Integrative analysis to identify oncogenic gene expression changes associated with copy number variations of enhancer in ovarian cancer.
ABSTRACT: Enhancers are short regulatory regions (50-1500 bp) of DNA that control the tissue-specific activation of gene expression by long distance interaction with targeting gene regions. Recently, genome-wide identification of enhancers in diverse tissues and cell lines was achieved using high-throughput sequencing. Enhancers have been associated with malfunctions in cancer development resulting from point mutations in regulatory regions. However, the potential impact of copy number variations (CNVs) on enhancer regions is unknown. To learn more about the relationship between enhancers and cancer, we integrated the CNVs data on enhancers and explored their targeting gene expression pattern in high-grade ovarian cancer. Using human enhancer-gene interaction data with 13,691 interaction pairs between 7,905 enhancers and 5,297 targeting genes, we found that the 2,910 copy number gain events of enhancer are significantly correlated with the up-regulation of targeting genes. We further identified that a number of highly mutated super-enhancers, with concordant gene expression change on their targeting genes. We also identified 18 targeting genes by super-enhancers with prognostic significance for ovarian cancer, such as the tumour suppressor CDKN1B. We are the first to report that abundant copy number variations on enhancers could change the expression of their targeting genes which would be valuable for the design of enhancer-based cancer treatment strategy.
Project description:Understanding the gene regulatory network governing cancer initiation and progression is necessary, although it remains largely unexplored. Enhancer elements represent the center of this regulatory circuit. The study aims to identify the gene expression change driven by copy number variation in enhancer elements of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAAD). The pancreatic tissue specific enhancer and target gene data were taken from EnhancerAtlas. The gene expression and copy number data were taken from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and copy number variations (CNVs) were identified between matched tumor-normal samples of PAAD. Significant CNVs were matched onto enhancer coordinates by using genomic intersection functionality from BEDTools. By combining the gene expression and CNV data, we identified 169 genes whose expression shows a positive correlation with the CNV of enhancers. We further identified 16 genes which are regulated by a super enhancer and 15 genes which have high prognostic potential (Z-score > 1.96). Cox proportional hazard analysis of these genes indicates that these are better predictors of survival. Taken together, our integrative analytical approach identifies enhancer CNV-driven gene expression change in PAAD, which could lead to better understanding of PAAD pathogenesis and to the design of enhancer-based cancer treatment strategies.
Project description:Whole-genome analysis approaches are identifying recurrent cancer-associated somatic alterations in noncoding DNA regions. We combined somatic copy number analysis of 12 tumor types with tissue-specific epigenetic profiling to identify significant regions of focal amplification harboring super-enhancers. Copy number gains of noncoding regions harboring super-enhancers near KLF5, USP12, PARD6B and MYC are associated with overexpression of these cancer-related genes. We show that two distinct focal amplifications of super-enhancers 3' to MYC in lung adenocarcinoma (MYC-LASE) and endometrial carcinoma (MYC-ECSE) are physically associated with the MYC promoter and correlate with MYC overexpression. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated repression or deletion of a constituent enhancer within the MYC-LASE region led to significant reductions in the expression of MYC and its target genes and to the impairment of anchorage-independent and clonogenic growth, consistent with an oncogenic function. Our results suggest that genomic amplification of super-enhancers represents a common mechanism to activate cancer driver genes in multiple cancer types.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> Enhancers are emerging regulatory regions controlling gene expression in diverse cancer types. However, the functions of enhancer regulatory circuit perturbations driven by copy number variations (CNVs) in malignant glioma are unclear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the comprehensive enhancer regulatory perturbation and identify potential biomarkers in glioma. <b>Results:</b> We performed a meta-analysis of the enhancer centered regulatory circuit perturbations in 683 gliomas by integrating CNVs, gene expression, and transcription factors (TFs) binding. We found widespread CNVs of enhancers during glioma progression, and CNVs were associated with the perturbations of enhancer activities. In particular, the degree of perturbations for amplified enhancers was much greater accompanied by the glioma malignant progression. In addition, CNVs and enhancers cooperatively regulated the expressions of cancer-related genes. Genome-wide TF binding profiles revealed that enhancers were pervasively regulated by TFs. A network-based analysis of TF-enhancer-gene regulatory circuits revealed a core TF-gene module (58 interactions including seven genes and 14 TFs) that was associated survival of patients with glioma (p < 0.001). Finally, we validated this prognosis-associated TF-gene regulatory module in an independent cohort. In summary, our analyses provided new molecular insights for enhancer-centered transcriptional perturbation in glioma therapy. <b>Conclusion:</b> Integrative analysis revealed enhancer regulatory perturbations in glioma and also identified a network module that was associated with patient survival, thereby providing novel insights into enhancer-centered cancer therapy.
