Research Papers:

Identification and validation of regulatory SNPs that modulate transcription factor chromatin binding and gene expression in prostate cancer

Hong-Jian Jin, Segun Jung, Auditi R. DebRoy and Ramana V. Davuluri _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:54616-54626. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10520

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Hong-Jian Jin1, Segun Jung1, Auditi R. DebRoy1, Ramana V. Davuluri1

1Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics, Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Correspondence to:

Ramana V. Davuluri, email: [email protected]

Keywords: SNP, prostate cancer, transcription factor, CRISPR/Cas9, eQTL

Received: March 23, 2016     Accepted: May 23, 2016     Published: July 09, 2016


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common solid tumor for cancer related deaths in American men. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the increased risk of PCa. Because most of the susceptibility SNPs are located in noncoding regions, little is known about their functional mechanisms. We hypothesize that functional SNPs reside in cell type-specific regulatory elements that mediate the binding of critical transcription factors (TFs), which in turn result in changes in target gene expression. Using PCa-specific functional genomics data, here we identify 38 regulatory candidate SNPs and their target genes in PCa. Through risk analysis by incorporating gene expression and clinical data, we identify 6 target genes (ZG16B, ANKRD5, RERE, FAM96B, NAALADL2 and GTPBP10) as significant predictors of PCa biochemical recurrence. In addition, 5 SNPs (rs2659051, rs10936845, rs9925556, rs6057110 and rs2742624) are selected for experimental validation using Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), dual-luciferase reporter assay in LNCaP cells, showing allele-specific enhancer activity. Furthermore, we delete the rs2742624-containing region using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and observe the drastic downregulation of its target gene UPK3A. Taken together, our results illustrate that this new methodology can be applied to identify regulatory SNPs and their target genes that likely impact PCa risk. We suggest that similar studies can be performed to characterize regulatory variants in other diseases.

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