Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death and the most deadly gynecological malignancy in women. Epigenetic modifications play an important role in regulating gene transcription. Specifically, aberrant promoter hypermethylation has been implicated as a hallmark of cancer. In order to identify genes that are differentially methylated in ovarian cancer, we performed meDIP-chip in various ovarian cancer cell lines using Agilent 244K CpG island microarray. One of the targets, ARNTL which is a core component of the circadian clock is methylated in a sub-set of ovarian cancer cell lines. Combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) confirmed the results of the microarray. Additional analysis using ChIP-PCR revealed that promoter of ARNTL is enriched with the repressive histone mark H3K27me3 in CP70 and MCP2 ovarian cancer cells. Treatment with the EZH2 inhibitor (GSK126) significantly restored ARNTL expression in these cells (CP70 and MCP2). Further functional analysis demonstrated that overexpression of ARNTL inhibited cell growth and enhanced chemosensitivity of cisplatin in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, overexpression of ARNTL restored the rhythmic activity of c-MYC in ovarian cancer cells. These results suggested that ARNTL may be a tumor suppressor and is epigenetically silenced in ovarian cancer.
Early pregnancy in women by the age of 20 is known to have a profound effect on reduction of lifelong breast cancer risk as compared to their nulliparous counterparts. Additional pregnancies further enhance the protection against breast cancer development. Nationwide trend of delayed pregnancy may contribute to the recently reported increase in the incidence of advanced breast cancer among young women in this country. The underlying mechanism for the parity-associated reduction of breast cancer risk is not clearly understood. The purpose of the current study is to use whole-genome DNA methylation profiling to explore a potential association between parity and epigenetic changes in breast tissue from women with early parity and nulliparity. Breast tissue was collected from age-matched cancer-free women with early parity (age < 20; n = 15) or nulliparity (n = 13). The methyl-CpG binding domain-based capture-sequencing technology was used for whole-genome DNA methylation profiling. Potential parity-associated hypermethylated genes were further verified by locus-specific pyrosequencing, using an expanded cohort of parous (n = 19) and nulliparous (n = 16) women that included the initial samples used in the global analysis. Our study identified six genes that are hypermethylated in the parous group (P < 0.05). Pyrosequencing confirmed parity-associated hypermethylation at multiple CpG islands of the FOXA1 gene, which encodes a pioneer factor that facilitates chromatin binding of estrogen receptor ?. Our work identifies several potential methylation biomarkers for parity-associated breast cancer risk assessment. In addition, the results are consistent with the notion that parity-associated epigenetic silencing of FOXA1 contributes to long-term attenuation of the estrogenic impact on breast cancer development.
p57(Kip2), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is considered to be a candidate tumor suppressor gene that has been implicated in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and sporadic cancers. In addition, decreased expression of p57(Kip2) protein has been frequently observed in pancreatic, lung, breast, bladder, gastrointestinal tract and prostate cancers. However, p57(Kip2) gene mutations are rare in these cancers suggesting that other unknown mechanisms might be at play in reducing its expression. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanism of down-regulation of p57(Kip2) in prostate cancer.
We previously described a gene signature for breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) derived from patient biopsies. Selective shRNA knockdown identified ribosomal protein L39 (RPL39) and myeloid leukemia factor 2 (MLF2) as the top candidates that affect BCSC self-renewal. Knockdown of RPL39 and MLF2 by specific siRNA nanoparticles in patient-derived and human cancer xenografts reduced tumor volume and lung metastases with a concomitant decrease in BCSCs. RNA deep sequencing identified damaging mutations in both genes. These mutations were confirmed in patient lung metastases (n = 53) and were statistically associated with shorter median time to pulmonary metastasis. Both genes affect the nitric oxide synthase pathway and are altered by hypoxia. These findings support that extensive tumor heterogeneity exists within primary cancers; distinct subpopulations associated with stem-like properties have increased metastatic potential.
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is characterized by the early onset of colonic polyposis and a high risk for colorectal cancer. FAP is treated by colectomy followed by lifelong removal of rectal polyps. This study determined whether black raspberries (BRBs) might regress rectal polyps in patients with FAP. Fourteen patients with FAP were treated with BRBs daily for 9 months. Seven patients received BRB powder orally plus two BRB suppositories inserted into the rectum at bedtime. The other 7 received an oral placebo plus the suppositories. Rectal polyp counts and polyp sizes were obtained at time zero and after 9 months of BRB treatment. Polyps and adjacent normal tissue were collected at both time points. The burden (P = 0.036) but not number (P = 0.069) of rectal polyps was significantly decreased. No benefit was noted with the addition of oral BRBs. Three patients were nonresponders. BRBs significantly decreased cellular proliferation, DNA methylation methyl transferase 1 protein expression, and p16 promoter methylation, but not promoter methylation of the Wnt pathway antagonists, SFRP2 and WIF1, in rectal polyps (adenomas) from responders but not from nonresponders. The MBD-seq assay revealed more demethylated transcription start sites (TSS), including those for miRNAs, in BRB-treated adenomas from the responders. In conclusion, BRB suppositories seem sufficient for regressing rectal polyps in patients with FAP.
DNA methylation has been characterized as the representative example of epigenetic modifications and implicated in numerous biological processes, such as genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. It primarily occurs at CpG dinucleotides in mammals and plays a critical role in transcriptional regulations. Examination of DNA methylation patterns in gene(s) or across a genome is vital to understand the role of epigenetic modulation in the progress of development and tumorigenesis. Currently, lots of approaches have been developed to investigate DNA methylation patterns for either limited regions or for genome-scale studies, but some of them rely on using restriction enzymes. In this chapter, we describe two commonly used protocols to detect enrichment of methylated DNA regions, namely, methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) and capture of methylated DNA by methyl-CpG binding domain-based (MBD) proteins (MBDCap). They are the most economical and effective methods to study DNA methylation either at a single locus or in genome-wide scale.
Metastasis prediction is a well-known problem in breast cancer research. As breast cancer is a complex and heterogeneous disease with many molecular subtypes, predictive models trained for one cohort often perform poorly on other cohorts, and a combined model may be suboptimal for individual patients. Furthermore, attempting to develop subtype-specific models is hindered by the ambiguity and stereotypical definitions of subtypes.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is known to contain a high percentage of CD44(+) /CD24(-/low) cancer stem cells (CSCs), corresponding with a poor prognosis despite systemic chemotherapy. Chloroquine (CQ), an antimalarial drug, is a lysotropic reagent which inhibits autophagy. CQ was identified as a potential CSC inhibitor through in silico gene expression signature analysis of the CD44(+) /CD24(-/low) CSC population. Autophagy plays a critical role in adaptation to stress conditions in cancer cells, and is related with drug resistance and CSC maintenance. Thus, the objectives of this study were to examine the potential enhanced efficacy arising from addition of CQ to standard chemotherapy (paclitaxel) in TNBC and to identify the mechanism by which CQ eliminates CSCs in TNBCs. Herein, we report that CQ sensitizes TNBC cells to paclitaxel through inhibition of autophagy and reduces the CD44(+) /CD24(-/low) CSC population in both preclinical and clinical settings. Also, we are the first to report a mechanism by which CQ regulates the CSCs in TNBC through inhibition of the Janus-activated kinase 2 (Jak2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 signaling pathway by reducing the expression of Jak2 and DNA methyltransferase 1.
