DOI: 10.1101/455709Oct 29, 2018Paper

Functionally Coherent Transcription Factor Target Networks Illuminate Control of Epithelial Remodelling

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ian M OvertonAbdelkader Essafi


Cell identity is governed by gene expression, regulated by Transcription Factor (TF) binding at cis-regulatory modules. We developed the NetNC software to decode the relationship between TF binding and the regulation of cognate target genes in cell decision-making; demonstrated on nine datasets for the Snail and Twist TFs, and also modENCODE ‘HOT’ regions. Results illuminated conserved molecular networks controlling development and disease, with implications for precision medicine. Predicted ‘neutral’ TF binding accounted for the majority (50% to ≥80%) of candidate target genes from statistically significant peaks and HOT regions had high functional coherence. Expression of orthologous functional TF targets discriminated breast cancer molecular subtypes and predicted novel tumour biology. We identified new gene functions and network modules including crosstalk with notch signalling and regulation of chromatin organisation, evidencing networks that reshape Waddington’s landscape during epithelial remodelling. Predicted invasion role s were validated using a tractable cell model, supporting our computational approach.

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