VDR primary targets by genome-wide transcriptional profiling

Frauke Goeman, Francesca De Nicola, Paolo D Onorio De Meo, Matteo Pallocca, Berardino Elmi, Tiziana Castrignanò, Graziano Pesole, Sabrina Strano, Giovanni Blandino, Maurizio Fanciulli, Paola Muti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence that 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3) plays a role in breast cancer prevention and survival. It elicits a variety of antitumor activities like controlling cellular differentiation, proliferation and angiogenesis. Most of its biological effects are exerted via its nuclear receptor which acts as a transcriptional regulator. Here, we carried out a genome-wide investigation of the primary transcriptional targets of 1α,25(OH)2D3 in breast epithelial cancer cells using RNA-Seq technology. We identified early transcriptional targets of 1α,25(OH)2D3 involved in adhesion, growth regulation, angiogenesis, actin cytoskeleton regulation, hexose transport, inflammation and immunomodulation, apoptosis, endocytosis and signaling. Furthermore, we found several transcription factors to be regulated by 1α,25(OH)2D3 that subsequently amplify and diversify the transcriptional output driven by 1α,25(OH)2D3 leading finally to a growth arrest of the cells. Moreover, we could show that 1α,25(OH)2D3 elevates the trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 at several target gene promoters. Our present transcriptomic analysis of differential expression after 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment provides a resource of primary 1α,25(OH)2D3 targets that might drive the antiproliferative action in breast cancer epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • ChIP-Seq
  • Genome-wide transcriptional profiling
  • H3K4me3
  • Mutant p53
  • RNA-Seq
  • Vitamin D receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Medicine


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