Aberrant expression of SOX4 in endometrial cancer has been identified and partially was contributed to hypermethylation of miR-129-2. Other miRNAs are suspected to influence SOX 4 as well. The current study seeks to identify other hypermethylated miRNAs that regulate SOX4 in endometrial carcinomas.
In prostate cancer, androgen receptor (AR) binding and androgen-responsive gene expression are defined by hormone-independent binding patterns of the pioneer factors FoxA1 and GATA2. Insufficient evidence of the mechanisms by which GATA2 contributes to this process precludes complete understanding of a key determinant of tissue-specific AR activity. Our observations suggest that GATA2 facilitates androgen-responsive gene expression by three distinct modes of action. By occupying novel binding sites within the AR gene locus, GATA2 positively regulates AR expression before and after androgen stimulation. Additionally, GATA2 engages AR target gene enhancers prior to hormone stimulation, producing an active and accessible chromatin environment via recruitment of the histone acetyltransferase p300. Finally, GATA2 functions in establishing and/or sustaining basal locus looping by recruiting the Mediator subunit MED1 in the absence of androgen. These mechanisms may contribute to the generally positive role of GATA2 in defining AR genome-wide binding patterns that determine androgen-responsive gene expression profiles. We also find that GATA2 and FoxA1 exhibit both independent and codependent co-occupancy of AR target gene enhancers. Identifying these determinants of AR transcriptional activity may provide a foundation for the development of future prostate cancer therapeutics that target pioneer factor function.
Alternative splicing (AS), in higher eukaryotes, is one of the mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation that generate multiple transcripts from the same gene. One particular mode of AS is the skipping event where an exon may be alternatively excluded or constitutively included in the resulting mature mRNA. Both transcript isoforms from this skipping event site, i.e. in which the exon is either included (inclusion isoform) or excluded (skipping isoform), are typically present in one cell, and maintain a subtle balance that is vital to cellular function and dynamics. However, how the prevailing conditions dictate which isoform is expressed and what biological factors might influence the regulation of this process remain areas requiring further exploration. In this study, we have developed a novel computational method, graph-based exon-skipping scanner (GESS), for de novo detection of skipping event sites from raw RNA-seq reads without prior knowledge of gene annotations, as well as for determining the dominant isoform generated from such sites. We have applied our method to publicly available RNA-seq data in GM12878 and K562 cells from the ENCODE consortium and experimentally validated several skipping site predictions by RT-PCR. Furthermore, we integrated other sequencing-based genomic data to investigate the impact of splicing activities, transcription factors (TFs) and epigenetic histone modifications on splicing outcomes. Our computational analysis found that splice sites within the skipping-isoform-dominated group (SIDG) tended to exhibit weaker MaxEntScan-calculated splice site strength around middle, skipping, exons compared to those in the inclusion-isoform-dominated group (IIDG). We further showed the positional preference pattern of splicing factors, characterized by enrichment in the intronic splice sites immediately bordering middle exons. Finally, our analysis suggested that different epigenetic factors may introduce a variable obstacle in the process of exon-intron boundary establishment leading to skipping events.
Endosulfine alpha (ENSA) is an endogenous ligand of sulfonylurea receptor that was reported to be associated with an ATP-dependent potassium channel that controls insulin release and the onset of type 2 diabetes. ENSA also interacts with microtubule-associated serine/threonine-protein kinase-like (MASTL) to regulate the cell cycle. Previously, we identified ENSA as a possible bivalent gene in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and hypothesized its methylation might determine cellular differentiation and transformation. Because there was no link between aberrant ENSA expression and tumorigenesis, we aimed to determine if ENSA is abnormally regulated in liver cancer and plays a role in liver cancer propagation. The epigenetic states of the ENSA promoter were evaluated in different cancer cell lines and patient samples. ENSA was overexpressed in a liver cancer cell line, and its interaction with MASTL and possible tumor suppression capabilities were also determined in cultured cells and mice. Distinct ENSA promoter methylation was observed in liver cancer (n=100pairs) and breast cancer (n=100pairs). ENSA was predominantly hypomethylated in liver cancer but was hypermethylated in breast cancer. Overexpressed ENSA interacts with MASTL and suppresses hepatic tumor growth. We also found that ENSA is hypermethylated in CD90-expressing (CD90(+)) cells compared to CD90 non-expressing (CD90(-)) liver cancer cells. These data reveal ENSA methylation changes during hepatic tumor evolution. Overexpressed ENSA suppresses tumor growth in an established hepatic cell line whereas hypermethylated ENSA might help maintain liver cancer initiating cells.
Epigenetic regulation by promoter methylation plays a key role in tumorigenesis. Our goal was to investigate whether altered DNA methylation signatures associated with oncogenic signaling delineate biomarkers predictive of endometrial cancer recurrence.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the colon. During inflammation, NF-?B is increased in colonic epithelial cells and in immune cells, leading to increases in proinflammatory cytokines. These events then increase DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), which silence a subset of tumor suppressor genes by promoter methylation. Negative regulators of the Wnt pathway are frequently methylated in UC, leading to dysregulation of the pathway and, potentially, to colorectal cancer. We determined if black raspberries (BRBs) influence promoter methylation of suppressors in the Wnt pathway in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced UC. C57BL/6J mice received 1% DSS and were fed either control or 5% BRB diets. Mice were euthanized on days 7, 14 and 28, and their colons, spleen and bone marrow were collected. Berries reduced ulceration at day 28. This was accompanied by decreased staining of macrophages and neutrophils and decreased NF-?B p65 nuclear localization in the colon at all time points. At day 7, BRBs demethylated the promoter of dkk3, leading to its increased messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in colon, spleen and bone marrow. ?-Catenin nuclear localization, c-Myc staining as well as protein expression of DNMT3B, histone deacetylases 1 and 2 (HDAC1 and HDAC2) and methyl-binding domain 2 (MBD2) were all decreased in colon; mRNA expression of these four proteins was decreased in bone marrow cells by BRBs. These results suggest that BRBs suppress colonic ulceration by correcting promoter hypermethylation of suppressor genes in the colon, as well as in the spleen and bone marrow that systematically regulate inflammation. Summary: Our results suggest that dietary BRBs suppress colonic ulceration by correcting promoter hypermethylation of suppressor genes in the colon, as well as in the spleen and bone marrow that systematically regulate inflammation in DSS-induced UC.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells of mesodermal origin that can be isolated from various sources and induced into different cell types. Although MSCs possess immune privilege and are more easily obtained than embryonic stem cells, their propensity to tumorigenesis has not been fully explored. Epigenomic changes in DNA methylation and chromatin structure have been hypothesized to be critical in the determination of lineage-specific differentiation and tumorigenesis of MSCs, but this has not been formally proven. We applied a targeted DNA methylation method to methylate a Polycomb group protein-governed gene, Trip10, in MSCs, which accelerated the cell fate determination of MSCs. In addition, targeted methylation of HIC1 and RassF1A, both tumor suppressor genes, transformed MSCs into tumor stem cell-like cells. This new method will allow better control of the differentiation of MSCs and their use in downstream applications.
