Background: Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 100 loci associated with increased risk of prostate cancer, most of which are in non-coding regions of the genome. Understanding the function of these non-coding risk loci is critical to elucidate the genetic susceptibility to prostate cancer.
Results: We generate genome-wide regulatory element maps and performed genome-wide chromosome confirmation capture assays (in situ Hi-C) in normal and tumorigenic prostate cells. Using this information, we annotate the regulatory potential of 2,181 fine-mapped prostate cancer risk-associated SNPs and predict a set of target genes that are regulated by prostate cancer risk-related H3K27Ac-mediated loops. We next identify prostate cancer risk-associated CTCF sites involved in long-range chromatin loops. We use CRISPR-mediated deletion to remove prostate cancer risk-associated CTCF anchor regions and the CTCF anchor regions looped to the prostate cancer risk-associated CTCF sites, and we observe up to 100-fold increases in expression of genes within the loops when the prostate cancer risk-associated CTCF anchor regions are deleted.
Conclusions: We identify GWAS risk loci involved in long-range loops that function to repress gene expression within chromatin loops. Our studies provide new insights into the genetic susceptibility to prostate cancer.
Keywords: CRISPR; CTCF; Chromatin looping; GWAS SNPs; Prostate cancer.