LINE-1 retrotransposons are expressed in epithelial cancers but not normal adult tissues. Previously, we demonstrated repression of cell proliferation, migration, and invasion genes in L1-reverse transcriptase-inhibited T47D cells, while genes involved in cell projection, formation of vacuolar membranes, and intercellular junctions were upregulated. Extending this, we examined microarray data from L1-silenced and Efavirenz-treated T47D cells by Weighted Gene Correlation Network Analysis and literature mining. Hub genes in the most significant module comparing L1-silenced and untreated controls included HSP90AB2p, DDX39A, PANK2, MT1M, and LIMK2. HSP90AB2p is related to HSP90, a master regulator of cancer, cancer evolvability and chemo-resistance. DDX39A is a known cancer driver gene while PANK2 and MT1M affect multiple pathways. LIMK2 and SYBL1 impact actin cytoskeletal dynamics and the cofilin pathway, cancer cell motility, and the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Also affected were signal transduction, HIF1 pathways, iron/redox metabolism, stress granules and cancer stem cell-related metabolic reprogramming and the eIF4F translation initiation complex. Hub genes in other modules, including BTRC, MDM2, and FBXW7, stabilize oncoproteins like MYC, p53, and NOTCH1 or reflect CXCL12–CXCR4 signalling. Our findings support mounting evidence that L1 activity is a cause, rather than a consequence of oncogenesis, with L1 affecting the formation of cancer stem cells.
Part of the book: Gene Expression and Regulation in Mammalian Cells