Etude de l'impact de la dérégulation transcriptionnelle liée à des transcrits chimères initiés à partir d'éléments répétés de type LINE-1 dans la tumorigenèse gliale

Abstract : LINE-1 (L1) is the most abundant class of retrotransposons which represents 17% of the human genome. The 5’ region of the youngest L1 sub-families (L1PA1 to 6) contains a bidirectional promoter consisting, in addition to the internal sense promoter, of an antisense promoter, called ASP. In normal cells, the main defense mechanism, developed to counteract the deleterious effect of L1 activity, consists in L1 promoter DNA methylation. A hallmark of cancer genomes consists in a global DNA hypomethylation which affects especially L1 promoters. In tumors, evidences suggest that this hypomethylation could result in transcription from ASP of aberrant L1-Chimeric Transcripts (LCTs) composed of L1 5’end and its adjacent sequence. To investigate the pangenomic extent of this transcriptional deregulation and its impact in tumoral processes, a dedicated bioinformatic tool, CLIFinder, was designed to select putative LCTs among RNA-seq oriented paired-end reads. RNA-seq analyses of 13 gliomas, which are the most common brain cancer in adults, and 3 control brains were performed.CLIFinder identifies 2675 chimeras in gliomas, among which 84% involves recent L1 (PA1 to 7) full size, supposed to possess a functional ASP, and 50% are detected specifically in tumors samples. 78 chimeras correspond to LCT already described in literature. In addition, study of additional RNA-seq data from other tumor types (MCF7 and ovarian metastasis) by CLIFinder identifies common chimeras suggesting that some of them can be recurrent. The analysis of a group of chimeras by 5’ walk RT-PCR validate that 89% (56/63) of chimeras implying recent L1 (L1PA1 to 7) are initiated at the ASP region and therefore correspond to LCT; whereas all tested chimeras implying an L1PA8 element are transcribed from an upstream region. RT-qPCR studies on a larger cohort of 51 gliomas show that all 56 tested LCT, even identified by CLIFinder as “tumor specific”, are not only expressed in tumors but also in controls. Nevertheless, 70% of the “tumor specific” LCTs are significantly overexpressed in tumors. My results suggest that, even L1 5’ UTR methylation, some ASP are active in normal tissues and lead to a basal LCT expression in normal tissues. Moreover, a transcriptional deregulation linked to LCTs in tumors exists and implies a LCTs’ overexpression.In order to determine the underlying mechanisms involved in the increase of transcriptional activity of ASP, two hypothesis were tested. The first one implies L1 promoter hypomethylation. My results tend to refute this hypothesis because no decrease of the DNA methylation is found at the promoter region of L1 linked to overexpressed LCTs. On the other hand, the genes associated to LCT presenting an expression deregulation in tumors demonstrate a deregulation in the same way. Moreover, gene expression variations correlates systematically with the one corresponding LCTs. This suggests that an increase of transcriptional activity at the LCTs loci would be responsible of their overexpression. Finally, 2 candidate LCT overexpressed and presenting as potential predictive biomarkers for patient’s survival, could play a functional role in initiation, progression and/or the tumoral aggressiveness.In conclusion, my work has validated CLIFinder as a useful tool to identify, at pangenomic level, LCTs expressed in different tumor types from paired-end stranded RNA-seq data. The observation of the recurrence and tumoral overexpression for some LCTs suggests that they may play a functional role in tumoral processes.
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Marie-Elisa Pinson. Etude de l'impact de la dérégulation transcriptionnelle liée à des transcrits chimères initiés à partir d'éléments répétés de type LINE-1 dans la tumorigenèse gliale. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Clermont Auvergne, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017CLFAS006⟩. ⟨tel-01889255⟩

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