Aberrant DNA methylation of CpG islands, CpG island shores and first exons is known to play a key role in the altered gene expression patterns in all human cancers. To date, a systematic study on the effect of DNA methylation on gene expression using high resolution data has not been reported. In this study, we conducted an integrated analysis of MethylCap-sequencing data and Affymetrix gene expression microarray data for 30 breast cancer cell lines representing different breast tumor phenotypes. As well-developed methods for the integrated analysis do not currently exist, we created a series of four different analysis methods. On the computational side, our goal is to develop methylome data analysis protocols for the integrated analysis of DNA methylation and gene expression data on the genome scale. On the cancer biology side, we present comprehensive genome-wide methylome analysis results for differentially methylated regions and their potential effect on gene expression in 30 breast cancer cell lines representing three molecular phenotypes, luminal, basal A and basal B. Our integrated analysis demonstrates that methylation status of different genomic regions may play a key role in establishing transcriptional patterns in molecular subtypes of human breast cancer.
Women with advanced stage ovarian cancer (OC) have a five-year survival rate of less than 25%. OC progression is associated with accumulation of epigenetic alterations and aberrant DNA methylation in gene promoters acts as an inactivating "hit" during OC initiation and progression. Abnormal DNA methylation in OC has been used to predict disease outcome and therapy response. To globally examine DNA methylation in OC, we used next-generation sequencing technology, MethylCap-sequencing, to screen 75 malignant and 26 normal or benign ovarian tissues. Differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) were identified, and the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazard model were used to correlate methylation with clinical endpoints. Functional role of specific genes identified by MethylCap-sequencing was examined in in vitro assays. We identified 577 DMRs that distinguished (p < 0.001) malignant from non-malignant ovarian tissues; of these, 63 DMRs correlated (p < 0.001) with poor progression free survival (PFS). Concordant hypermethylation and corresponding gene silencing of sonic hedgehog pathway members ZIC1 and ZIC4 in OC tumors was confirmed in a panel of OC cell lines, and ZIC1 and ZIC4 repression correlated with increased proliferation, migration and invasion. ZIC1 promoter hypermethylation correlated (p < 0.01) with poor PFS. In summary, we identified functional DNA methylation biomarkers significantly associated with clinical outcome in OC and suggest our comprehensive methylome analysis has significant translational potential for guiding the design of future clinical investigations targeting the OC epigenome. Methylation of ZIC1, a putative tumor suppressor, may be a novel determinant of OC outcome.
DNA hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands is associated with epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs). We used a methyl-CpG-binding domain protein capture method coupled with next-generation sequencing (MBDCap-seq) to survey global DNA methylation patterns in OSCCs with and without nodal metastasis and normal mucosa (total n = 58). Of 1462 differentially methylated CpG islands identified in OSCCs relative to normal controls, MBDCap-seq profiling uncovered 359 loci linked to lymph node metastasis. Interactive network analysis revealed a subset of these loci (n = 23), including the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, are potential regulators and effectors of invasiveness and metastatic progression. Promoter methylation of ALK was preferentially observed in OSCCs without node metastasis, whereas relatively lower methylation levels were present in metastatic tumors, implicating an active state of ALK transcription in the latter group. The OSCC cell line, SCC4, displayed reduced ALK expression that corresponded to extensive promoter CpG island methylation. SCC4 treatment with demethylating agents induced ALK expression and increased invasion and migration characteristics. Inhibition of ALK activity in OSCC cells with high ALK expression (CAL27, HSC3 and SCC25), decreased cell growth and resulted in changes in invasive potential and mesenchymal marker expression that were cell-line dependent. Although ALK is susceptible to epigenetic silencing during oral tumorigenesis, overwriting this default state may be necessary for modulating invasive processes involved in nodal metastases. Given the complex response of OSCC cells to ALK inhibition, future studies are required to assess the feasibility of targeting ALK to treat invasive OSCCs.
A causal role of gene amplification in tumorigenesis is well known, whereas amplification of DNA regulatory elements as an oncogenic driver remains unclear. In this study, we integrated next-generation sequencing approaches to map distant estrogen response elements (DEREs) that remotely control the transcription of target genes through chromatin proximity. Two densely mapped DERE regions located on chromosomes 17q23 and 20q13 were frequently amplified in estrogen receptor-?-positive luminal breast cancer. These aberrantly amplified DEREs deregulated target gene expression potentially linked to cancer development and tamoxifen resistance. Progressive accumulation of DERE copies was observed in normal breast progenitor cells chronically exposed to estrogenic chemicals. These findings may extend to other DNA regulatory elements, the amplification of which can profoundly alter target transcriptome during tumorigenesis.
Adipose stromal cells are the primary source of local oestrogens in adipose tissue, aberrant production of which promotes oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Here we show that extracellular matrix compliance and cell contractility are two opposing determinants for oestrogen output of adipose stromal cells. Using synthetic extracellular matrix and elastomeric micropost arrays with tunable rigidity, we find that increasing matrix compliance induces transcription of aromatase, a rate-limiting enzyme in oestrogen biosynthesis. This mechanical cue is transduced sequentially by discoidin domain receptor 1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1, and phosphorylated JunB, which binds to and activates two breast cancer-associated aromatase promoters. In contrast, elevated cell contractility due to actin stress fibre formation dampens aromatase transcription. Mechanically stimulated stromal oestrogen production enhances oestrogen-dependent transcription in oestrogen receptor-positive tumour cells and promotes their growth. This novel mechanotransduction pathway underlies communications between extracellular matrix, stromal hormone output, and cancer cell growth within the same microenvironment.
We previously reported that oral administration of black raspberry powder decreased promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes in tumors from patients with colorectal cancer. The anthocyanins (ACs) in black raspberries are responsible, at least in part, for their cancer-inhibitory effects. In the present study, we asked if ACs are responsible for the demethylation effects observed in colorectal cancers. Three days of treatment of ACs at 0.5, 5, and 25 ?g/ml suppressed activity and protein expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3B in HCT116, Caco2 and SW480 cells. Promoters of CDKN2A, and SFRP2, SFRP5, and WIF1, upstream of Wnt pathway, were demethylated by ACs. mRNA expression of some of these genes was increased. mRNA expression of ?-catenin and c-Myc, downstream of Wnt pathway, and cell proliferation were decreased; apoptosis was increased. ACs were taken up into HCT116 cells and were differentially localized with DNMT1 and DNMT3B in the same cells visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Although it was reported that DNMT3B is regulated by c-Myc in mouse lymphoma, DNMT3B did not bind with c-Myc in HCT116 cells. In conclusion, our results suggest that ACs are responsible, at least in part, for the demethylation effects of whole black raspberries in colorectal cancers.
An emerging Hi-C protocol has the ability to probe three-dimensional (3D) architecture and capture chromatin interactions in a genome-wide scale. It provides informative results to address how chromatin organization changes contribute to disease/tumor occurrence and progression in response to stimulation of environmental chemicals or hormones.
