ZRANB2 and SYF2-mediated splicing programs converging on ECT2 are involved in breast cancer cell resistance to doxorubicin
AbstractBesides analyses of specific alternative splicing (AS) variants, little is known about AS regulatory pathways and programs involved in anticancer drug resistance. Doxorubicin is widely used in breast cancer chemotherapy. Here, we identified 1723 AS events and 41 splicing factors regulated in a breast cancer cell model of acquired resistance to doxorubicin. An RNAi screen on splicing factors identified the little studied ZRANB2 and SYF2, whose depletion partially reversed doxorubicin resistance. By RNAi and RNA-seq in resistant cells, we found that the AS programs controlled by ZRANB2 and SYF2 were enriched in resistance-associated AS events, and converged on the ECT2 splice variant including exon 5 (ECT2-Ex5+). Both ZRANB2 and SYF2 were found associated with ECT2 pre-messenger RNA, and ECT2-Ex5+ isoform depletion reduced doxorubicin resistance. Following doxorubicin treatment, resistant cells accumulated in S phase, which partially depended on ZRANB2, SYF2 and the ECT2-Ex5+ isoform. Finally, doxorubicin combination with an oligonucleotide inhibiting ECT2-Ex5 inclusion reduced doxorubicin-resistant tumor growth in mouse xenografts, and high ECT2-Ex5 inclusion levels were associated with bad prognosis in breast cancer treated with chemotherapy. Altogether, our data identify AS programs controlled by ZRANB2 and SYF2 and converging on ECT2, that participate to breast cancer cell resistance to doxorubicin.