Cell-type-specific epigenomic variations associated with BRCA1 mutation in pre-cancer human breast tissues
BRCA1 germline mutation carriers are predisposed to breast cancers. Epigenomic regulations have been known to strongly interact with genetic variations and potentially mediate biochemical cascades involved in tumorigenesis. Due to the cell-type specificity of epigenomic features, profiling of individual cell types is critical for understanding the molecular events in various cellular compartments within complex breast tissue. Here, we produced cell-type-specific profiles of genome-wide histone modifications including H3K27ac and H3K4me3 in basal, luminal progenitor, mature luminal and stromal cells extracted from a small pilot cohort of pre-cancer BRCA1 mutation carriers (BRCA1(mut/+)) and non-carriers (BRCA1(+/+)), using a low-input ChIP-seq technology that we developed. We discovered that basal and stromal cells present the most extensive epigenomic differences between mutation carriers (BRCA1(mut/+)) and non-carriers (BRCA1(+/+)), while luminal progenitor and mature luminal cells are relatively unchanged with the mutation. Furthermore, the epigenomic changes in basal cells due to BRCA1 mutation appear to facilitate their transformation into luminal progenitor cells. Taken together, epigenomic regulation plays an important role in the case of BRCA1 mutation for shaping the molecular landscape that facilitates tumorigenesis.