Here we describe a conditional piggyBac transposition system in mice and report the discovery of large sets of new cancer genes through a pancreatic insertional mutagenesis screen. We identify Foxp1 as an oncogenic transcription factor that drives pancreatic cancer invasion and spread in a mouse model and correlates with lymph node metastasis in human patients with pancreatic cancer. The propensity of piggyBac for open chromatin also enabled genome-wide screening for cancer-relevant noncoding DNA, which pinpointed a Cdkn2a cis-regulatory region. Histologically, we observed different tumor subentities and discovered associated genetic events, including Fign insertions in hepatoid pancreatic cancer. Our studies demonstrate the power of genetic screening to discover cancer drivers that are difficult to identify by other approaches to cancer genome analysis, such as downstream targets of commonly mutated human cancer genes. These piggyBac resources are universally applicable in any tissue context and provide unique experimental access to the genetic complexity of cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Research Support Facility for excellent technical assistance as well as K. Yusa and B. Göttgens for discussions and advice. The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (to A.B.), the German Cancer Consortium (to R.R.) and the Helmholtz Gemeinschaft (PCCC Consortium; to R.R. and D.S.).
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