Sex-Differential Responses of Tumor Promotion-Associated Genes and Dysregulation of Novel Long Noncoding RNAs in Constitutive Androstane Receptor-Activated Mouse Liver

Toxicol Sci. 2017 Sep 1;159(1):25-41. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfx114.


Xenobiotic agonists of constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) induce many hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes, but following prolonged exposure, promote hepatocellular carcinoma, most notably in male mouse liver. Here, we used nuclear RNA-seq to characterize global changes in the mouse liver transcriptome following exposure to the CAR-specific agonist ligand 1,4-bis-[2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy)]benzene (TCPOBOP), including changes in novel long noncoding RNAs that may contribute to xenobiotic-induced pathophysiology. Protein-coding genes dysregulated by 3 h TCPOBOP exposure were strongly enriched in KEGG pathways of xenobiotic and drug metabolism, with stronger and more extensive gene responses observed in female than male liver. After 27 h TCPOBOP exposure, the number of responsive genes increased >8-fold in males, where the top enriched pathways and their upstream regulators expanded to include factors implicated in cell cycle dysregulation and hepatocellular carcinoma progression (cyclin-D1, oncogenes E2f, Yap, Rb, Myc, and proto-oncogenes β-catenin, FoxM1, FoxO1, all predicted to be activated by TCPOBOP in male but not female liver; and tumor suppressors p21 and p53, both predicted to be inhibited). Upstream regulators uniquely associated with 3 h TCPOBOP-exposed females include TNF/NFkB pathway members, which negatively regulate CAR-dependent proliferative responses and may contribute to the relative resistance of female liver to TCPOBOP-induced tumor promotion. These responses may be modified by the many long noncoding liver RNAs we show are dysregulated by TCPOBOP or pregnane-X-receptor agonist exposure, including lncRNAs proximal to CAR target genes Cyp2b10, Por, and Alas1. These data provide a comprehensive view of the CAR-regulated transcriptome and give insight into the mechanism of sex-biased susceptibility to CAR-dependent mouse liver tumorigenesis.

Keywords: HCC; PXR; cytochrome P450; environmental chemical; environmental toxicology; lincRNA; nuclear receptor; sex biased gene expression; PCN.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Female
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pregnane X Receptor
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / agonists
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Steroid / agonists
  • Transcriptome
  • Xenobiotics / pharmacology


  • Pregnane X Receptor
  • Pyridines
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Xenobiotics
  • constitutive androstane receptor
  • 1,4-bis(2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy))benzene