategies about how best to undertake the clinical development of targeted agents.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) represents a diverse group of hematological malignancies, of which follicular lymphoma (FL) is a prevalent subtype. A previous genome-wide association study has established a marker, rs10484561 in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II region on 6p21.32 associated with increased FL risk. Here, in a three-stage genome-wide association study, starting with a genome-wide scan of 379 FL cases and 791 controls followed by validation in 1,049 cases and 5,790 controls, we identified a second independent FL-associated locus on 6p21.32, rs2647012 (OR(combined)? = 0.64, P(combined)? = 2 × 10(-21)) located 962 bp away from rs10484561 (r(2)<0.1 in controls). After mutual adjustment, the associations at the two SNPs remained genome-wide significant (rs2647012:OR(adjusted) ?= 0.70, P(adjusted)? =? 4 × 10(-12); rs10484561:OR(adjusted) ?= 1.64, P(adjusted) ?= 5 × 10(-15)). Haplotype and coalescence analyses indicated that rs2647012 arose on an evolutionarily distinct haplotype from that of rs10484561 and tags a novel allele with an opposite (protective) effect on FL risk. Moreover, in a follow-up analysis of the top 6 FL-associated SNPs in 4,449 cases of other NHL subtypes, rs10484561 was associated with risk of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (OR(combined) ?= 1.36, P(combined)? =? 1.4 × 10(-7)). Our results reveal the presence of allelic heterogeneity within the HLA class II region influencing FL susceptibility and indicate a possible shared genetic etiology with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These findings suggest that the HLA class II region plays a complex yet important role in NHL.
Given the role of estrogen in breast carcinogenesis and the modification of estrogen receptor (ER) activity by its biochemical cofactors, we hypothesize that genetic variation within ER cofactor genes alters cellular response to estrogen exposure and consequently modifies the risk for ER-positive breast cancer.
Despite the role of the estrogen receptor ? (ER?) pathway as a key growth driver for breast cells, the phenotypic consequence of exogenous introduction of ER? into ER?-negative cells paradoxically has been growth inhibition. We mapped the binding profiles of ER? and its interacting transcription factors (TFs), FOXA1 and GATA3 in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, and observed that these three TFs form a functional enhanceosome that regulates the genes driving core ER? function and cooperatively modulate the transcriptional networks previously ascribed to ER? alone. We demonstrate that these enhanceosome occupied sites are associated with optimal enhancer characteristics with highest p300 co-activator recruitment, RNA Pol II occupancy, and chromatin opening. Most importantly, we show that the transfection of all three TFs was necessary to reprogramme the ER?-negative MDA-MB-231 and BT-549 cells to restore the estrogen-responsive growth resembling estrogen-treated ER?-positive MCF-7 cells. Cumulatively, these results suggest that all the enhanceosome components comprising ER?, FOXA1, and GATA3 are necessary for the full repertoire of cancer-associated effects of the ER?.
The large number of estrogen receptor (ER) binding sites of various sequence patterns requires a sensitive detection to differentiate between subtle differences in ER-DNA binding affinities. A self-assembled monolayer (SAM)-assisted silicon nanowire (SiNW) biosensor for specific and highly sensitive detection of protein-DNA interactions, remarkably in nuclear extracts prepared from breast cancer cells, is presented. As a typical model, estrogen receptor element (ERE, dsDNA) and estrogen receptor alpha (ER?, protein) binding was adopted in the work. The SiNW surface was coated with a vinyl-terminated SAM, and the termination of the surface was changed to carboxylic acid via oxidation. DNA modified with amine group was subsequently immobilized on the SiNW surface. Protein-DNA binding was finally investigated by the functionalized SiNW biosensor. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were employed to characterize the stepwise functionalization of the SAM and DNA on bare silicon surface, and to visualize protein-DNA binding on the SiNW surface, respectively. We observed that ER? had high sequence specificity to the SiNW biosensor which was functionalized with three different EREs including wild-type, mutant and scrambled DNA sequences. We also demonstrate that the specific DNA-functionalized SiNW biosensor was capable of detecting ER? as low as 10 fM. Impressively, the developed SiNW biosensor was able to detect ER?-DNA interactions in nuclear extracts from breast cancer cells. The SAM-assisted SiNW biosensor, as a label-free and highly sensitive tool, shows a potential in studying protein-DNA interactions.
