Identification of Dysregulated Competitive Endogenous RNA Networks Driven by Copy Number Variations in Malignant Gliomas

Front Genet. 2019 Oct 25;10:1055. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.01055. eCollection 2019.


Gliomas represent 80% of malignant brain tumors. Because of the high heterogeneity, the oncogenic mechanisms in gliomas are still unclear. In this study, we developed a new approach to identify dysregulated competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) interactions driven by copy number variation (CNV) in both lower-grade glioma (LGG) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). By analyzing genome and transcriptome data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we first found out the protein coding genes and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) significantly affected by CNVs and further determined CNV-driven dysregulated ceRNA interactions by a customized pipeline. We obtained 13,776 CNV-driven dysregulated ceRNA pairs (including 3,954 mRNAs and 306 lncRNAs) in LGG and 262 pairs (including 221 mRNAs and 11 lncRNAs) in GBM, respectively. Our results showed that most of the ceRNA interactions were weakened by CNVs in both LGG and GBM, and many CNV-driven genes shared the same ceRNAs in the dysregulated ceRNA networks. Functional analysis indicated that the CNV-driven ceRNA network involved in some important mechanisms of tumorigenesis, such as cell cycle, p53 signaling pathway and TGF-beta signaling pathway. Further investigation of the ceRNA pairs in the communities from the dysregulated ceRNA network revealed more detailed biological functions related to the oncogenesis of malignant gliomas. Moreover, by exploring the association of CNV-driven ceRNAs with prognosis and histological subtype, we found that the copy number status of MTAP, KLHL9, and ELAVL2 related to the overall survival in LGG and showed high correlation with histological subtype. In conclusion, this study provided new insight into the molecular mechanisms and clinical biomarkers in gliomas.

Keywords: CNV; ceRNA; gliomas; lncRNA; prognosis.