Open Access Research article

A transcriptomic approach to elucidate the physiological significance of human cytochrome P450 2S1 in bronchial epithelial cells

Thushara W Madanayake1, Ingrid E Lindquist2, Nicholas P Devitt2, Joann Mudge2 and Aaron M Rowland1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA

2 National Center for Genomics Research, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:833  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-833

Published: 26 November 2013



Cytochrome P450 2S1 (CYP2S1) is an orphan P450 with an unknown biological function. Data from our laboratory and others suggest that CYP2S1 may have an important physiological role in modulating the synthesis and metabolism of bioactive lipids including prostaglandins and retinoids. CYP2S1 expression is elevated in multiple epithelial-derived cancers as well as in the chronic hyperproliferative disease psoriasis. Whether CYP2S1 expression in proliferative disease is protective, detrimental, or neutral to disease progression remains to be determined. Two human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) were constructed to represent chronic depletion of CYP2S1 using short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) silencing directed toward the 3’UTR (759) and exon 3 (984) of the CYP2S1 gene and compared with a non-targeting shRNA control (SCRAM). Both CYP2S1 mRNA and protein were depleted by approximately 75% in stable cell lines derived from both targeted shRNA constructs (759 and 984). To elucidate the biological significance of CYP2S1, we analyzed transcriptome alterations in response to CYP2S1 depletion in human lung cells.


RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis was performed to compare the transcriptome of the control (SCRAM) and the CYP2S1-depleted (759) BEAS-2B cell lines. Transcriptomes of the replicates from the two cell lines were found to be distinct populations as determined using Principal Component Analysis and hierarchical clustering. Approximately 1000 genes were differentially expressed in response to CYP2S1 depletion. Consistent with our previous phenotypes, DAVID analysis revealed altered regulation in key pathways implicated in cell proliferation and migration. Transcriptomic profiles were also consistent with the metabolism of proposed endogenous substrates. Pathway analysis also revealed significant expression changes within mTOR signaling, a critical pathway in cell growth. To determine whether these changes manifest as altered cell size, cell diameter and volume were calculated, revealing that CYP2S1 depletion promotes cell growth in BEAS-2B cells.


These data suggest that pathway analysis of sequence-based gene expression is a powerful method to identify pathways and phenotypic alterations in response to changes in orphan enzyme expression. Our results suggest a novel role for CYP2S1-mediated metabolism in modulating BEAS-2B cell size. These findings warrant further studies on CYP2S1 regulated pathways to elucidate potential substrates of CYP2S1.

CYP2S1; BEAS-2B; Retinoic acid; Arachidonic acid; RNA Seq; Orphan; shRNA; PGE2