Priority Research Papers:

The downregulation of putative anticancer target BORIS/CTCFL in an addicted myeloid cancer cell line modulates the expression of multiple protein coding and ncRNA genes

Evgeny Teplyakov, Qiongfang Wu, Jian Liu, Elena M. Pugacheva, Dmitry Loukinov, Abdelhalim Boukaba, Victor Lobanenkov and Alexander Strunnikov _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:73448-73468. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20627

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Evgeny Teplyakov1,3, Qiongfang Wu1, Jian Liu1, Elena M. Pugacheva2, Dmitry Loukinov2, Abdelhalim Boukaba1, Victor Lobanenkov2 and Alexander Strunnikov1,3

1 Molecular Epigenetics Laboratory, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Guangzhou, China

2 NIH, NIAID, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Rockville, MD, USA

3 The University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Alexander Strunnikov, email:

Keywords: transcriptome, chromatin, CML, CTA, sncRNA

Received: June 16, 2017 Accepted: August 23, 2017 Published: September 02, 2017


The BORIS/CTCFL gene, is a testis-specific CTCF paralog frequently erroneously activated in cancer, although its exact role in cancer remains unclear. BORIS is both a transcription factor and an architectural chromatin protein. BORIS’ normal role is to establish a germline-like gene expression and remodel the epigenetic landscape in testis; it similarly remodels chromatin when activated in human cancer. Critically, at least one cancer cell line, K562, is dependent on BORIS for its self-renewal and survival.

Here, we downregulate BORIS expression in the K562 cancer cell line to investigate downstream pathways regulated by BORIS. RNA-seq analyses of both mRNA and small ncRNAs, including miRNA and piRNA, in the knock-down cells revealed a set of differentially expressed genes and pathways, including both testis-specific and general proliferation factors, as well as proteins involved in transcription regulation and cell physiology. The differentially expressed genes included important transcriptional regulators such as SOX6 and LIN28A. Data indicate that both direct binding of BORIS to promoter regions and locus-control activity via long-distance chromatin domain regulation are involved. The sum of findings suggests that BORIS activation in leukemia does not just recapitulate the germline, but creates a unique regulatory network.

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PII: 20627