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PLoS Comput Biol. 2018 Jan 2;14(1):e1005911. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005911. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Integration of pan-cancer transcriptomics with RPPA proteomics reveals mechanisms of epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

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Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Mount Sinai Center for Bioinformatics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY, United States of America.


Integrating data from multiple regulatory layers across cancer types could elucidate additional mechanisms of oncogenesis. Using antibody-based protein profiling of 736 cancer cell lines, along with matching transcriptomic data, we show that pan-cancer bimodality in the amounts of mRNA, protein, and protein phosphorylation reveals mechanisms related to the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Based on the bimodal expression of E-cadherin, we define an EMT signature consisting of 239 genes, many of which were not previously associated with EMT. By querying gene expression signatures collected from cancer cell lines after small-molecule perturbations, we identify enrichment for histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors as inducers of EMT, and kinase inhibitors as mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) promoters. Causal modeling of protein-based signaling identifies putative drivers of EMT. In conclusion, integrative analysis of pan-cancer proteomic and transcriptomic data reveals key regulatory mechanisms of oncogenic transformation.

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