BORIS/CTCFL-mediated chromatin accessibility alterations promote a pro-invasive transcriptional signature in melanoma cells

Roy Moscona, Sanne Marlijn Janssen, Mounib Elchebly, Andreas Ioannis Papadakis, Eitan Rubin, Alan Spatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, due to its tendency to metastasize early. Brother of regulator of imprinted sites (BORIS), also known as CCCTC binding factor-like (CTCFL), is a transcription regulator that becomes ectopically expressed in melanoma. We recently showed that BORIS contributes to melanoma phenotype switching by altering the gene expression program of melanoma cells from an intermediate melanocytic state toward a more mesenchymal-like state. However, the mechanism underlying this transcriptional switch remains unclear. Here, ATAC-seq was used to study BORIS-mediated chromatin accessibility alterations in melanoma cells harboring an intermediate melanocytic state. The gene set that gained promoter accessibility, following ectopic BORIS expression, showed enrichment for biological processes associated with melanoma invasion, while promoters of genes associated with proliferation showed reduced accessibility. Integration of ATAC-seq and RNA-seq data demonstrated that increased chromatin accessibility was associated with transcriptional upregulation of genes involved in tumor progression processes, and the aberrant activation of oncogenic transcription factors, while reduced chromatin accessibility and downregulated genes were associated with repressed activity of tumor suppressors and proliferation factors. Together, these findings indicate that BORIS mediates transcriptional reprogramming in melanoma cells by altering chromatin accessibility and gene expression, shifting the cellular transcription landscape of melanoma cells toward a mesenchymal-like genetic signature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)299-313
Number of pages15
JournalPigment Cell and Melanoma Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2023


  • ATAC-seq
  • CTCFL protein
  • RNA-seq
  • cell proliferation
  • chromatin
  • ectopic gene expression
  • gene expression regulation
  • human
  • melanoma
  • transcription factors
  • transcriptome

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology


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