CTCF/cohesin-binding sites are frequently mutated in cancer
ABSTRACT: Cohesin is present in almost all active enhancer regions, where it is associated with transcription factors. Cohesin frequently colocalizes with CTCF (CCCTC-binding factor), affecting genomic stability, expression and epigenetic homeostasis. Cohesin subunits are mutated in cancer, but CTCF/cohesin-binding sites (CBSs) in DNA have not been examined for mutations. Here we report frequent mutations at CBSs in cancers displaying a mutational signature where mutations in A•T base pairs predominate. Integration of whole-genome sequencing data from 213 colorectal cancer (CRC) samples and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-exo) data identified frequent point mutations at CBSs. In contrast, CRCs showing an ultramutator phenotype caused by defects in the exonuclease domain of DNA polymerase ɛ (POLE) displayed significantly fewer mutations at and adjacent to CBSs. Analysis of public data showed that multiple cancer types accumulate CBS mutations. CBSs are a major mutational hotspot in the noncoding cancer genome.
Project description:Tissue-specific driver mutations in non-coding genomic regions remain undefined for most cancer types. Here, we unbiasedly analyze 212 gastric cancer (GC) whole genomes to identify recurrently mutated non-coding regions in GC. Applying comprehensive statistical approaches to accurately model background mutational processes, we observe significant enrichment of non-coding indels (insertions/deletions) in three gastric lineage-specific genes. We further identify 34 mutation hotspots, of which 11 overlap CTCF binding sites (CBSs). These CBS hotspots remain significant even after controlling for a genome-wide elevated mutation rate at CBSs. In 3 out of 4 tested CBS hotspots, mutations are nominally associated with expression change of neighboring genes. CBS hotspot mutations are enriched in tumors showing chromosomal instability, co-occur with neighboring chromosomal aberrations, and are common in gastric (25%) and colorectal (19%) tumors but rare in other cancer types. Mutational disruption of specific CBSs may thus represent a tissue-specific mechanism of tumorigenesis conserved across gastrointestinal cancers.
Project description:Tumors with defective mismatch repair acquire large numbers of strand slippage mutations including frameshifts in coding sequence repeats. We identified a mutational hotspot, p.T204fs, in the insulator-binding protein (CTCF) in MSI-positive endometrial cancers. Although CTCF was described as a significantly mutated gene by the endometrial cancer TCGA, the A? track variants leading to T204 frameshifts were not reported. Reanalysis of TCGA data using Pindel revealed frequent T204fs mutations, confirming CTCF is an MSI target gene and revealed the same frameshifts in tumors with intact mismatch repair. We show that T204fs transcripts are subject to nonsense-mediated decay and as such, T204fs mutations are unlikely to act as dominant negatives. The spectrum and pattern of mutations observed is consistent with CTCF acting as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor.
Project description:CTCF-mediated chromatin interactions influence organization and function of mammalian genome in diverse ways. We analyzed the interactions among CTCF binding sites (CBS) at the murine TCRb locus to discern the role of CTCF-mediated interactions in the regulation of transcription and VDJ recombination. Chromosome conformation capture analysis revealed thymocyte-specific long-range intrachromosomal interactions among various CBS across the locus that were relevant for defining the limit of the enhancer Eb-regulated recombination center (RC) and for facilitating the spatial proximity of TCRb variable (V) gene segments to the RC. Ectopic CTCF binding in the RC region, effected via genetic manipulation, altered CBS-directed chromatin loops, interfered with RC establishment, and reduced the spatial proximity of the RC with Trbv segments. Changes in chromatin loop organization by ectopic CTCF binding were relatively modest but influenced transcription and VDJ recombination dramatically. Besides revealing the importance of CTCF-mediated chromatin organization for TCRb regulation, the observed chromatin loops were consistent with the emerging idea that CBS orientations influence chromatin loop organization and underscored the importance of CBS orientations for defining chromatin architecture that supports VDJ recombination. Further, our study suggests that in addition to mediating long-range chromatin interactions, CTCF influences intricate configuration of chromatin loops that govern functional interactions between elements.