Pyrosequencing is a DNA sequencing technique based on sequencing-by-synthesis enabling rapid and real-time sequence determination. Although ample genomic research has been undertaken using pyrosequencing, the requirement of relatively high amount of DNA template and the difficulty in sequencing the homopolymeric regions limit its key advantages in the applications directing towards clinical research. In this study, we demonstrate that pyrosequencing on homopolymeric regions with 10 identical nucleotides can be successfully performed with optimal amount of DNA (0.3125-5 pmol) immobilized on conventional non-porous Sepharose beads. We also validate that by using porous silica beads, the sequencing signal increased 3.5-folds as compared to that produced from same amount of DNA immobilized on solid Sepharose beads. Our results strongly indicate that with optimized quantity of DNA and suitable solid support, the performance of pyrosequencing on homopolymeric regions and its detection limit has been significantly improved.
We report herein that trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) is oncogenic and mediates anti-estrogen resistance in human mammary carcinoma. Forced expression of TFF3 in mammary carcinoma cells increased cell proliferation and survival, enhanced anchorage-independent growth, and promoted migration and invasion. Moreover, forced expression of TFF3 increased tumor size in xenograft models. Conversely, depletion of endogenous TFF3 with small interfering RNA (siRNA) decreased the oncogenicity and invasiveness of mammary carcinoma cells. Neutralization of secreted TFF3 by antibody promoted apoptosis, decreased cell growth in vitro, and arrested mammary carcinoma xenograft growth. TFF3 expression was significantly correlated to decreased survival of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen. Forced expression of TFF3 in mammary carcinoma cells increased ER transcriptional activity, promoted estrogen-independent growth, and produced resistance to tamoxifen and fulvestrant in vitro and to tamoxifen in xenograft models. siRNA-mediated depletion or antibody inhibition of TFF3 significantly enhanced the efficacy of antiestrogens. Increased TFF3 expression was observed in tamoxifen-resistant (TAMR) cells and antibody inhibition of TFF3 in TAMR cells improved tamoxifen sensitivity. Functional antagonism of TFF3 therefore warrants consideration as a novel therapeutic strategy for mammary carcinoma.
To thoroughly understand the role that estrogen receptors partake in regulation of gene expression, characterization of estrogen receptors (ERs) and estrogen-response elements (EREs) interactions is essential. In the work, we present a highly sensitive and reusable silicon nanowire (SiNW) biosensor to study the interactions between human ER proteins (ER, ? and ? subtypes) and EREs (dsDNA). The proteins were covalently immobilized on the SiNW surface. Various EREs including wild-type, mutant and scrambled DNA sequences were then applied to the protein-functionalized SiNW surface. Due to negatively charged dsDNA, binding of the EREs to the ERs on the n-type SiNW biosensor leads to the accumulation of negative charges on the surface, thereby inducing increase in resistance. The results show that the specificity of the ERE-ER? binding is higher than that of the ERE-ER? binding, what is more, the mutant ERE reduces the binding affinity for both ER? and ER?. By applying various concentrations of wild-type ERE to the bound ER?, a very low concentration of 10 fM wild-type ERE was found to be able to bind to the ER?. The reversible association and dissociation between ER? and wt-ERE was achieved, pointing to a reusable biosensor for protein-DNA binding. Through the study, we have established the SiNW biosensor as a promising method in providing comprehensive study for hormone receptor-response element interactions.
