Dynamics of chromatin accessibility during TGF-β-induced EMT of Ras-transformed mammary gland epithelial cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 26;7(1):1166. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00973-4.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is induced by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and facilitates tumor progression. We here performed global mapping of accessible chromatin in the mouse mammary gland epithelial EpH4 cell line and its Ras-transformed derivative (EpRas) using formaldehyde-assisted isolation of regulatory element (FAIRE)-sequencing. TGF-β and Ras altered chromatin accessibility either cooperatively or independently, and AP1, ETS, and RUNX binding motifs were enriched in the accessible chromatin regions of EpH4 and EpRas cells. Etv4, an ETS family oncogenic transcription factor, was strongly expressed and bound to more than one-third of the accessible chromatin regions in EpRas cells treated with TGF-β. While knockdown of Etv4 and another ETS family member Etv5 showed limited effects on the decrease in the E-cadherin abundance and stress fiber formation by TGF-β, gene ontology analysis showed that genes encoding extracellular proteins were most strongly down-regulated by Etv4 and Etv5 siRNAs. Accordingly, TGF-β-induced expression of Mmp13 and cell invasiveness were suppressed by Etv4 and Etv5 siRNAs, which were accompanied by the reduced chromatin accessibility at an enhancer region of Mmp13 gene. These findings suggest a mechanism of transcriptional regulation during Ras- and TGF-β-induced EMT that involves alterations of accessible chromatin, which are partly regulated by Etv4 and Etv5.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • DNA
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)