1. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Research Center of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, P. R. China.
2. Medical Research Center, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, P. R. China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Rationale: The forkhead box A1 (FOXA1) is a crucial transcription factor in initiation and development of breast, lung and prostate cancer. Previous studies about the FOXA1 transcriptional network were mainly focused on protein-coding genes. Its regulatory network of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and their role in FOXA1 oncogenic activity remains unknown.
Methods: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data, RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data were used to analyze FOXA1 regulated lncRNAs. RT-qPCR was used to detect the expression of DSCAM-AS1, RT-qPCR and Western blotting were used to determine the expression of FOXA1, estrogen receptor α (ERα) and Y box binding protein 1 (YBX1). RNA pull-down and RIP-qPCR were employed to investigate the interaction between DSCAM-AS1 and YBX1. The effect of DSCAM-AS1 on malignant phenotypes was examined through in vitro and in vivo assays.
Results: In this study, we conducted a global analysis of FOXA1 regulated lncRNAs. For detailed analysis, we chose lncRNA DSCAM-AS1, which is specifically expressed in lung adenocarcinoma, breast and prostate cancer. The expression level of DSCAM-AS1 is regulated by two super-enhancers (SEs) driven by FOXA1. High expression levels of DSCAM-AS1 was associated with poor prognosis. Knockout experiments showed DSCAM-AS1 was essential for the growth of xenograft tumors. Moreover, we demonstrated DSCAM-AS1 can regulate the expression of the master transcriptional factor FOXA1. In breast cancer, DSCAM-AS1 was also found to regulate ERα. Mechanistically, DSCAM-AS1 interacts with YBX1 and influences the recruitment of YBX1 in the promoter regions of FOXA1 and ERα.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that lncRNA DSCAM-AS1 was transcriptionally activated by super-enhancers driven by FOXA1 and exhibited lineage-specific expression pattern. DSCAM-AS1 can promote cancer progression by interacting with YBX1 and regulating expression of FOXA1 and ERα.
Keywords: FOXA1, lncRNAs, super-enhancer, lung adenocarcinoma, breast cancer, ERα