Despite the central role of estrogen exposure in breast and endometrial cancer development and numerous studies of genes in the estrogen metabolic pathway, polymorphisms within the pathway have not been consistently associated with these cancers. We posit that this is due to the complexity of multiple weak genetic effects within the metabolic pathway that can only be effectively detected through multi-variant analysis. We conducted a comprehensive association analysis of the estrogen metabolic pathway by interrogating 239 tagSNPs within 35 genes of the pathway in three tumor samples. The discovery sample consisted of 1,596 breast cancer cases, 719 endometrial cancer cases, and 1,730 controls from Sweden; and the validation sample included 2,245 breast cancer cases and 1,287 controls from Finland. We performed admixture maximum likelihood (AML)-based global tests to evaluate the cumulative effect from multiple SNPs within the whole metabolic pathway and three sub-pathways for androgen synthesis, androgen-to-estrogen conversion, and estrogen removal. In the discovery sample, although no single polymorphism was significant after correction for multiple testing, the pathway-based AML global test suggested association with both breast (p(global) = 0.034) and endometrial (p(global) = 0.052) cancers. Further testing revealed the association to be focused on polymorphisms within the androgen-to-estrogen conversion sub-pathway, for both breast (p(global) = 0.008) and endometrial cancer (p(global) = 0.014). The sub-pathway association was validated in the Finnish sample of breast cancer (p(global) = 0.015). Further tumor subtype analysis demonstrated that the association of the androgen-to-estrogen conversion sub-pathway was confined to postmenopausal women with sporadic estrogen receptor positive tumors (p(global) = 0.0003). Gene-based AML analysis suggested CYP19A1 and UGT2B4 to be the major players within the sub-pathway. Our study indicates that the composite genetic determinants related to the androgen-estrogen conversion are important for the induction of two hormone-associated cancers, particularly for the hormone-driven breast tumour subtypes.
The 11th International Meeting on Human Genome Variation and Complex Genome Analysis (HGV2009: Tallinn, Estonia, 11th-13th September 2009) provided a stimulating workshop environment where diverse academics and industry representatives explored the latest progress, challenges, and opportunities in relating genome variation to evolution, technology, health, and disease. Key themes included Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS), progress beyond GWAS, sequencing developments, and bioinformatics approaches to large-scale datasets.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
A major question in transcription factor (TF) biology is why a TF binds to only a small fraction of motif eligible binding sites in the genome. Using the estrogen receptor-? as a model system, we sought to explicitly define parameters that determine TF-binding site selection. By examining 12 genetic and epigenetic parameters, we find that an energetically favorable estrogen response element (ERE) motif sequence, co-occupancy by the TF FOXA1, the presence of the H3K4me1 mark and an open chromatin configuration in the pre-ligand state provide specificity for ER binding. These factors can model estrogen-induced ER binding with high accuracy (ROC-AUC=0.95 and 0.88 using different genomic backgrounds). Moreover, when assessed in another estrogen-responsive cell line, this model was highly predictive for ER? binding (ROC-AUC=0.86). Variance in binding site selection between MCF-7 and T47D resides in sites with suboptimal ERE motifs, but modulated by the chromatin configuration. These results suggest a definable interplay between sequence motifs and local chromatin in selecting TF binding.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are widely used as colorimetric probes for biosensing, relying on their unique particle size-dependent and/or interparticle distance-dependent extinction spectrum and solution color. Herein, we describe an AuNP-based colorimetric assay to detect binding interactions between nuclear hormone receptors and their corresponding DNA-binding elements, particularly the human estrogen receptors (ERalpha and ERbeta) and their cognate estrogen response elements (EREs). We found that the protein-DNA (ER-ERE) complexes can stabilize citrate anion-capped AuNPs against salt-induced aggregation to a larger extent than the protein (ER) or the DNA (ERE) alone, due to their unique molecular size and charge properties that provide a strong electrosteric protection. Moreover, our results show that the extent of stabilization is sequence-dependent and can distinguish a single base variation in the ERE associated with minor changes in protein-DNA binding affinity. With this assay, many important parameters of protein-DNA binding events (e.g., sequence selectivity, distinct DNA binding properties of protein subtypes, binding stoichiometry, and sequence-independent transient binding) can be determined instantly without using labels, tedious sample preparations, and sophisticated instrumentation. These benefits, in particular the high-throughput potential, could enable this assay to become the assay of choice to complement conventional techniques for large scale characterization of protein-DNA interactions, a key aspect in biological research.
