AN Holding, FM Giorgi, A Donnelly, AE Cullen, S Nagarajan, LA Selth, F Markowetz
BACKGROUND: VirtUaL ChIP-seq Analysis through Networks (VULCAN) infers regulatory interactions of transcription factors by overlaying networks generated from publicly available tumor expression data onto ChIP-seq data. We apply our method to dissect the regulation of estrogen receptor-alpha activation in breast cancer to identify potential co-regulators of the estrogen receptor's transcriptional response. RESULTS: VULCAN analysis of estrogen receptor activation in breast cancer highlights the key components of the estrogen receptor complex alongside a novel interaction with GRHL2. We demonstrate that GRHL2 is recruited to a subset of estrogen receptor binding sites and regulates transcriptional output, as evidenced by changes in estrogen receptor-associated eRNA expression and stronger estrogen receptor binding at active enhancers after GRHL2 knockdown. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide new insight into the role of GRHL2 in regulating eRNA transcription as part of estrogen receptor signaling. These results demonstrate VULCAN, available from Bioconductor, as a powerful predictive tool.