Gene expression profiling of MYC-driven tumor signatures in porcine liver stem cells by transcriptome sequencing

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AIM: To identify the genes induced and regulated by the MYC protein in generating tumors from liver stem cells. METHODS: In this study, we have used an immortal porcine liver stem cell line, PICM-19, to study the role of c-MYC in hepatocarcinogenesis. PICM-19 cells were converted into cancer cells (PICM-19-CSCs) by overexpressing human MYC. To identify MYC-driven differential gene expression, transcriptome sequencing was carried out by RNA sequencing, and genes identified by this method were validated using real-time PCR. In vivo tumorigenicity studies were then conducted by injecting PICM-19-CSCs into the flanks of immunodeficient mice. RESULTS: Our results showed that MYC-overexpressing PICM-19 stem cells formed tumors in immunodeficient mice demonstrating that a single oncogene was sufficient to convert them into cancer cells (PICM-19-CSCs). By using comparative bioinformatics analyses, we have determined that > 1000 genes were differentially expressed between PICM-19 and PICM-19-CSCs. Gene ontology analysis further showed that the MYC-induced, altered gene expression was primarily associated with various cellular processes, such as metabolism, cell adhesion, growth and proliferation, cell cycle, inflammation and tumorigenesis. Interestingly, six genes expressed by PICM-19 cells (CDO1, C22orf39, DKK2, ENPEP, GPX6, SRPX2 ) were completely silenced after MYC-induction in PICM-19-CSCs, suggesting that the absence of these genes may be critical for inducing tumorigenesis. CONCLUSION: MYC-driven genes may serve as promising candidates for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma therapeutics that would not have deleterious effects on other cell types in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2029
Number of pages19
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 21 2015


  • Gene expression
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • MYC
  • RNA sequencing
  • Stem cells

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