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Discrete Adaptive Responses to MEK Inhibitor in Subpopulations of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

Molecular cancer research : MCR (2020-08-06)
Daniel R Goulet, Joseph P Foster, Jon S Zawistowski, Samantha M Bevill, Mélodie P Noël, José F Olivares-Quintero, Noah Sciaky, Darshan Singh, Charlene Santos, Samantha G Pattenden, Ian J Davis, Gary L Johnson

Triple-negative breast cancers contain a spectrum of epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes. SUM-229PE cells represent a model for this heterogeneity, maintaining both epithelial and mesenchymal subpopulations that are genomically similar but distinct in gene expression profiles. We identified differential regions of open chromatin in epithelial and mesenchymal cells that were strongly correlated with regions of H3K27ac. Motif analysis of these regions identified consensus sequences for transcription factors that regulate cell identity. Treatment with the MEK inhibitor trametinib induced enhancer remodeling that is associated with transcriptional regulation of genes in epithelial and mesenchymal cells. Motif analysis of enhancer peaks downregulated in response to chronic treatment with trametinib identified AP-1 motif enrichment in both epithelial and mesenchymal subpopulations. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) of JUNB identified subpopulation-specific localization, which was significantly enriched at regions of open chromatin. These results indicate that cell identity controls localization of transcription factors and chromatin-modifying enzymes to enhancers for differential control of gene expression. We identified increased H3K27ac at an enhancer region proximal to CXCR7, a G-protein-coupled receptor that increased 15-fold in expression in the epithelial subpopulation during chronic treatment. RNAi knockdown of CXCR7 inhibited proliferation in trametinib-resistant cells. Thus, adaptive resistance to chronic trametinib treatment contributes to proliferation in the presence of the drug. Acquired amplification of KRAS following trametinib dose escalation further contributed to POS cell proliferation. Adaptive followed by acquired gene expression changes contributed to proliferation in trametinib-resistant cells, suggesting inhibition of early transcriptional reprogramming could prevent resistance and the bypass of targeted therapy. IMPLICATIONS: We defined the differential responses to trametinib in subpopulations of a clinically relevant in vitro model of TNBC, and identified both adaptive and acquired elements that contribute to the emergence of drug resistance mediated by increased expression of CXCR7 and amplification of KRAS.

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Hydrocortisone-Water Soluble, BioReagent, suitable for cell culture