This report describes an improved protocol to generate stranded, barcoded RNA-seq libraries to capture the whole transcriptome. By optimizing the use of duplex specific nuclease (DSN) to remove ribosomal RNA reads from stranded barcoded libraries, we demonstrate improved efficiency of multiplexed next generation sequencing (NGS). This approach detects expression profiles of all RNA types, including miRNA (microRNA), piRNA (Piwi-interacting RNA), snoRNA (small nucleolar RNA), lincRNA (long non-coding RNA), mtRNA (mitochondrial RNA) and mRNA (messenger RNA) without the use of gel electrophoresis. The improved protocol generates high quality data that can be used to identify differential expression in known and novel coding and non-coding transcripts, splice variants, mitochondrial genes and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms).
Prostate tumors shed circulating tumor cells (CTCs) into the blood stream. Increased evidence shows that CTCs are often present in metastatic prostate cancer and can be alternative sources for disease profiling and prognostication. Here we postulate that CTCs expressing genes related to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are strong predictors of metastatic prostate cancer.
One big limitation of computational tools for analyzing ChIP-seq data is that most of them ignore non-unique tags (NUTs) that match the human genome even though NUTs comprise up to 60% of all raw tags in ChIP-seq data. Effectively utilizing these NUTs would increase the sequencing depth and allow a more accurate detection of enriched binding sites, which in turn could lead to more precise and significant biological interpretations. In this study, we have developed a computational tool, LOcating Non-Unique matched Tags (LONUT), to improve the detection of enriched regions from ChIP-seq data. Our LONUT algorithm applies a linear and polynomial regression model to establish an empirical score (ES) formula by considering two influential factors, the distance of NUTs to peaks identified using uniquely matched tags (UMTs) and the enrichment score for those peaks resulting in each NUT being assigned to a unique location on the reference genome. The newly located tags from the set of NUTs are combined with the original UMTs to produce a final set of combined matched tags (CMTs). LONUT was tested on many different datasets representing three different characteristics of biological data types. The detected sites were validated using de novo motif discovery and ChIP-PCR. We demonstrate the specificity and accuracy of LONUT and show that our program not only improves the detection of binding sites for ChIP-seq, but also identifies additional binding sites.
DNA methylation of promoter CpG islands is associated with gene suppression, and its unique genome-wide profiles have been linked to tumor progression. Coupled with high-throughput sequencing technologies, it can now efficiently determine genome-wide methylation profiles in cancer cells. Also, experimental and computational technologies make it possible to find the functional relationship between cancer-specific methylation patterns and their clinicopathological parameters.
Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, are responsible for determining and maintaining cell fate, stably differentiating the various tissues in our bodies. Increasing evidence shows that DNA methylation plays a significant role in cancer, from the silencing of tumor suppressors to the activation of oncogenes and the promotion of metastasis. Recent studies also suggest a role for DNA methylation in drug resistance. This perspective article discusses how DNA methylation may contribute to the development of acquired endocrine resistance, with a focus on breast cancer. In addition, we discuss DNA methylome profiling and how recent developments in this field are shedding new light on the role of epigenetics in endocrine resistance. Hormone ablation is the therapy of choice for hormone-sensitive breast tumors, yet as many as 40% of patients inevitably relapse, and these hormone refractory tumors often have a poor prognosis. Epigenetic studies could provide DNA methylation biomarkers to predict and diagnose acquired resistance in response to treatment. Elucidation of epigenetic mechanisms may also lead to the development of new treatments that specifically target epigenetic abnormalities or vulnerabilities in cancer cells. Expectations must be tempered by the fact that epigenetic mechanisms of endocrine resistance remain poorly understood, and further study is required to better understand how altering epigenetic pathways with therapeutics can promote or inhibit endocrine resistance in different contexts. Going forward, DNA methylome profiling will become increasingly central to epigenetic research, heralding a network-based approach to epigenetics that promises to advance our understanding of the etiology of cancer in ways not previously possible.
The enhancer pioneer transcription factor FoxA1 is a global mediator of steroid receptor (SR) action in hormone-dependent cancers. In castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), FoxA1 acts as an androgen receptor cofactor to drive G? to M-phase cell-cycle transit. Here, we describe a mechanistically distinct SR-independent role for FoxA1 in driving G? to S-phase cell-cycle transit in CRPC. By comparing FoxA1 binding sites in prostate cancer cell genomes, we defined a codependent set of FoxA1-MYBL2 and FoxA1-CREB1 binding sites within the regulatory regions of the Cyclin E2 and E2F1 genes that are critical for CRPC growth. Binding at these sites upregulate the Cyclin E2 and Cyclin A2 genes in CRPC but not in earlier stage androgen-dependent prostate cancer, establishing a stage-specific role for this pathway in CRPC growth. Mechanistic investigations indicated that FoxA1, MYBL2, or CREB1 induction of histone H3 acetylation facilitated nucleosome disruption as the basis for codependent transcriptional activation and G? to S-phase cell-cycle transit. Our findings establish FoxA1 as a pivotal driver of the cell-cycle in CRPC which promotes G? to S-phase transit as well as G? to M-phase transit through two distinct mechanisms.
Aberrant TGF? signaling pathway may alter the expression of down-stream targets and promotes ovarian carcinogenesis. However, the mechanism of this impairment is not fully understood. Our previous study has identified RunX1T1 as a putative SMAD4 target in an immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cell line, IOSE. In this study, we report that transcription of RunX1T1 was confirmed to be positively regulated by SMAD4 in IOSE cells and epigenetically silenced in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines by promoter hypermethylation and histone methylation at H3 lysine 9. SMAD4 depletion increased repressive histone modifications of RunX1T1 promoter without affecting promoter methylation in IOSE cells. Epigenetic treatment can restore RunX1T1 expression by reversing its epigenetic status in MCP3 ovarian cancer cells. When transiently treated with a demethylating agent, the expression of RunX1T1 was partially restored in MCP3 cells, but gradual re-silencing through promoter re-methylation was observed after the treatment. Interestingly, SMAD4 knockdown accelerated this re-silencing process, suggesting that normal TGF-beta signaling is essential for the maintenance of RunX1T1 expression. In vivo analysis confirmed that hypermethylation of RunX1T1 was detected in 35.7% (34/95) of ovarian tumors with high clinical stages (P=0.035) and in 83% (5/6) of primary ovarian cancer-initiating cells. Additionally, concurrent methylation of RunX1T1 and another SMAD4 target, FBXO32 which was previously found to be hypermethylated in ovarian cancer was observed in this same sample cohort (P< 0.05). Restoration of RunX1T1 inhibited cancer cell growth. Taken together, dysregulated TGF?/SMAD4 signaling may lead to epigenetic silencing of a putative tumor suppressor, RunX1T1, during ovarian carcinogenesis.
DNA methylation plays a very important role in the silencing of tumor suppressor genes in various tumor types. In order to gain a genome-wide understanding of how changes in methylation affect tumor growth, the differential methylation hybridization (DMH) protocol has been developed and large amounts of DMH microarray data have been generated. However, it is still unclear how to preprocess this type of microarray data and how different background correction and normalization methods used for two-color gene expression arrays perform for the methylation microarray data. In this paper, we demonstrate our discovery of a set of internal control probes that have log ratios (M) theoretically equal to zero according to this DMH protocol. With the aid of this set of control probes, we propose two LOESS (or LOWESS, locally weighted scatter-plot smoothing) normalization methods that are novel and unique for DMH microarray data. Combining with other normalization methods (global LOESS and no normalization), we compare four normalization methods. In addition, we compare five different background correction methods.