The transcription factor early B cell factor-1 (Ebf1) is a key determinant of B lineage specification and differentiation. To gain insight into the molecular basis of Ebf1 function in early-stage B cells, we combined a genome-wide ChIP sequencing analysis with gain- and loss-of-function transcriptome analyses. Among 565 genes that are occupied and transcriptionally regulated by Ebf1, we identified large sets involved in (pre)-B cell receptor and Akt signaling, cell adhesion, and migration. Interestingly, a third of previously described Pax5 targets was found to be occupied by Ebf1. In addition to Ebf1-activated and -repressed genes, we identified targets at which Ebf1 induces chromatin changes that poise the genes for expression at subsequent stages of differentiation. Poised chromatin states on specific targets could also be established by Ebf1 expression in T cells but not in NIH 3T3 cells, suggesting that Ebf1 acts as a "pioneer" factor in a hematopoietic chromatin context.
To identify genetic susceptibility loci for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), a genome-wide association study was performed using 464,328 autosomal SNPs in 1,583 NPC affected individuals (cases) and 1,894 controls of southern Chinese descent. The top 49 SNPs from the genome-wide association study were genotyped in 3,507 cases and 3,063 controls of southern Chinese descent from Guangdong and Guangxi. The seven supportive SNPs were further confirmed by transmission disequilibrium test analysis in 279 trios from Guangdong. We identified three new susceptibility loci, TNFRSF19 on 13q12 (rs9510787, Pcombined=1.53x10(-9), odds ratio (OR)=1.20), MDS1-EVI1 on 3q26 (rs6774494, Pcombined=1.34x10(-8), OR=0.84) and the CDKN2A-CDKN2B gene cluster on 9p21 (rs1412829, Pcombined=4.84x10(-7), OR=0.78). Furthermore, we confirmed the role of HLA by revealing independent associations at rs2860580 (Pcombined=4.88x10(-67), OR=0.58), rs2894207 (Pcombined=3.42x10(-33), OR=0.61) and rs28421666 (Pcombined=2.49x10(-18), OR=0.67). Our findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of NPC by highlighting the involvement of pathways related to TNFRSF19 and MDS1-EVI1 in addition to HLA molecules.
Asia harbors substantial cultural and linguistic diversity, but the geographic structure of genetic variation across the continent remains enigmatic. Here we report a large-scale survey of autosomal variation from a broad geographic sample of Asian human populations. Our results show that genetic ancestry is strongly correlated with linguistic affiliations as well as geography. Most populations show relatedness within ethnic/linguistic groups, despite prevalent gene flow among populations. More than 90% of East Asian (EA) haplotypes could be found in either Southeast Asian (SEA) or Central-South Asian (CSA) populations and show clinal structure with haplotype diversity decreasing from south to north. Furthermore, 50% of EA haplotypes were found in SEA only and 5% were found in CSA only, indicating that SEA was a major geographic source of EA populations.
