Meiosis and Kinetochore genes are used by cancer cells as genome destabilizers and transformation catalysts

Roshina Thapa, Swetha Vasudevan, Mimi Abo-Ayoub Ashqar, Eli Reich, Nataly Kravchenko-Balasha, Michael Klutstein

Research output: Working paper/preprintPreprint


Cancer cells have an altered transcriptome which contributes to their altered behaviors compared to normal cells. Indeed, many tumors express high levels of genes participating in meiosis or kinetochore biology, but the role of this high expression has not been fully elucidated. In this study we explore the relationship between this overexpression and genome instability and transformation capabilities of cancer cells. For this, we obtained expression data from 5 different cancer types which were analyzed using computational information-theoretic analysis. We were able to show that highly expressed meiotic/kinetochore genes were enriched in the altered gene expression subnetworks characterizing unstable cancer types with high chromosome instability (CIN). However, altered subnetworks found in the cancers with low CIN did not include meiotic and kinetochore genes. Representative gene candidates, found by the analysis to be correlated with a CIN phenotype, were further explored by transfecting genomically-stable (HCT116) and unstable (MCF7) cancer cell lines with vectors overexpressing those genes. This overexpression resulted in an increase in the numbers of abnormal cell divisions and defective spindle formations and in increased transformation properties in stable cancer HCT116 cells. Interestingly, the same properties were less affected by the overexpressed genes in the unstable MCF7 cancer cells. Our results indicate that overexpression of both meiosis and kinetochore genes is capable of driving genomic instability and cancer progression.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

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