Project description:Critical functional properties are embedded in the non-coding portion of the human genome. Recent successful studies have shown that variations in distant-acting gene enhancer sequences can contribute to disease. In fact, various disorders, such as thalassaemias, preaxial polydactyly or susceptibility to Hirschsprung's disease, may be the result of rearrangements of enhancer elements. We have analyzed the distribution of enhancer loci in the genome and compared their localization to that of previously described copy-number variations (CNVs). These data suggest a negative selection of copy number variable enhancers. To identify CNVs covering enhancer elements, we have developed a simple and cost-effective test. Here we describe the gene selection, design strategy and experimental validation of a customized oligonucleotide Array-Based Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH), designated Enhancer Chip. It has been designed to investigate CNVs, allowing the analysis of all the genome with a 300 Kb resolution and specific disease regions (telomeres, centromeres and selected disease loci) at a tenfold higher resolution. Moreover, this is the first aCGH able to test over 1,250 enhancers, in order to investigate their potential pathogenic role. Validation experiments have demonstrated that Enhancer Chip efficiently detects duplications and deletions covering enhancer loci, demonstrating that it is a powerful instrument to detect and characterize copy number variable enhancers.
Project description:Although enhancers play critical roles in cancer, quantifying enhancer activities in clinical samples remains challenging, especially for super-enhancers. Enhancer activities can be inferred from enhancer RNA (eRNA) signals, which requires enhancer transcription loci definition. Only a small proportion of human eRNA loci has been precisely identified, limiting investigations of enhancer-mediated oncogenic mechanisms. Here, we characterize super-enhancer regions using aggregated RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data from large cohorts. Super-enhancers usually contain discrete loci featuring sharp eRNA expression peaks. We identify >300,000 eRNA loci in ∼377 Mb super-enhancer regions that are regulated by evolutionarily conserved, well-positioned nucleosomes and are frequently dysregulated in cancer. The eRNAs provide explanatory power for cancer phenotypes beyond that provided by mRNA expression through resolving intratumoral heterogeneity with enhancer cell-type specificity. Our study provides a high-resolution map of eRNA loci through which super-enhancer activities can be quantified by RNA-seq and a user-friendly data portal, enabling a broad range of biomedical investigations.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Activation of transcription enhancers, especially super-enhancers, is one of the critical epigenetic features of tumorigenesis. However, very few studies have systematically identified the enhancers specific in cancer tissues.<h4>Methods</h4>Here, we studied the change of histone modifications in MMTV-PyVT breast cancer model, combining mass spectrometry-based proteomics and ChIP-seq-based epigenomics approaches. Some of the proteomic results were confirmed with western blotting and IHC staining. An inhibitor of H3K27ac was applied to study its effect on cancer development.<h4>Results</h4>H3K27ac and H4K8ac are elevated in cancer, which was confirmed in patient tissue chips. ChIP-seq revealed that H4K8ac is co-localized with H3K27ac on chromatin, especially on distal enhancers. Epigenomic studies further identified a subgroup of super-enhancers marked by H3K4me3 peaks in the intergenic regions. The H3K4me3-enriched regions enhancers are associated with higher level of H3K27ac and H4K8ac compared with the average level of conventional super-enhancers and are associated with higher transcription level of their adjacent genes. We identified 148 H3K4me3-enriched super-enhancers with higher gene expression in tumor, which may be critical for breast cancer. One inhibitor for p300 and H3K27ac, C646, repressed tumor formation probably through inhibiting Vegfa and other genes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Taken together, our work identifies novel regulators and provides important resource to the genome-wide enhancer studies in breast cancer and raises the possibility of cancer treatment through modulating enhancer activity.
