Genes, chromosomes & cancer

Novel mouse model recapitulates genome and transcriptome alterations in human colorectal carcinomas.

PMID 27750367


Human colorectal carcinomas are defined by a nonrandom distribution of genomic imbalances that are characteristic for this disease. Often, these imbalances affect entire chromosomes. Understanding the role of these aneuploidies for carcinogenesis is of utmost importance. Currently, established transgenic mice do not recapitulate the pathognonomic genome aberration profile of human colorectal carcinomas. We have developed a novel model based on the spontaneous transformation of murine colon epithelial cells. During this process, cells progress through stages of pre-immortalization, immortalization and, finally, transformation, and result in tumors when injected into immunocompromised mice. We analyzed our model for genome and transcriptome alterations using ArrayCGH, spectral karyotyping (SKY), and array based gene expression profiling. ArrayCGH revealed a recurrent pattern of genomic imbalances. These results were confirmed by SKY. Comparing these imbalances with orthologous maps of human chromosomes revealed a remarkable overlap. We observed focal deletions of the tumor suppressor genes Trp53 and Cdkn2a/p16. High-level focal genomic amplification included the locus harboring the oncogene Mdm2, which was confirmed by FISH in the form of double minute chromosomes. Array-based global gene expression revealed distinct differences between the sequential steps of spontaneous transformation. Gene expression changes showed significant similarities with human colorectal carcinomas. Pathways most prominently affected included genes involved in chromosomal instability and in epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Our novel mouse model therefore recapitulates the most prominent genome and transcriptome alterations in human colorectal cancer, and might serve as a valuable tool for understanding the dynamic process of tumorigenesis, and for preclinical drug testing. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.