Multiple lines of evidence suggest regulatory variation to play an important role in phenotypic evolution and disease development, but few regulatory polymorphisms have been characterized genetically and molecularly. Recent technological advances have made it possible to identify bona fide regulatory sequences experimentally on a genome-wide scale and opened the window for the biological interrogation of germ-line polymorphisms within these sequences. In this study, through a forward genetic analysis of bona fide p53 binding sites identified by a genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequence analysis, we discovered a SNP (rs1860746) within the motif sequence of a p53 binding site where p53 can function as a regulator of transcription. We found that the minor allele (T) binds p53 poorly and has low transcriptional regulation activity as compared to the major allele (G). Significantly, the homozygosity of the minor allele was found to be associated with an increased risk of ER negative breast cancer (OR = 1.47, P = 0.038) from the analysis of five independent breast cancer samples of European origin consisting of 6,127 breast cancer patients and 5,197 controls. rs1860746 resides in the third intron of the PRKAG2 gene that encodes the ? subunit of the AMPK protein, a major sensor of metabolic stress and a modulator of p53 action. However, this gene does not appear to be regulated by p53 in lymphoblastoid cell lines nor in a cancer cell line. These results suggest that either the rs1860746 locus regulates another gene through distant interactions, or that this locus is in linkage disequilibrium with a second causal mutation. This study shows the feasibility of using genomic scale molecular data to uncover disease associated SNPs, but underscores the complexity of determining the function of regulatory variants in human populations.
Estrogen receptors ERalpha and ERbeta, members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, exert profound effects on the gene expression and biological response programs of their target cells. Herein, we explore the dynamic interplay between these two receptors in their selection of chromatin binding sites when present separately or together in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Treatment of cells (containing ERalpha only, ERbeta only, or ERalpha and ERbeta) with estradiol or ER subtype-selective ligands was followed by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis with a custom-designed tiling array for ER binding sites across the genome to examine the effects of ligand-occupied and unoccupied ERalpha and ERbeta on chromatin binding. There was substantial overlap in binding sites for these estradiol-liganded nuclear receptors when present alone, but many fewer sites were shared when both ERs were present. Each ER restricted the binding site occupancy of the other, with ERalpha generally being dominant. Binding sites of both receptors were highly enriched in estrogen response element motifs, but when both ERs were present, ERalpha displaced ERbeta, shifting it into new sites less enriched in estrogen response elements. Binding regions of the two ERs also showed differences in their enrichments for other transcription factor binding motifs. Studies with ER subtype-specific ligands revealed that it was the liganded subtype that principally determined the spectrum of chromatin binding. These findings highlight the dynamic interplay between the two ERs in their selection of chromatin binding sites, with competition, restriction, and site shifting having important implications for the regulation of gene expression by these two nuclear receptors.
Genomes are organized into high-level three-dimensional structures, and DNA elements separated by long genomic distances can in principle interact functionally. Many transcription factors bind to regulatory DNA elements distant from gene promoters. Although distal binding sites have been shown to regulate transcription by long-range chromatin interactions at a few loci, chromatin interactions and their impact on transcription regulation have not been investigated in a genome-wide manner. Here we describe the development of a new strategy, chromatin interaction analysis by paired-end tag sequencing (ChIA-PET) for the de novo detection of global chromatin interactions, with which we have comprehensively mapped the chromatin interaction network bound by oestrogen receptor alpha (ER-alpha) in the human genome. We found that most high-confidence remote ER-alpha-binding sites are anchored at gene promoters through long-range chromatin interactions, suggesting that ER-alpha functions by extensive chromatin looping to bring genes together for coordinated transcriptional regulation. We propose that chromatin interactions constitute a primary mechanism for regulating transcription in mammalian genomes.