Project description:Oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) genomes are often integrated into host chromosomes in HPV-associated cancers. HPV genomes are integrated either as a single copy or as tandem repeats of viral DNA interspersed with, or without, host DNA. Integration occurs frequently in common fragile sites susceptible to tandem repeat formation and the flanking or interspersed host DNA often contains transcriptional enhancer elements. When co-amplified with the viral genome, these enhancers can form super-enhancer-like elements that drive high viral oncogene expression. Here we compiled highly curated datasets of HPV integration sites in cervical (CESC) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cancers, and assessed the number of breakpoints, viral transcriptional activity, and host genome copy number at each insertion site. Tumors frequently contained multiple distinct HPV integration sites but often only one "driver" site that expressed viral RNA. As common fragile sites and active enhancer elements are cell-type-specific, we mapped these regions in cervical cell lines using FANCD2 and Brd4/H3K27ac ChIP-seq, respectively. Large enhancer clusters, or super-enhancers, were also defined using the Brd4/H3K27ac ChIP-seq dataset. HPV integration breakpoints were enriched at both FANCD2-associated fragile sites and enhancer-rich regions, and frequently showed adjacent focal DNA amplification in CESC samples. We identified recurrent integration "hotspots" that were enriched for super-enhancers, some of which function as regulatory hubs for cell-identity genes. We propose that during persistent infection, extrachromosomal HPV minichromosomes associate with these transcriptional epicenters and accidental integration could promote viral oncogene expression and carcinogenesis.
Project description:One of the hallmarks of cancer is the disruption of gene expression patterns. Many molecular lesions contribute to this phenotype, and the importance of aberrant DNA methylation profiles is increasingly recognized. Much of the research effort in this area has examined proximal promoter regions and epigenetic alterations at other loci are not well characterized.Using whole genome bisulfite sequencing to examine uncharted regions of the epigenome, we identify a type of far-reaching DNA methylation alteration in cancer cells of the distal regulatory sequences described as super-enhancers. Human tumors undergo a shift in super-enhancer DNA methylation profiles that is associated with the transcriptional silencing or the overactivation of the corresponding target genes. Intriguingly, we observe locally active fractions of super-enhancers detectable through hypomethylated regions that suggest spatial variability within the large enhancer clusters. Functionally, the DNA methylomes obtained suggest that transcription factors contribute to this local activity of super-enhancers and that trans-acting factors modulate DNA methylation profiles with impact on transforming processes during carcinogenesis.We develop an extensive catalogue of human DNA methylomes at base resolution to better understand the regulatory functions of DNA methylation beyond those of proximal promoter gene regions. CpG methylation status in normal cells points to locally active regulatory sites at super-enhancers, which are targeted by specific aberrant DNA methylation events in cancer, with putative effects on the expression of downstream genes.
Project description:Super-enhancers are an emerging subclass of regulatory regions controlling cell identity and disease genes. However, their biological function and impact on miRNA networks are unclear. Here, we report that super-enhancers drive the biogenesis of master miRNAs crucial for cell identity by enhancing both transcription and Drosha/DGCR8-mediated primary miRNA (pri-miRNA) processing. Super-enhancers, together with broad H3K4me3 domains, shape a tissue-specific and evolutionarily conserved atlas of miRNA expression and function. CRISPR/Cas9 genomics revealed that super-enhancer constituents act cooperatively and facilitate Drosha/DGCR8 recruitment and pri-miRNA processing to boost cell-specific miRNA production. The BET-bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 preferentially inhibits super-enhancer-directed cotranscriptional pri-miRNA processing. Furthermore, super-enhancers are characterized by pervasive interaction with DGCR8/Drosha and DGCR8/Drosha-regulated mRNA stability control, suggesting unique RNA regulation at super-enhancers. Finally, super-enhancers mark multiple miRNAs associated with cancer hallmarks. This study presents principles underlying miRNA biology in health and disease and an unrecognized higher-order property of super-enhancers in RNA processing beyond transcription.
Project description:Transcriptional enhancers are critical for maintaining cell-type-specific gene expression and driving cell fate changes during development. Highly transcribed genes are often associated with a cluster of individual enhancers such as those found in locus control regions. Recently, these have been termed stretch enhancers or super-enhancers, which have been predicted to regulate critical cell identity genes. We employed a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion approach to study the function of several enhancer clusters (ECs) and isolated enhancers in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Our results reveal that the effect of deleting ECs, also classified as ES cell super-enhancers, is highly variable, resulting in target gene expression reductions ranging from 12% to as much as 92%. Partial deletions of these ECs which removed only one enhancer or a subcluster of enhancers revealed partially redundant control of the regulated gene by multiple enhancers within the larger cluster. Many highly transcribed genes in ES cells are not associated with a super-enhancer; furthermore, super-enhancer predictions ignore 81% of the potentially active regulatory elements predicted by cobinding of five or more pluripotency-associated transcription factors. Deletion of these additional enhancer regions revealed their robust regulatory role in gene transcription. In addition, select super-enhancers and enhancers were identified that regulated clusters of paralogous genes. We conclude that, whereas robust transcriptional output can be achieved by an isolated enhancer, clusters of enhancers acting on a common target gene act in a partially redundant manner to fine tune transcriptional output of their target genes.