Project description:Disruption of gene regulation is known to play major roles in carcinogenesis and tumour progression. Here, we comprehensively characterize the mutational profiles of diverse transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) across 1,574 completely sequenced cancer genomes encompassing 11 tumour types. We assess the relative rates and impact of the mutational burden at the binding sites of 81 transcription factors (TFs), by comparing the abundance and patterns of single base substitutions within putatively functional binding sites to control sites with matched sequence composition. There is a strong (1.43-fold) and significant excess of mutations at functional binding sites across TFs, and the mutations that accumulate in cancers are typically more disruptive than variants tolerated in extant human populations at the same sites. CTCF binding sites suffer an exceptionally high mutational load in cancer (3.31-fold excess) relative to control sites, and we demonstrate for the first time that this effect is seen in essentially all cancer types with sufficient data. The sub-set of CTCF sites involved in higher order chromatin structures has the highest mutational burden, suggesting a widespread breakdown of chromatin organization. However, we find no evidence for selection driving these distinctive patterns of mutation. The mutational load at CTCF-binding sites is substantially determined by replication timing and the mutational signature of the tumor in question, suggesting that selectively neutral processes underlie the unusual mutation patterns. Pervasive hyper-mutation within transcription factor binding sites rewires the regulatory landscape of the cancer genome, but it is dominated by mutational processes rather than selection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The three-dimensional genome organization is critical for gene regulation and can malfunction in diseases like cancer. As a key regulator of genome organization, CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) has been characterized as a DNA-binding protein with important functions in maintaining the topological structure of chromatin and inducing DNA looping. Among the prolific binding sites in the genome, several events with altered CTCF occupancy have been reported as associated with effects in physiology or disease. However, hitherto there is no comprehensive survey of genome-wide CTCF binding patterns across different human cancers. RESULTS:To dissect functions of CTCF binding, we systematically analyze over 700 CTCF ChIP-seq profiles across human tissues and cancers and identify cancer-specific CTCF binding patterns in six cancer types. We show that cancer-specific lost and gained CTCF binding events are associated with altered chromatin interactions, partially with DNA methylation changes, and rarely with sequence mutations. While lost bindings primarily occur near gene promoters, most gained CTCF binding events exhibit enhancer activities and are induced by oncogenic transcription factors. We validate these findings in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell lines and patient samples and show that oncogenic NOTCH1 induces specific CTCF binding and they cooperatively activate expression of target genes, indicating transcriptional condensation phenomena. CONCLUSIONS:Specific CTCF binding events occur in human cancers. Cancer-specific CTCF binding can be induced by other transcription factors to regulate oncogenic gene expression. Our results substantiate CTCF binding alteration as a functional epigenomic signature of cancer.
Project description:Recent evidence shows that the disruption of constitutive insulated neighbourhoods might lead to oncogene dysregulation. We present here a systematic pan-cancer characterisation of the associations between constitutive boundaries and genome alterations in cancer. Specifically, we investigate the enrichment of somatic mutation, abnormal methylation, and copy number alteration events in the proximity of CTCF bindings overlapping with topological boundaries (junctions) in 26 cancer types. Focusing on CTCF motifs that are both in-boundary (overlapping with junctions) and active (overlapping with peaks of CTCF expression), we find a significant enrichment of somatic mutations in several cancer types. Furthermore, mutated junctions are significantly conserved across cancer types, and we also observe a positive selection of transversions rather than transitions in many cancer types. We also analyzed the mutational signature found on the different classes of CTCF motifs, finding some signatures (such as SBS26) to have a higher weight within in-boundary than off-bounday motifs. Regarding methylation, we find a significant number of over-methylated active in-boundary CTCF motifs in several cancer types; similarly to somatic-mutated junctions, they also have a significant conservation across cancer types. Finally, in several cancer types we observe that copy number alterations tend to overlap with active junctions more often than in matched normal samples. While several articles have recently reported a mutational enrichment at CTCF binding sites for specific cancer types, our analysis is pan-cancer and investigates abnormal methylation and copy number alterations in addition to somatic mutations. Our method is fully replicable and suggests several follow-up tumour-specific analyses.