Aggressive forms of cancer are often defined by recurrent chromosomal alterations, yet in most cases, the causal or contributing genetic components remain poorly understood. Here, we utilized microarray informatics to identify candidate oncogenes potentially contributing to aggressive breast cancer behavior. We identified the Rab-coupling protein RCP (also known as RAB11FIP1), which is located at a chromosomal region frequently amplified in breast cancer (8p11-12) as a potential candidate. Overexpression of RCP in MCF10A normal human mammary epithelial cells resulted in acquisition of tumorigenic properties such as loss of contact inhibition, growth-factor independence, and anchorage-independent growth. Conversely, knockdown of RCP in human breast cancer cell lines inhibited colony formation, invasion, and migration in vitro and markedly reduced tumor formation and metastasis in mouse xenograft models. Overexpression of RCP enhanced ERK phosphorylation and increased Ras activation in vitro. As these results indicate that RCP is a multifunctional gene frequently amplified in breast cancer that encodes a protein with Ras-activating function, we suggest it has potential importance as a therapeutic target. Furthermore, these studies provide new insight into the emerging role of the Rab family of small G proteins and their interacting partners in carcinogenesis.
Comprehensive understanding of functional elements in the human genome will require thorough interrogation and comparison of individual human genomes and genomic structures. Such an endeavor will require improvements in the throughputs and costs of DNA sequencing. Next-generation sequencing platforms have impressively low costs and high throughputs but are limited by short read lengths. An immediate and widely recognized solution to this critical limitation is the paired-end tag (PET) sequencing for various applications, collectively called the PET sequencing strategy, in which short and paired tags are extracted from the ends of long DNA fragments for ultra-high-throughput sequencing. The PET sequences can be accurately mapped to the reference genome, thus demarcating the genomic boundaries of PET-represented DNA fragments and revealing the identities of the target DNA elements. PET protocols have been developed for the analyses of transcriptomes, transcription factor binding sites, epigenetic sites such as histone modification sites, and genome structures. The exclusive advantage of the PET technology is its ability to uncover linkages between the two ends of DNA fragments. Using this unique feature, unconventional fusion transcripts, genome structural variations, and even molecular interactions between distant genomic elements can be unraveled by PET analysis. Extensive use of PET data could lead to efficient assembly of individual human genomes, transcriptomes, and interactomes, enabling new biological and clinical insights. With its versatile and powerful nature for DNA analysis, the PET sequencing strategy has a bright future ahead.
The precision of genome sequences, together with advanced computational approaches, allows complex, clinically relevant biological systems to be examined. Here, I describe the experiences of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) in using genome-to-systems strategies to accelerate biomedical research. To maximize clinically relevant output, we have explored an organizational strategy that encourages coordinated experimentation among investigators with diverse skills and interests through building a culture of integrative science. Our experience suggests that systems biomedicine is a real and potentially fruitful strategy for translational research.
The pathophysiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with abnormalities in endocrine signaling in adipose tissue and one of the key signaling affectors operative in these disorders is the nuclear hormone transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma). PPARgamma has pleiotropic functions affecting a wide range of fundamental biological processes including the regulation of genes that modulate insulin sensitivity, adipocyte differentiation, inflammation and atherosclerosis. To date, only a limited number of direct targets for PPARgamma have been identified through research using the well established pre-adipogenic cell line, 3T3-L1. In order to obtain a genome-wide view of PPARgamma binding sites, we applied the pair end-tagging technology (ChIP-PET) to map PPARgamma binding sites in 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells.
Although elongation of telomeres is thought to be the prime function of reactivated telomerase in cancers, this activity alone does not account for all of the properties that telomerase reactivation attributes to human cancer cells. Here, we uncover a link between telomerase and NF-?B, a master regulator of inflammation. We observe that while blocking NF-?B signalling can inhibit effects of telomerase overexpression on processes relevant to transformation, increasing NF-?B activity can functionally substitute for reduced telomerase activity. Telomerase directly regulates NF-?B-dependent gene expression by binding to the NF-?B p65 subunit and recruitment to a subset of NF-?B promoters such as those of IL-6 and TNF-?, cytokines that are critical for inflammation and cancer progression. As NF-?B can transcriptionally upregulate telomerase levels, our findings suggest that a feed-forward regulation between them could be the key mechanistic basis for the coexistence of chronic inflammation and sustained telomerase activity in human cancers.