Estrogens regulate diverse physiological processes in various tissues through genomic and non-genomic mechanisms that result in activation or repression of gene expression. Transcription regulation upon estrogen stimulation is a critical biological process underlying the onset and progress of the majority of breast cancer. Dynamic gene expression changes have been shown to characterize the breast cancer cell response to estrogens, the every molecular mechanism of which is still not well understood.
Although DNA hypermethylation within promoter CpG islands is highly correlated with tumorigenesis, it has not been established whether DNA hypermethylation within a specific tumor suppressor gene (TSG) is sufficient to fully transform a somatic stem cell. In this study, we addressed this question using a novel targeted DNA methylation technique to methylate the promoters of HIC1 and RassF1A, two well-established TSGs, along with a two-component reporter system to visualize successful targeting of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as a model cell system. MSCs harboring targeted promoter methylations of HIC1/RassF1A displayed several features of cancer stem/initiating cells including loss of anchorage dependence, increased colony formation capability, drug resistance, and pluripotency. Notably, inoculation of immunodeficient mice with low numbers of targeted MSC resulted in tumor formation, and subsequent serial xenotransplantation and immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of stem cell markers and MSC lineage in tumor xenografts. Consistent with the expected mechanism of TSG hypermethylation, treatment of the targeted MSC with a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor reversed their tumorigenic phenotype. To our knowledge, this is the first direct demonstration that aberrant TSG hypermethylation is sufficient to transform a somatic stem cell into a fully malignant cell with cancer stem/initiating properties.
Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is the catalytic subunit of the Polycomb-repressive complex 2 (PRC2) that represses gene transcription through histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). Although EZH2 is abundantly present in various cancers, the molecular consequences leading to oncogenesis remain unclear. Here, we show that EZH2 concordantly silences the Wnt pathway antagonists operating at several subcellular compartments, which in turn activate Wnt/?-catenin signaling in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Chromatin immunoprecipitation promoter array and gene expression analyses in HCCs revealed EZH2 occupancy and reduced expression of Wnt antagonists, including the growth-suppressive AXIN2, NKD1, PPP2R2B, PRICKLE1, and SFRP5. Knockdown of EZH2 reduced the promoter occupancy of PRC2, histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), and H3K27me3, whereas the activating histone marks were increased, leading to the transcriptional upregulation of the Wnt antagonists. Combinatorial EZH2 and HDAC inhibition dramatically reduced the levels of nuclear ?-catenin, T-cell factor-dependent transcriptional activity, and downstream pro-proliferative targets CCND1 and EGFR. Functional analysis revealed that downregulation of EZH2 reduced HCC cell growth, partially through the inhibition of ?-catenin signaling. Conversely, ectopic overexpression of EZH2 in immortalized hepatocytes activated Wnt/?-catenin signaling to promote cellular proliferation. In human HCCs, concomitant overexpression of EZH2 and ?-catenin was observed in one-third (61/179) of cases and significantly correlated with tumor progression. Our data indicate that EZH2-mediated epigenetic silencing contributes to constitutive activation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling and consequential proliferation of HCC cells, thus representing a novel therapeutic target for this highly malignant tumor.
Differential Identification using Mixtures Ensemble (DIME) is a package for identification of biologically significant differential binding sites between two conditions using ChIP-seq data. It considers a collection of finite mixture models combined with a false discovery rate (FDR) criterion to find statistically significant regions. This leads to a more reliable assessment of differential binding sites based on a statistical approach. In addition to ChIP-seq, DIME is also applicable to data from other high-throughput platforms. Availability and implementation: DIME is implemented as an R-package, which is available at http://www.stat.osu.edu/~statgen/SOFTWARE/DIME. It may also be downloaded from http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/DIME/.
We synthesize drug-loaded poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres for image-guided combinatory epigenetic therapy in MCF-10A human mammary epithelial cells. LY294002 and Nile Red are encapsulated in microspheres for sustained drug release and fluorescence microscopic imaging. Drug-loaded microspheres target MCF-10A cells through a three-step binding process involving biotinylated antibody, streptavidin, and biotinylated microspheres. LY294002 loaded microspheres and 5-Aza-2-deoxycytidine are applied to MCF-10A cells for combinatory PI3K?AKT inhibition and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) demethylation. Our study implies the technical potential of disease targeting and image-guided combinatory epigenetic therapy using drug-loaded multifunctional biodegradable PLGA microspheres.
Deregulation of the transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) signaling pathway in epithelial ovarian cancer has been reported, but the precise mechanism underlying disrupted TGF? signaling in the disease remains unclear. We performed chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) to investigate genome-wide screening of TGF?-induced SMAD4 binding in epithelial ovarian cancer. Following TGF? stimulation of the A2780 epithelial ovarian cancer cell line, we identified 2,362 SMAD4 binding loci and 318 differentially expressed SMAD4 target genes. Comprehensive examination of SMAD4-bound loci, revealed four distinct binding patterns: 1) Basal; 2) Shift; 3) Stimulated Only; 4) Unstimulated Only. TGF? stimulated SMAD4-bound loci were primarily classified as either Stimulated only (74%) or Shift (25%), indicating that TGF?-stimulation alters SMAD4 binding patterns in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, based on gene regulatory network analysis, we determined that the TGF?-induced, SMAD4-dependent regulatory network was strikingly different in ovarian cancer compared to normal cells. Importantly, the TGF?/SMAD4 target genes identified in the A2780 epithelial ovarian cancer cell line were predictive of patient survival, based on in silico mining of publically available patient data bases. In conclusion, our data highlight the utility of next generation sequencing technology to identify genome-wide SMAD4 target genes in epithelial ovarian cancer and link aberrant TGF?/SMAD signaling to ovarian tumorigenesis. Furthermore, the identified SMAD4 binding loci, combined with gene expression profiling and in silico data mining of patient cohorts, may provide a powerful approach to determine potential gene signatures with biological and future translational research in ovarian and other cancers.
DNA methylation has been shown to play an important role in the silencing of tumor suppressor genes in various tumor types. In order to have a system-wide understanding of the methylation changes that occur in tumors, we have developed a differential methylation hybridization (DMH) protocol that can simultaneously assay the methylation status of all known CpG islands (CGIs) using microarray technologies. A large percentage of signals obtained from microarrays can be attributed to various measurable and unmeasurable confounding factors unrelated to the biological question at hand. In order to correct the bias due to noise, we first implemented a quantile regression model, with a quantile level equal to 75%, to identify hypermethylated CGIs in an earlier work. As a proof of concept, we applied this model to methylation microarray data generated from breast cancer cell lines. However, we were unsure whether 75% was the best quantile level for identifying hypermethylated CGIs. In this paper, we attempt to determine which quantile level should be used to identify hypermethylated CGIs and their associated genes.
