Several copy number-altered regions (CNAs) have been identified in the genome of cervical cancer, notably, amplifications of 3q and 5p. However, the contribution of copy-number alterations to cervical carcinogenesis is unresolved because genome-wide there exists a lack of correlation between copy-number alterations and gene expression. In this study, we investigated whether CNAs in the cell lines CaLo, CaSki, HeLa, and SiHa were associated with changes in gene expression. On average, 19.2% of the cell-line genomes had CNAs. However, only 2.4% comprised minimal recurrent regions (MRRs) common to all the cell lines. Whereas 3q had limited common gains (13%), 5p was entirely duplicated recurrently. Genome-wide, only 15.6% of genes located in CNAs changed gene expression; in contrast, the rate in MRRs was up to 3 times this. Chr 5p was confirmed entirely amplified by FISH; however, maximum 33.5% of the explored genes in 5p were deregulated. In 3q, this rate was 13.4%. Even in 3q26, which had 5 MRRs and 38.7% recurrently gained SNPs, the rate was only 15.1%. Interestingly, up to 19% of deregulated genes in 5p and 73% in 3q26 were downregulated, suggesting additional factors were involved in gene repression. The deregulated genes in 3q and 5p occurred in clusters, suggesting local chromatin factors may also influence gene expression. In regions amplified discontinuously, downregulated genes increased steadily as the number of amplified SNPs increased (p<0.01, Spearman's correlation). Therefore, partial gene amplification may function in silencing gene expression. Additional genes in 1q, 3q and 5p could be involved in cervical carcinogenesis, specifically in apoptosis. These include PARP1 in 1q, TNFSF10 and ECT2 in 3q and CLPTM1L, AHRR, PDCD6, and DAP in 5p. Overall, gene expression and copy-number profiles reveal factors other than gene dosage, like epigenetic or chromatin domains, may influence gene expression within the entirely amplified genome segments.
This article is published online in PLos ONE and is free to access.