Genome-wide comparisons of transcription factor binding sites in different species can be used to evaluate evolutionary constraints that shape gene regulatory circuits and to understand how the interaction between transcription factors shapes their binding landscapes over evolution.
Chromatin interactions play important roles in transcription regulation. To better understand the underlying evolutionary and functional constraints of these interactions, we implemented a systems approach to examine RNA polymerase-II-associated chromatin interactions in human cells. We found that 40% of the total genomic elements involved in chromatin interactions converged to a giant, scale-free-like, hierarchical network organized into chromatin communities. The communities were enriched in specific functions and were syntenic through evolution. Disease-associated SNPs from genome-wide association studies were enriched among the nodes with fewer interactions, implying their selection against deleterious interactions by limiting the total number of interactions, a model that we further reconciled using somatic and germline cancer mutation data. The hubs lacked disease-associated SNPs, constituted a nonrandomly interconnected core of key cellular functions, and exhibited lethality in mouse mutants, supporting an evolutionary selection that favored the nonrandom spatial clustering of the least-evolving key genomic domains against random genetic or transcriptional errors in the genome. Altogether, our analyses reveal a systems-level evolutionary framework that shapes functionally compartmentalized and error-tolerant transcriptional regulation of human genome in three dimensions.
Structural variations (SVs) contribute significantly to the variability of the human genome and extensive genomic rearrangements are a hallmark of cancer. While genomic DNA paired-end-tag (DNA-PET) sequencing is an attractive approach to identify genomic SVs, the current application of PET sequencing with short insert size DNA can be insufficient for the comprehensive mapping of SVs in low complexity and repeat-rich genomic regions. We employed a recently developed procedure to generate PET sequencing data using large DNA inserts of 10-20 kb and compared their characteristics with short insert (1 kb) libraries for their ability to identify SVs. Our results suggest that although short insert libraries bear an advantage in identifying small deletions, they do not provide significantly better breakpoint resolution. In contrast, large inserts are superior to short inserts in providing higher physical genome coverage for the same sequencing cost and achieve greater sensitivity, in practice, for the identification of several classes of SVs, such as copy number neutral and complex events. Furthermore, our results confirm that large insert libraries allow for the identification of SVs within repetitive sequences, which cannot be spanned by short inserts. This provides a key advantage in studying rearrangements in cancer, and we show how it can be used in a fusion-point-guided-concatenation algorithm to study focally amplified regions in cancer.
Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP3) is a tumor suppressor gene frequently downregulated in prostate cancer. The mechanisms involved in TIMP3 transcriptional repression are not fully understood, but evidence suggests that promoter hypermethylation may not be the predominant epigenetic alteration in prostate cancer. To clarify this issue, we examined the contribution of both CpG site promoter methylation and histone modifications on TIMP3 downregulation. Using publicly available data sets, we confirmed that TIMP3 mRNA expression is decreased in prostate tumors relative to normal glands. Immunohistochemical analysis also showed decreased TIMP3 levels in high-grade primary tumors, but promoter hypermethylation was only detected in 6 of 28 (21%) high-grade specimens. Similarly, in prostate cancer cells, TIMP3 hypermethylation was only observed in DU145 cells. Treatment of DU145 cells with 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR) restored TIMP3 expression, and this was significantly amplified by co-treating the cells with the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Alternatively, in cells that did not exhibit aberrant TIMP3 methylation (LNCaP and PC3), TIMP3 expression could be upregulated by the combination of histone methylation inhibitor 3-Deazaneplanocin A (DZNep) and TSA. This reversal of transcriptional repression was associated with decreased H3K27me3 and increased H3K9ac histone marks at the TIMP3 promoter, as demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Collectively, these results indicate that histone modifications can contribute to TIMP3 repression in the absence of promoter hypermethylation, and suggest that the combination of histone modifying agents could restore TIMP3 expression in prostate tumors harboring aberrant histone modifications at the TIMP3 promoter.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has enabled the comprehensive and precise identification of many somatic structural mutations in cancer. Analyses integrating point mutation information with data on rearrangements and copy number variation have revealed a higher-order organization of the seemingly random genetic events that lead to cancer. These meta-analyses provide a more refined view of the mutational mechanisms, genomic evolution, and combinations of mutations that contribute to tumorigenesis. Structural mutations, or genome-scale rearrangements of segments of DNA, may play a hitherto unappreciated role in cancer through their ability to move blocks of adjacent genes simultaneously, leading to concurrent oncogenic events. Moreover, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data from tumors have revealed global rearrangements, such as those seen in the tandem duplicator phenotype and in chromothripsis, suggesting that massive rearrangements are a specific cancer phenotype. Taken together, the emerging data suggest that the chromosome structure itself functions as a systems oncogenic organizer.
