Assessment of histone tail modifications and transcriptional profiling during colon cancer progression reveals a global decrease in H3K4me3 activity. Academic Article uri icon


  • During colon cancer, epigenetic alterations contribute to the dysregulation of major cellular functions and signaling pathways. Modifications in chromatin signatures such as H3K4me3 and H3K9ac, which are associated with transcriptionally active genes, can lead to genomic instability and perturb the expression of gene sets associated with oncogenic processes. In order to further elucidate early pre-tumorigenic epigenetic molecular events driving CRC, we integrated diverse, genome-wide, epigenetic inputs (by high throughput sequencing of RNA, H3K4me3, and H3K9ac) and compared differentially expressed transcripts (DE) and enriched regions (DER) in an in-vivo rat colon cancer progression model. Carcinogen (AOM) effects were detected genome-wide at the RNA (116 DE genes), K9ac (49 DERs including 24 genes) and K4me3 (7678 DERs including 3792 genes) level. RNA-seq differential expression and pathway analysis indicated that interferon-associated innate immune responses were impacted by AOM exposure. Despite extensive associations between K4me3 DERs and colon tumorigenesis (1210 genes were linked to colorectal carcinoma) including FOXO3, GNAI2, H2AFX, MSH2, NR3C1, PDCD4 and VEGFA, these changes were not reflected at the RNA gene expression level during early cancer progression. Collectively, our results indicate that carcinogen-induced changes in gene K4me3 DERs are harbingers of future transcriptional events, which drive malignant transformation of the colon.

published proceedings

  • Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Triff, K., McLean, M. W., Konganti, K., Pang, J., Callaway, E., Zhou, B., Ivanov, I., & Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Triff, Karen||McLean, Mathew W||Konganti, Kranti||Pang, Jiahui||Callaway, Evelyn||Zhou, Beiyan||Ivanov, Ivan||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • June 2017