While tumor suppressor genes frequently undergo epigenetic silencing in cancer, how the instructions directing this transcriptional repression are transmitted in cancer cells remain largely unclear. Expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1C (CDKN1C), an imprinted gene on chromosomal band 11 p15.5, is reduced or lost in the majority of breast cancers. Here, we report that CDKN1C is suppressed by estrogen through epigenetic mechanisms involving the chromatin-interacting noncoding RNA KCNQ1OT1 and CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF). Activation of estrogen signaling reduced CDKN1C expression 3-fold (P < 0.001) and established repressive histone modifications at the 5 regulatory region of the locus. These events were concomitant with induction of KCNQ1OT1 expression as well as increased recruitment of CTCF to both the distal KCNQ1OT1 promoter-associated imprinting control region (ICR) and the CDKN1C locus. Transient depletion of CTCF by small interfering RNA increased CDKN1C expression and significantly reduced the estrogen-mediated repression of CDKN1C. Further studies in breast cancer cell lines indicated that the epigenetic silencing of CDKN1C occurs in part as the result of genetic loss of the inactive methylated 11p15.5 ICR allele (R(2) = 0.612, P < 0.001). We also found a novel cis-encoded antisense transcript, CDKN1C-AS, which is induced by estrogen signaling following pharmacologic inhibition of DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase activity. Forced expression of CDKN1C-AS was capable of repressing endogenous CDKN1C in vivo. Our findings suggest that in addition to promoter hypermethylation, epigenetic repression of tumor suppressor genes by CTCF and noncoding RNA transcripts could be more common and important than previously understood.
The Cdc42-interacting protein-4, Trip10 (also known as CIP4), is a multi-domain adaptor protein involved in diverse cellular processes, which functions in a tissue-specific and cell lineage-specific manner. We previously found that Trip10 is highly expressed in estrogen receptor-expressing (ER+) breast cancer cells. Estrogen receptor depletion reduced Trip10 expression by progressively increasing DNA methylation. We hypothesized that Trip10 functions as a tumor suppressor and may be involved in the malignancy of ER-negative (ER-) breast cancer. To test this hypothesis and evaluate whether Trip10 is epigenetically regulated by DNA methylation in other cancers, we evaluated DNA methylation of Trip10 in liver cancer, brain tumor, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
New high-throughput sequencing technologies can generate millions of short sequences in a single experiment. As the size of the data increases, comparison of multiple experiments on different cell lines under different experimental conditions becomes a big challenge. In this paper, we investigate ways to compare multiple ChIP-sequencing experiments. We specifically studied epigenetic regulation of breast cancer and the effect of estrogen using 50 ChIP-sequencing data from Illumina Genome Analyzer II. First, we evaluate the correlation among different experiments focusing on the total number of reads in transcribed and promoter regions of the genome. Then, we adopt the method that is used to identify the most stable genes in RT-PCR experiments to understand background signal across all of the experiments and to identify the most variable transcribed and promoter regions of the genome. We observed that the most variable genes for transcribed regions and promoter regions are very distinct. Gene ontology and function enrichment analysis on these most variable genes demonstrate the biological relevance of the results. In this study, we present a method that can effectively select differential regions of the genome based on protein-binding profiles over multiple experiments using real data points without any normalization among the samples.
Methyl-CpG binding domain protein sequencing (MBD-seq) is widely used to survey DNA methylation patterns. However, the optimal experimental parameters for MBD-seq remain unclear and the data analysis remains challenging. In this study, we generated high depth MBD-seq data in MCF-7 cell and developed a bi-asymmetric-Laplace model (BALM) to perform data analysis. We found that optimal efficiency of MBD-seq experiments was achieved by sequencing ?100 million unique mapped tags from a combination of 500 mM and 1000 mM salt concentration elution in MCF-7 cells. Clonal bisulfite sequencing results showed that the methylation status of each CpG dinucleotides in the tested regions was accurately detected with high resolution using the proposed model. These results demonstrated the combination of MBD-seq and BALM could serve as a useful tool to investigate DNA methylome due to its low cost, high specificity, efficiency and resolution.
Targeting abnormal DNA methylation represents a therapeutically relevant strategy for cancer treatment as demonstrated by the US Food and Drug Administration approval of the DNA methyltransferase inhibitors azacytidine and 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes. But their use is associated with increased incidences of bone marrow suppression. Alternatively, procainamide has emerged as a potential DNA demethylating agent for clinical translation. While procainamide is much safer than 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine, it requires high concentrations to be effective in DNA demethylation in suppressing cancer cell growth. Thus, our laboratories have embarked on the pharmacological exploitation of procainamide to develop potent DNA methylation inhibitors through lead optimization.
Trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) is a critical epigenetic mark for the maintenance of gene silencing. Additional accumulation of DNA methylation in target loci is thought to cooperatively support this epigenetic silencing during tumorigenesis. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the complex interplay between the two marks remain to be explored. Here we show that activation of PI3K/AKT signaling can be a trigger of this epigenetic processing at many downstream target genes. We also find that DNA methylation can be acquired at the same loci in cancer cells, thereby reinforcing permanent repression in those losing the H3K27me3 mark. Because of a link between PI3K/AKT signaling and epigenetic alterations, we conducted epigenetic therapies in conjunction with the signaling-targeted treatment. These combined treatments synergistically relieve gene silencing and suppress cancer cell growth in vitro and in xenografts. The new finding has important implications for improving targeted cancer therapies in the future.
DNA methylation is a hallmark in a subset of right-sided colorectal cancers. Methylation-based screening may improve prevention and survival rate for this type of cancer, which is often clinically asymptomatic in the early stages. We aimed to discover prognostic or diagnostic biomarkers for colon cancer by comparing DNA methylation profiles of right-sided colon tumours and paired normal colon mucosa using an 8.5 k CpG island microarray. We identified a diagnostic CpG-rich region, located in the first intron of the protein-tyrosine phosphatase gamma gene (PTPRG) gene, with altered methylation already in the adenoma stage, that is, before the carcinoma transition. Validation of this region in an additional cohort of 103 sporadic colorectal tumours and 58 paired normal mucosa tissue samples showed 94% sensitivity and 96% specificity. Interestingly, comparable results were obtained when screening a cohort of Lynch syndrome-associated cancers. Functional studies showed that PTPRG intron 1 methylation did not directly affect PTPRG expression, however, the methylated region overlapped with a binding site of the insulator protein CTCF. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) showed that methylation of the locus was associated with absence of CTCF binding. Methylation-associated changes in CTCF binding to PTPRG intron 1 could have implications on tumour gene expression by enhancer blocking, chromosome loop formation or abrogation of its insulator function. The high sensitivity and specificity for the PTPRG intron 1 methylation in both sporadic and hereditary colon cancers support biomarker potential for early detection of colon cancer.
This study evaluated the effects of black raspberries (BRBs) on biomarkers of tumor development in the human colon and rectum including methylation of relevant tumor suppressor genes, cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and expression of Wnt pathway genes.
Although aberrant methylation of key genes in the progression of colorectal neoplasia has been reported, no model-based analysis of the incremental changes through the intermediate adenoma stage has been described. In addition, the biological drivers for these methylation changes have yet to be defined. Linear mixed-effects modelling was used in this study to understand the onset and patterns of the methylation changes of SFRP2, IGF2 DMR0, H19, LINE-1 and a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) marker panel, and they were correlated with DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) levels of expression in a sample set representative of colorectal neoplastic progression.