Project description:DNA polymerase ? (POLE) exonuclease domain mutations characterize a subtype of endometrial cancer (EC) with a markedly increased somatic mutational burden. POLE-mutant tumors were described as a molecular subtype with improved progression-free survival by The Cancer Genome Atlas. In this study, the frequency, spectrum, prognostic significance, and potential clinical application of POLE mutations were investigated in patients with endometrioid EC.Polymerase chain reaction amplification and Sanger sequencing were used to test for POLE mutations in 544 tumors. Correlations between demographic, survival, clinicopathologic, and molecular features were investigated. Statistical tests were 2-sided.Thirty POLE mutations (5.6%) were identified. Mutations were associated with younger age (<60 years; P=.001). POLE mutations were detected in tumors with microsatellite stability (MSS) and microsatellite instability (MSI) at similar frequencies (5.9% and 5.2%, respectively) and were most common in tumors with MSI that lacked mutL homolog 1 (MLH1) methylation (P<.001). There was no association with progression-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.22; P=.127).The discovery that mutations occur with equal frequency in MSS and MSI tumors and are most frequent in MSI tumors lacking MLH1 methylation has implications for Lynch syndrome screening and mutation testing. The current results indicate that POLE mutations are associated with somatic mutation in DNA mismatch repair genes in a subset of tumors. The absence of an association between POLE mutation and progression-free survival indicates that POLE mutation status is unlikely to be a clinically useful prognostic marker. However, POLE testing in MSI ECs could serve as a marker of somatic disease origin. Therefore, POLE tumor testing may be a valuable exclusionary criterion for Lynch syndrome gene testing.
Project description:The p16(INK4a) tumor suppressor gene is a frequent target of epigenetic inactivation in human cancers, which is an early event in breast carcinogenesis. We describe the existence of a chromatin boundary upstream of the p16 gene that is lost when this gene is aberrantly silenced. We show that the multifunctional protein CTCF associates in the vicinity of this boundary and absence of binding strongly coincides with p16 silencing in multiple types of cancer cells. CTCF binding also correlates with RASSF1A and CDH1 gene activation, and CTCF interaction is absent when these genes are methylated and silenced. Interestingly, defective poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of CTCF and dissociation from the molecular chaperone Nucleolin occur in p16-silenced cells, abrogating its proper function. Thus, destabilization of specific chromosomal boundaries through aberrant crosstalk between CTCF, poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation, and DNA methylation may be a general mechanism to inactivate tumor suppressor genes and initiate tumorigenesis in numerous forms of human cancers.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: The CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), known as a versatile transcription factor and chromatin insulator and to be involved in X inactivation, has also been suggested to be a tumour suppressor on 16q. We investigated 153 patients with familial non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer for germline mutations in the CTCF gene. METHODS: Mutation screening of CTCF was performed by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography followed by cycle sequencing. RESULTS: We found two sequence variants, 240G-->A in the 5' untranslated region and 1455C-->T (S388S) in exon 4, in five familial breast cancer cases. Three of these five cases had both variants. Cases and controls showed the same prevalence for the two variants, which were found in linkage disequilibrium in most cases and controls. CONCLUSION: The present study suggests that germline mutations in CTCF are not important as a risk factor for breast cancer.
Project description:RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs) are a class of post-transcriptional regulatory molecules which are increasingly documented to be dysfunctional in cancer genomes. However, our current understanding of these alterations is limited. Here, we delineate the mutational landscape of ?1300 RBPs in ?6000 cancer genomes. Our analysis revealed that RBPs have an average of ?3 mutations per Mb across 26 cancer types. We identified 281 RBPs to be enriched for mutations (GEMs) in at least one cancer type. GEM RBPs were found to undergo frequent frameshift and inframe deletions as well as missense, nonsense and silent mutations when compared to those that are not enriched for mutations. Functional analysis of these RBPs revealed the enrichment of pathways associated with apoptosis, splicing and translation. Using the OncodriveFM framework, we also identified more than 200 candidate driver RBPs that were found to accumulate functionally impactful mutations in at least one cancer. Expression levels of 15% of these driver RBPs exhibited significant difference, when transcriptome groups with and without deleterious mutations were compared. Functional interaction network of the driver RBPs revealed the enrichment of spliceosomal machinery, suggesting a plausible mechanism for tumorogenesis while network analysis of the protein interactions between RBPs unambiguously revealed the higher degree, betweenness and closeness centrality for driver RBPs compared to non-drivers. Analysis to reveal cancer-specific Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) mutational hotspots showed extensive rewiring even among common drivers between cancer types. Knockdown experiments on pan-cancer drivers such as SF3B1 and PRPF8 in breast cancer cell lines, revealed cancer subtype specific functions like selective stem cell features, indicating a plausible means for RBPs to mediate cancer-specific phenotypes. Hence, this study would form a foundation to uncover the contribution of the mutational spectrum of RBPs in dysregulating the post-transcriptional regulatory networks in different cancer types.