Integrative transcriptional analysis between human and mouse cancer cells provides a common set of transformation associated genes

C. Balestrieri, M. Vanoni, S. Hautaniemi, L. Alberghina, F. Chiaradonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mouse functional genomics is largely used to investigate relevant aspects of mammalian physiology and pathology. To which degree mouse models may offer accurate representations of molecular events underlining human diseases such as cancer is not yet fully established. Herein we compare gene expression signatures between a set of human cancer cell lines (NCI-60 cell collection) and a mouse cellular model of oncogenic K-ras dependent transformation in order to identify their closeness at the transcriptional level. The results of our integrative and comparative analysis show that in both species as compared to normal cells or tissues the transformation process involves the activation of a transcriptional response. Furthermore, the cellular mouse model of K-ras dependent transformation has a good degree of similarity with several human cancer cell lines and in particular with cell lines containing oncogenic Ras mutations. Moreover both species have similar genetic signatures that are associated to the same altered cellular pathways (e.g. Spliceosome and Proteasome) or to deregulation of the same genes (e.g. cyclin D1, AHSA1 and HNRNPD) detected in the comparison between cancer cells versus normal cells or tissues. In summary, we report one of the first in-depth analysis of global gene expression profiles of a K-ras dependent mouse cell model of transformation and a large collection of human cancer cells as compared to their normal counterparts. Taken together our findings show a strong correlation in the transcriptional and pathway alteration responses between the two species, therefore validating the use of the mouse model as an appropriate tool to investigate human cancer, and indicating that the comparative analysis, as described here, offers a useful approach to identify cancer-specific gene signatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Bioinformatics
  • Cancer genes
  • Cross-species comparison
  • K-ras oncogene
  • NIH3T3
  • Transcriptome
  • Transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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