Promoter-Level Transcriptome Identifies Stemness Associated With Relatively High Proliferation in Pancreatic Cancer Cells


Both pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), a frequent precursor of pancreatic cancer, and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN), a less common precursor, undergo several phases of molecular conversions and finally develop into highly malignant solid tumors with negative effects on the quality of life. We approached this long-standing issue by examining the following PanIN/IPMN cell lines derived from mouse models of pancreatic cancer: Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; p53f/+ and Ptf1a-Cre; KrasG12D; and Brg1f/f pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs). The mRNA from these cells was subjected to a cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE) to map the transcription starting sites and quantify the expression of promoters across the genome. Two RNA samples extracted from three individual subcutaneous tumors generated by the transplantation of PanIN or IPMN cancer cell lines were used to generate libraries and Illumina Seq, with four RNA samples in total, to depict discrete transcriptional network between IPMN and PanIN. Moreover, in IPMN cells, the transcriptome tended to be enriched for suppressive and inhibitory biological processes. In contrast, the transcriptome of PanIN cells exhibited properties of stemness. Notably, the proliferation capacity of the latter cells in culture was only minimally constrained by well-known chemotherapy drugs such as GSK690693 and gemcitabine. The various transcriptional factor network systems detected in PanIN and IPMN cells reflect the distinct molecular profiles of these cell types. Further, we hope that these findings will enhance our mechanistic understanding of the characteristic molecular alterations underlying pancreatic cancer precursors. These data may provide a promising direction for therapeutic research.



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