"Epigenetic plasticity" refers to the capability of mammalian cells to alter their differentiation status via chromatin remodeling-associated alterations in gene expression. While epigenetic plasticity has been best associated with lineage commitment of embryonic stem cells, recent studies have demonstrated chromatin remodeling even in terminally differentiated normal cells, and advanced-stage melanoma and breast cancer cells, in context-dependent responses to alterations in their microenvironment. In the current study, we extend this attribute of epigenetic plasticity to aggressive ovarian cancer cells, by using an integrative approach to associate cellular phenotypes with chromatin modifications ("ChIP-chip") and mRNA and microRNA expression. While we identified numerous gene promoters possessing the well-known "bivalent mark" of H3K27me3/H3K4me2, we also report 14 distinct, lesser-known bi-, tri-, and tetravalent combinations of activating and repressive chromatin modifications, in platinum-resistant CP70 ovarian cancer cells. The vast majority (>90%) of all the histone marks studied localized to regions within 2000 bp of transcription start sites, supporting a role in gene regulation. Upon a simple alteration in the microenvironment, transition from two- to three-dimensional culture, an increase (17% to 38%) in repressive-only marked promoters was observed, concomitant with a decrease (31% to 21%) in multivalent (i.e., juxtaposed permissive and repressive histone marked) promoters. Like embryonic/tissue stem and other (non-ovarian) carcinoma cells, ovarian cancer cell epigenetic plasticity reflects an inherent transcriptional flexibility for context-responsive alterations in phenotype. It is possible that this plasticity could be therapeutically exploited for the management of this lethal gynecologic malignancy.
DNA methylation is a gene-silencing and host defense system that can down-regulate viral gene expression in mammalian cells. An established targeted DNA methylation method was used to demonstrate that genome-integrated CMV and adenovirus type 5 E1A promoters were hypermethylated after MCF7 and HEK293 cells were transfected with in vitro methylated viral promoter fragments. In both cases, the targeted methylation-induced gene silencing could be reversed by addition of 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine, confirming that the CMV and E1A promoters are regulated by DNA methylation. The kinetics of the targeted DNA methylation was determined using a reporter system in live cells. In conclusion, targeted DNA methylation is able to efficiently silence susceptible viral promoters and provides an alternative strategy to study the impact of loci-specific DNA methylation in viral gene expression.
It is now appreciated that both genetic alteration, e.g. mutations, and aberrant epigenetic changes, e.g. DNA methylation, cause cancer. Epigenetic dysregulation is potentially reversible which makes it attractive as targets for cancer prevention. Synthetic drugs targeting enzymes, e.g. DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase, that regulate epigenetic patterns are active in clinical settings. In addition, dietary factors have been suggested to have potential to reverse aberrant epigenetic patterns. Uncovering the human epigenome can lead us to better understand the dynamics of DNA methylation in disease progression which can further assist in cancer prevention.
Alternative promoters that are differentially used in various cellular contexts and tissue types add to the transcriptional complexity in mammalian genome. Identification of alternative promoters and the annotation of their activity in different tissues is one of the major challenges in understanding the transcriptional regulation of the mammalian genes and their isoforms. To determine the use of alternative promoters in different tissues, we performed ChIP-seq experiments using antibody against RNA Pol-II, in five adult mouse tissues (brain, liver, lung, spleen and kidney). Our analysis identified 38?639 Pol-II promoters, including 12?270 novel promoters, for both protein coding and non-coding mouse genes. Of these, 6384 promoters are tissue specific which are CpG poor and we find that only 34% of the novel promoters are located in CpG-rich regions, suggesting that novel promoters are mostly tissue specific. By identifying the Pol-II bound promoter(s) of each annotated gene in a given tissue, we found that 37% of the protein coding genes use alternative promoters in the five mouse tissues. The promoter annotations and ChIP-seq data presented here will aid ongoing efforts of characterizing gene regulatory regions in mammalian genomes.
Epigenetic regulation of gene expression by DNA methylation and histone modification controls cell fate during development and homeostasis in adulthood. Aberrant epigenetic modifications may lead to abnormal development, even diseases. We have found that Trip10 (thyroid hormone receptor interactor 10), an adaptor protein involved in diverse functions, is epigenetically regulated during lineage-specific induction of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). To determine whether DNA methylation-induced gene silencing is sufficient to restrict cell fate changes, we applied an invitro method to specifically methylate the promoter of Trip10. Our hypothesis was that the methylation status of the Trip10 promoter in MSCs alters the differentiation preference of MSCs. Transfection of in vitro-methylated Trip10 promoter DNA into MSCs resulted in progressive accumulation of cytosine methylation at the endogenous Trip10 promoter, reduced Trip10 expression, and accelerated MSC-to-neuron and MSC-to-osteocyte differentiation. A two-component EGFP reporter gene system was established to confirm the level of transcriptional silencing and visualize the targeted DNA methylation. EGFP expression induced in the reporter system by targeted Trip10 methylation was reversed by adding 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine, a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, confirming that the suppressed Trip10 expression and disrupted MSC differentiation resulted from the in vitro-introduced methylations in the Trip10 promoter. With this targeted DNA methylation and reporter system, we are able to monitor the progression of locus-specific DNA methylation in vivo and correlate such changes with potential functional changes. Using this approach, we have established a new role for Trip10, showing that the level of Trip10 expression is associated with the maintenance and differentiation of MSCs.
Classical NF-kappaB signaling functions as a negative regulator of skeletal myogenesis through potentially multiple mechanisms. The inhibitory actions of TNFalpha on skeletal muscle differentiation are mediated in part through sustained NF-kappaB activity. In dystrophic muscles, NF-kappaB activity is compartmentalized to myofibers to inhibit regeneration by limiting the number of myogenic progenitor cells. This regulation coincides with elevated levels of muscle derived TNFalpha that is also under IKKbeta and NF-kappaB control.
DNA methylation and histone modifications have essential roles in remodeling chromatin structure of genes necessary for multi-lineage differentiation of mammary stem/progenitor cells. The role of this well-defined epigenetic programming is to heritably maintain transcriptional plasticity of these loci over multiple cell divisions in the differentiated progeny. Epigenetic events can be deregulated in progenitor cells chronically exposed to xenoestrogen or inflammatory microenvironment. In addition, epigenetically mediated silencing of genes associated with tumor suppression can take place, resulting in clonal proliferation of undifferentiated or semidifferentiated cells. Alternatively, microRNAs that negatively regulate the expression of their protein-coding targets may become epigenetically repressed, leading to oncogenic expression of these genes. Here we further discuss interactions between DNA methylation and histone modifications that have significant contributions to the differentiation of mammary stem/progenitor cells and to tumor initiation and progression.
Global profiling of in vivo protein-DNA interactions using ChIP-based technologies has evolved rapidly in recent years. Although many genome-wide studies have identified thousands of ER? binding sites and have revealed the associated transcription factor (TF) partners, such as AP1, FOXA1 and CEBP, little is known about ER? associated hierarchical transcriptional regulatory networks.
The nuclear transcription factor estrogen receptor alpha (ER-alpha) is the target of several antiestrogen therapeutic agents for breast cancer. However, many ER-alpha positive patients do not respond to these treatments from the beginning, or stop responding after being treated for a period of time. Because of the association of gene transcription alteration and drug resistance and the emerging evidence on the role of DNA methylation on transcription regulation, understanding of these relationships can facilitate development of approaches to re-sensitize breast cancer cells to treatment by restoring DNA methylation patterns.
