Transcriptional regulation prediction of antiestrogen resistance in breast cancer based on RNA polymerase II binding data

Denan Zhang, Guohua Wang, Yadong Wang
BMC Bioinformatics 2014, 15: S10

BACKGROUND: Although endocrine therapy impedes estrogen-ER signaling pathway and thus reduces breast cancer mortality, patients remain at continued risk of relapse after tamoxifen or other endocrine therapies. Understanding the mechanisms of endocrine resistance, particularly the role of transcriptional regulation is very important and necessary.

METHODS: We propose a two-step workflow based on linear model to investigate the significant differences between MCF7 and OHT cells stimulated by 17β-estradiol (E2) respect to regulatory transcription factors (TFs) and their interactions. We additionally compared predicted regulatory TFs based on RNA polymerase II (PolII) binding quantity data and gene expression data, which were taken from MCF7/MCF7+E2 and OHT/OHT+E2 cell lines following the same analysis workflow. Enrichment analysis concerning diseases and cell functions and regulatory pattern analysis of different motifs of the same TF also were performed.

RESULTS: The results showed PolII data could provide more information and predict more recognizably important regulatory TFs. Large differences in TF regulatory mode were found between two cell lines. Through verified through GO annotation, enrichment analysis and related literature regarding these TFs, we found some regulatory TFs such as AP-1, C/EBP, FoxA1, GATA1, Oct-1 and NF-κB, maintained OHT cells through molecular interactions or signaling pathways that were different from the surviving MCF7 cells. From TF regulatory interaction network, we identified E2F, E2F-1 and AP-2 as hub-TFs in MCF7 cells; whereas, in addition to E2F and E2F-1, we identified C/EBP and Oct-1 as hub-TFs in OHT cells. Notably, we found the regulatory patterns of different motifs of the same TF were very different from one another sometimes.

CONCLUSIONS: We inferred some regulatory TFs, such as AP-1 and NF-κB, cooperated with ER through both genomic action and non-genomic action. The TFs that were involved in both protein-protein interactions and signaling pathways could be one of the key resistant mechanisms of endocrine therapy and thus also could be new treatment targets for endocrine resistance. Our flexible workflow could be integrated into an existing analytical framework and guide biologists to further determine underlying mechanisms in human diseases.

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