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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 6;5(8):e11981. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011981.

Exon-level transcriptome profiling in murine breast cancer reveals splicing changes specific to tumors with different metastatic abilities.

Author information

  • 1Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. amandine.bemmo@mail.mcgill.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Breast cancer is the second most frequent type of cancer affecting women. We are increasingly aware that changes in mRNA splicing are associated with various characteristics of cancer. The most deadly aspect of cancer is metastasis, the process by which cancer spreads from the primary tumor to distant organs. However, little is known specifically about the involvement of alternative splicing in the formation of macroscopic metastases. Our study investigates transcript isoform changes that characterize tumors of different abilities to form growing metastases.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

To identify alternative splicing events (ASEs) that are associated with the fully metastatic phenotype in breast cancer, we used Affymetrix Exon Microarrays to profile mRNA isoform variations genome-wide in weakly metastatic (168FARN and 4T07) and highly metastatic (4T1) mammary carcinomas. Statistical analysis identified significant expression changes in 7606 out of 155,994 (4%) exons and in 1725 out of 189,460 (1%) intronic regions, which affect 2623 out of 16,654 (16%) genes. These changes correspond to putative alternative isoforms-several of which are novel-that are differentially expressed between tumors of varying metastatic phenotypes. Gene pathway analysis showed that 1224 of genes expressing alternative isoforms were involved in cell growth, cell interactions, cell proliferation, cell migration and cell death and have been previously linked to cancers and genetic disorders. We chose ten predicted splice variants for RT-PCR validation, eight of which were successfully confirmed (MED24, MFI2, SRRT, CD44, CLK1 and HNRNPH1). These include three novel intron retentions in CD44, a gene in which isoform variations have been previously associated with the metastasis of several cancers.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings reveal that various genes are differently spliced and/or expressed in association with the metastatic phenotype of tumor cells. Identification of metastasis-specific isoforms may contribute to the development of improved breast cancer stage identification and targeted therapies.

PMID:
20700505
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2917353
Free PMC Article
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