Although sinus bradycardia is a common abnormality seen in medical reports, the proper evaluation of sinus bradycardia is poorly understood by physicians. Recent data from heart rate epidemiologic and cohort studies has emerged regarding the risk stratification of sinus bradycardia, which may help insurers better underwrite this abnormality. In this review, an operational age-related heart rate reference based on recent advances is provided along with a suggested approach to the risk stratification and assessment of prognosis for inappropriate sinus bradycardia.
We developed an analytic strategy that correlates gene expression and clinical outcomes as a means to identify novel candidate oncogenes operative in breast cancer. This analysis, followed by functional characterization, resulted in the identification of Jumonji Domain Containing 6 (JMJD6) protein as a novel driver of oncogenic properties in breast cancer.
The transcription factor Ebf1 is an important determinant of early B lymphopoiesis. To gain insight into the functions of Ebf1 at distinct stages of differentiation, we conditionally inactivated Ebf1. We found that Ebf1 is required for the proliferation, survival, and signaling of pro-B cells and peripheral B-cell subsets, including B1 cells and marginal zone B cells. The proliferation defect of Ebf1-deficient pro-B cells and the impaired expression of multiple cell cycle regulators are overcome by transformation with v-Abl. The survival defect of transformed Ebf1(fl/fl) pro-B cells can be rescued by the forced expression of the Ebf1 targets c-Myb or Bcl-x(L). In mature B cells, Ebf1 deficiency interferes with signaling via the B-cell-activating factor receptor (BAFF-R)- and B-cell receptor (BCR)-dependent Akt pathways. Moreover, Ebf1 is required for germinal center formation and class switch recombination. Genome-wide analyses of Ebf1-mediated gene expression and chromatin binding indicate that Ebf1 regulates both common and distinct sets of genes in early and late stage B cells. By regulating important components of transcription factor and signaling networks, Ebf1 appears to be involved in the coordination of cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation at multiple stages of B lymphopoiesis.
Higher-order chromosomal organization for transcription regulation is poorly understood in eukaryotes. Using genome-wide Chromatin Interaction Analysis with Paired-End-Tag sequencing (ChIA-PET), we mapped long-range chromatin interactions associated with RNA polymerase II in human cells and uncovered widespread promoter-centered intragenic, extragenic, and intergenic interactions. These interactions further aggregated into higher-order clusters, wherein proximal and distal genes were engaged through promoter-promoter interactions. Most genes with promoter-promoter interactions were active and transcribed cooperatively, and some interacting promoters could influence each other implying combinatorial complexity of transcriptional controls. Comparative analyses of different cell lines showed that cell-specific chromatin interactions could provide structural frameworks for cell-specific transcription, and suggested significant enrichment of enhancer-promoter interactions for cell-specific functions. Furthermore, genetically-identified disease-associated noncoding elements were found to be spatially engaged with corresponding genes through long-range interactions. Overall, our study provides insights into transcription regulation by three-dimensional chromatin interactions for both housekeeping and cell-specific genes in human cells.
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