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Int J Cancer. 2014 May 1;134(9):2074-87.

Unstable genomes elevate transcriptome dynamics.


The challenge of identifying common expression signatures in cancer is well known, however the reason behind this is largely unclear. Traditionally variation in expression signatures has been attributed to technological problems, however recent evidence suggests that chromosome instability (CIN) and resultant karyotypic heterogeneity may be a large contributing factor. Using a well-defined model of immortalization, we systematically compared the pattern of genome alteration and expression dynamics during somatic evolution. Co-measurement of global gene expression and karyotypic alteration throughout the immortalization process reveals that karyotype changes influence gene expression as major structural and numerical karyotypic alterations result in large gene expression deviation. Replicate samples from stages with stable genomes are more similar to each other than are replicate samples with karyotypic heterogeneity. Karyotypic and gene expression change during immortalization is dynamic as each stage of progression has a unique expression pattern. This was further verified by comparing global expression in two replicates grown in one flask with known karyotypes. Replicates with higher karyotypic instability were found to be less similar than replicates with stable karyotypes. This data illustrates the karyotype, transcriptome, and transcriptome determined pathways are in constant flux during somatic cellular evolution (particularly during the macroevolutionary phase) and this flux is an inextricable feature of CIN and essential for cancer formation. The findings presented here underscore the importance of understanding the evolutionary process of cancer in order to design improved treatment modalities.

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