Non-coding mutations may drive cancer development. Statistical detection of non-coding driver regions is challenged by a varying mutation rate and uncertainty of functional impact. Here we develop a statistically-founded non-coding driver-detection method, ncdDetect, which includes sample-specific mutational signatures, long-range mutation rate variation, and position-specific impact measures. Using ncdDetect, we screened non-coding regulatory regions of protein-coding genes across a pan-cancer set of whole-genomes (n=505), which top-ranked known drivers and identified new candidates. For individual candidates, presence of non-coding mutations associate with altered expression or decreased patient survival across an independent pan-cancer sample set (n=5,454). This includes an antigen-presenting gene (CD1A), where 5’UTR mutations correlate significantly with decreased survival in melanoma. Additionally, mutations in a base-excision-repair gene (SMUG1) correlate with a C-to-T mutational-signature. Overall, we find that a rich model of mutational heterogeneity facilitates non-coding driver identification and integrative analysis points to candidates of potential clinical relevance.
- Jakob Skou Pedersen
- Jakob Skou Pedersen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Gilean McVean, Oxford University, United Kingdom
© 2017, Juul et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The mTORC1 substrate, S6 Kinase 1 (S6K1), is involved in the regulation of cell growth, ribosome biogenesis, glucose homeostasis, and adipogenesis. Accumulating evidence has suggested a role for mTORC1 signaling in the DNA damage response. This is mostly based on the findings that mTORC1 inhibitors sensitized cells to DNA damage. However, a direct role of the mTORC1-S6K1 signaling pathway in DNA repair and the mechanism by which this signaling pathway regulates DNA repair is unknown. In this study, we discovered a novel role for S6K1 in regulating DNA repair through the coordinated regulation of the cell cycle, homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair (HRR) and mismatch DNA repair (MMR) mechanisms. Here, we show that S6K1 orchestrates DNA repair by phosphorylation of Cdk1 at serine 39, causing G2/M cell cycle arrest enabling homologous recombination and by phosphorylation of MSH6 at serine 309, enhancing MMR. Moreover, breast cancer cells harboring RPS6KB1 gene amplification show increased resistance to several DNA damaging agents and S6K1 expression is associated with poor survival of breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Our findings reveal an unexpected function of S6K1 in the DNA repair pathway, serving as a tumorigenic barrier by safeguarding genomic stability.
Aberrant DNA methylation is a well-known feature of tumours and has been associated with metastatic melanoma. However, since melanoma cells are highly heterogeneous, it has been challenging to use affected genes to predict tumour aggressiveness, metastatic evolution, and patients’ outcomes. We hypothesized that common aggressive hypermethylation signatures should emerge early in tumorigenesis and should be shared in aggressive cells, independent of the physiological context under which this trait arises. We compared paired melanoma cell lines with the following properties: (i) each pair comprises one aggressive counterpart and its parental cell line and (ii) the aggressive cell lines were each obtained from different host and their environment (human, rat, and mouse), though starting from the same parent cell line. Next, we developed a multi-step genomic pipeline that combines the DNA methylome profile with a chromosome cluster-oriented analysis. A total of 229 differentially hypermethylated genes was commonly found in the aggressive cell lines. Genome localization analysis revealed hypermethylation peaks and clusters, identifying eight hypermethylated gene promoters for validation in tissues from melanoma patients. Five Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpGs) identified in primary melanoma tissues were transformed into a DNA methylation score that can predict survival (log-rank test, p=0.0008). This strategy is potentially universally applicable to other diseases involving DNA methylation alterations.