Epigenetic loss of heterogeneity from low to high grade localized prostate tumours

Sebnem Ece Eksi, Alex Chitsazan, Zeynep Sayar, George V. Thomas, Andrew J. Fields, Ryan P. Kopp, Paul T. Spellman, Andrew C. Adey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Identifying precise molecular subtypes attributable to specific stages of localized prostate cancer has proven difficult due to high levels of heterogeneity. Bulk assays represent a population-average, which mask the heterogeneity that exists at the single-cell level. In this work, we sequence the accessible chromatin regions of 14,424 single-cells from 18 flash-frozen prostate tumours. We observe shared chromatin features among low-grade prostate cancer cells are lost in high-grade tumours. Despite this loss, high-grade tumours exhibit an enrichment for FOXA1, HOXB13 and CDX2 transcription factor binding sites, indicating a shared trans-regulatory programme. We identify two unique genes encoding neuronal adhesion molecules that are highly accessible in high-grade prostate tumours. We show NRXN1 and NLGN1 expression in epithelial, endothelial, immune and neuronal cells in prostate cancer using cyclic immunofluorescence. Our results provide a deeper understanding of the active gene regulatory networks in primary prostate tumours, critical for molecular stratification of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7292
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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