Cancers in each tissue typically have a specific set of mutations that differ between tissues. This is because cells of different types have specific regulators that transmit the developmental and environmental signals relevant in each tissue, even though the main regulators driving cell proliferation are shared. To fully understand how individual cells control their proliferation, we need to characterize the role of each regulator in each individual cell. We will aim for this by individually depleting cells of each regulator (transcription factor) and observing how expression of all genes in single colon cancer cells is affected. By combining the gene expression data from a large number of single cells, we aim to explain gene regulation of colon cancer cells in higher precision than previously possible. To gain better understanding of which part of this regulation is tissue-specific and which common to other epithelia derived malignancies, we will also perform the experiment in ovarian tumor cells with different genetic aberrations, tissue-specific TFs and applied chemotherapy regimens.  The obtained high-resolution gene regulatory network of single cells will help to identify the tissue-specific factors that transmit the signals relevant for colon cancer cells.

This project is funded by Academy of Finland.