Wen-Cheng Li

University of Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway

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Publications (5)24.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs play critical roles in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Here we report the dual functions of miR-182 and miR-203 in our previously described prostate cell model. MiR-182 and miR-203 were completely repressed from prostate epithelial EP156T cells to the progeny mesenchymal non-transformed EPT1 cells. Re-expression of miR-182 or miR-203 in EPT1 cells and prostate cancer PC3 cells induced mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) features. Simultaneously, miR-182 and miR-203 provided EPT1 cells with the ability to self-sufficiency of growth signals, a well-recognized oncogenic feature. Gene expression profiling showed high overlap of the genes affected by miR-182 and miR-203. SNAI2 was identified as a common target of miR-182 and miR-203. Knock-down of SNAI2 in EPT1 cells generated similar phenotypes as re-expression of either miR-182 or miR-203 regarding both MET and self-sufficiency of growth signals. Strikingly, considerable overlaps were found between the genes changed by miR-182 or miR-203 expression and those affected by knock-down of SNAI2. Finally, P-cadherin was identified as a direct target of SNAI2. We conclude that miR-182 and miR-203 induce MET features and growth factor independent growth via repressing SNAI2 in prostate cells. Our findings shed new light on the roles of miR-182/203 based on non-transformed cells and prostate cancer cells. The dual functions of miR-182/203 indicate their complex mechanisms in tumor progression.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · International Journal of Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Previously we reported extensive gene expression reprogramming during epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of primary prostate cells. Here we investigated the hypothesis that specific histone and DNA methylations are involved in coordination of gene expression during EMT. Genome-wide profiling of histone methylations (H3K4me3 and H3K27me3) and DNA methylation (DNAMe) was applied to three cell lines at different stages of a stepwise prostate cell model involving EMT and subsequent accumulation of malignant features. Integrated analyses of epigenetic promoter modifications and gene expression changes revealed strong correlations between the dynamic changes of histone methylations and gene expression. DNA methylation was weaker associated with global gene repression, but strongly correlated to gene silencing when genes co-modified by H3K4me3 were excluded. For genes labeled with multiple epigenetic marks in their promoters, the level of transcription was associated with the net signal intensity of the activating mark H3K4me3 minus the repressive marks H3K27me3 or DNAMe, indicating that the effect on gene expression of bivalent marks (H3K4/K27me3 or H3K4me3/DNAMe) depends on relative modification intensities. Sets of genes, including epithelial cell junction and EMT associated fibroblast growth factor receptor genes, showed corresponding changes concerning epigenetic modifications and gene expression during EMT. This work presents the first blueprint of epigenetic modifications in an epithelial cell line and the progeny that underwent EMT and shows that specific histone methylations are extensively involved in gene expression reprogramming during EMT and subsequent accumulation of malignant features. The observation that transcription activity of bivalently marked genes depends on the relative labeling intensity of individual marks provides a new view of quantitative regulation of epigenetic modification.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2010 · BMC Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is pivotal in tumor metastasis. Our previous work reported an EMT model based on primary prostate epithelial cells (EP156T) which gave rise to cells with mesenchymal phenotype (EPT1) without malignant transformation. To promote prostate cell transformation, cells were maintained in saturation density cultures to select for cells overriding quiescence. Foci formed repeatedly following around 8 weeks in confluent EPT1 monolayers. Only later passage EPT1, but not EP156T cells of any passage, could form foci. Cells isolated from the foci were named EPT2 and formed robust colonies in soft agar, a malignant feature present neither in EP156T nor in EPT1 cells. EPT2 cells showed additional malignant traits in vitro, including higher ability to proliferate following confluence, higher resistance to apoptosis and lower dependence on exogenous growth factors than EP156T and EPT1 cells. Microarray profiling identified gene sets, many of which belong to cell junction modules, that changed expression from EP156T to EPT1 cells and continued to change from EPT1 to EPT2 cells. Our findings provide a novel stepwise cell culture model in which EMT emerges independently of transformation and is associated with subsequent accumulation of malignant features in prostate cells. Reprogramming of cell junction modules is involved in both steps.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Experimental Cell Research
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence implicates the critical roles of epigenetic regulation in cancer. Very recent reports indicate that global gene silencing in cancer is associated with specific epigenetic modifications. However, the relationship between epigenetic switches and more dynamic patterns of gene activation and repression has remained largely unknown. Genome-wide profiling of the trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and lysine 27 (H3K27me3) was performed using chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with whole genome promoter microarray (ChIP-chip) techniques. Comparison of the ChIP-chip data and microarray gene expression data revealed that loss and/or gain of H3K4me3 and/or H3K27me3 were strongly associated with differential gene expression, including microRNA expression, between prostate cancer and primary cells. The most common switches were gain or loss of H3K27me3 coupled with low effect on gene expression. The least prevalent switches were between H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 coupled with much higher fractions of activated and silenced genes. Promoter patterns of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 corresponded strongly with coordinated expression changes of regulatory gene modules, such as HOX and microRNA genes, and structural gene modules, such as desmosome and gap junction genes. A number of epigenetically switched oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes were found overexpressed and underexpressed accordingly in prostate cancer cells. This work offers a dynamic picture of epigenetic switches in carcinogenesis and contributes to an overall understanding of coordinated regulation of gene expression in cancer. Our data indicate an H3K4me3/H3K27me3 epigenetic signature of prostate carcinogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · PLoS ONE