Research Summary: Induction of Stable Drug Resistance in Human Breast Cancer Cells Using a Combinatorial Zinc Finger Transcription Factor Library

ABSTRACT

Combinatorial libraries of artificial zinc-finger transcription factors (ZF-TFs) provide a robust tool for inducing and understanding various functional components of the cancer phenotype. Herein, we utilized combinatorial ZF-TF library technology to better understand how breast cancer cells acquire resistance to fulvestrant, a clinically important anti-endocrine therapeutic agent. From a diverse collection of nearly 400,000 different ZF-TFs, we isolated six ZF-TF library members capable of inducing stable, long-term anti-endocrine drug-resistance in two independent estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines. Comparative gene expression profile analysis of the six different ZF-TF-transduced breast cancer cell lines revealed five distinct clusters of differentially expressed genes. One cluster was shared among all 6 ZF-TF-transduced cell lines and therefore constituted a common fulvestrant-resistant gene expression signature. Pathway enrichment-analysis of this common fulvestrant resistant signature also revealed significant overlap with gene sets associated with an estrogen receptor-negative-like state and with gene sets associated with drug resistance to different classes of breast cancer anti-endocrine therapeutic agents. Enrichment-analysis of the four remaining unique gene clusters revealed overlap with myb-regulated genes. Finally, we also demonstrated that the common fulvestrant-resistant signature is associated with poor prognosis by interrogating five independent, publicly available human breast cancer gene expression datasets. Our results demonstrate that artificial ZF-TF libraries can be used successfully to induce stable drug-resistance in human cancer cell lines and to identify a gene expression signature that is associated with a clinically relevant drug-resistance phenotype.

____________________________

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 19-July-2011

Author(s): Lee J., Hirsh A., Wittner B., Maeder M., Singavarapu R., Lang M., Janarthanan S., McDermott U., Yajnik V., Ramaswamy S., Joung J., Sgroi D.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021112

Leave a Reply