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy and while constituting only 3% of all female cancers, it causes 14,600 deaths in the USA annually. Endometrial cancer, the most diagnosed and second-most fatal gynecologic cancer, afflicts over 40,000 US women annually, causing an estimated 7780 deaths in 2009. In both advanced ovarian and endometrial carcinomas, the majority of initially therapy-responsive tumors eventually evolve to a fully drug-resistant phenotype. In addition to genetic mutations, epigenetic anomalies are frequent in both gynecologic malignancies, including aberrant DNA methylation, atypical histone modifications and dysregulated expression of distinct microRNAs, resulting in altered gene-expression patterns favoring cell survival. In this article, we summarize the most recent hypotheses regarding the role of epigenetics in ovarian and endometrial cancers, including a possible role in tumor stemness and also evaluate the possible therapeutic benefits of reversal of these oncogenic chromatin aberrations.
Substantial evidence indicates that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during early development may increase breast cancer risk later in life. The changes may persist into puberty and adulthood, suggesting an epigenetic process being imposed in differentiated breast epithelial cells. The molecular mechanisms by which early memory of BPA exposure is imprinted in breast progenitor cells and then passed onto their epithelial progeny are not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine epigenetic changes in breast epithelial cells treated with low-dose BPA. We also investigated the effect of BPA on the ER? signaling pathway and global gene expression profiles. Compared to control cells, nuclear internalization of ER? was observed in epithelial cells preexposed to BPA. We identified 170 genes with similar expression changes in response to BPA. Functional analysis confirms that gene suppression was mediated in part through an ER?-dependent pathway. As a result of exposure to BPA or other estrogen-like chemicals, the expression of lysosomal-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP3) became epigenetically silenced in breast epithelial cells. Furthermore, increased DNA methylation in the LAMP3 CpG island was this repressive mark preferentially occurred in ER?-positive breast tumors. These results suggest that the in vitro system developed in our laboratory is a valuable tool for exposure studies of BPA and other xenoestrogens in human cells. Individual and geographical differences may contribute to altered patterns of gene expression and DNA methylation in susceptible loci. Combination of our exposure model with epigenetic analysis and other biochemical assays can give insight into the heritable effect of low-dose BPA in human cells.
The current concept of epigenetic repression is based on one repressor unit corresponding to one silent gene. This notion, however, cannot adequately explain concurrent silencing of multiple loci observed in large chromosome regions. The long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES) can be a frequent occurrence throughout the human genome. To comprehensively characterize the influence of estrogen signaling on LRES, we analyzed transcriptome, methylome, and estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1)-binding datasets from normal breast epithelia and breast cancer cells. This "omics" approach uncovered 11 large repressive zones (range, 0.35 approximately 5.98 megabases), including a 14-gene cluster located on 16p11.2. In normal cells, estrogen signaling induced transient formation of multiple DNA loops in the 16p11.2 region by bringing 14 distant loci to focal ESR1-docking sites for coordinate repression. However, the plasticity of this free DNA movement was reduced in breast cancer cells. Together with the acquisition of DNA methylation and repressive chromatin modifications at the 16p11.2 loci, an inflexible DNA scaffold may be a novel determinant used by breast cancer cells to reinforce estrogen-mediated repression.
A hallmark of cancer cells is hypermethylation of CpG islands (CGIs), which probably arises from upregulation of one or more DNA methyltransferases. The purpose of this study was to identify the targets of DNMT3B, an essential DNA methyltransferase in mammals, in colon cancer.
DNA cytosine methylation is a central epigenetic modification which plays critical roles in cellular processes including genome regulation, development and disease. Here, we review current and emerging microarray and next-generation sequencing based technologies that enhance our knowledge of DNA methylation profiling. Each methodology has limitations and their unique applications, and combinations of several modalities may help build the entire methylome. With advances on next-generation sequencing technologies, it is now possible to globally map the DNA cytosine methylation at single-base resolution, providing new insights into the regulation and dynamics of DNA methylation in genomes.
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Due to the poor annotation of primary microRNA (pri-microRNA) transcripts, the precise location of promoter regions driving expression of many microRNA genes is enigmatic. This deficiency hinders our understanding of microRNA-mediated regulatory networks. In this study, we develop a computational approach to identify the promoter region and transcription start site (TSS) of pri-microRNAs actively transcribed using genome-wide RNA Polymerase II (RPol II) binding patterns derived from ChIP-seq data. Based upon the assumption that the distribution of RPol II binding patterns around the TSS of microRNA and protein coding genes are similar, we designed a statistical model to mimic RPol II binding patterns around the TSS of highly expressed, well-annotated promoter regions of protein coding genes. We used this model to systematically scan the regions upstream of all intergenic microRNAs for RPol II binding patterns similar to those of TSS from protein coding genes. We validated our findings by examining the conservation, CpG content, and activating histone marks in the identified promoter regions. We applied our model to assess changes in microRNA transcription in steroid hormone-treated breast cancer cells. The results demonstrate many microRNA genes have lost hormone-dependent regulation in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. MicroRNA promoter identification based upon RPol II binding patterns provides important temporal and spatial measurements regarding the initiation of transcription, and therefore allows comparison of transcription activities between different conditions, such as normal and disease states.
DNA promoter methylation is an epigenetic phenomenon for long-term gene silencing during tumorigenesis. The purpose of this study is to identify novel hypermethylated loci associated with clinicopathologic variables in endometrioid endometrial carcinomas.
Resistance to TGF-beta is frequently observed in ovarian cancer, and disrupted TGF-beta/SMAD4 signaling results in the aberrant expression of downstream target genes in the disease. Our previous study showed that ADAM19, a SMAD4 target gene, is downregulated through epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian cancer with aberrant TGF-beta/SMAD4 signaling. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of downregulation of FBXO32, another SMAD4 target gene, and the clinical significance of the loss of FBXO32 expression in ovarian cancer. Expression of FBXO32 was observed in the normal ovarian surface epithelium, but not in ovarian cancer cell lines. FBXO32 methylation was observed in ovarian cancer cell lines displaying constitutive TGF-beta/SMAD4 signaling, and epigenetic drug treatment restored FBXO32 expression in ovarian cancer cell lines regardless of FBXO32 methylation status, suggesting that epigenetic regulation of this gene in ovarian cancer may be a common event. In advanced-stage ovarian tumors, a significant (29.3%; P<0.05) methylation frequency of FBXO32 was observed and the association between FBXO32 methylation and shorter progression-free survival was significant, as determined by both Kaplan-Meier analysis (P<0.05) and multivariate Cox regression analysis (hazard ratio: 1.003, P<0.05). Reexpression of FBXO32 markedly reduced proliferation of a platinum-resistant ovarian cancer cell line both in vitro and in vivo, due to increased apoptosis of the cells, and resensitized ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. In conclusion, the novel tumor suppressor FBXO32 is epigenetically silenced in ovarian cancer cell lines with disrupted TGF-beta/SMAD4 signaling, and FBXO32 methylation status predicts survival in patients with ovarian cancer.
Tumor suppressor gene (TSG) RASSF1A and candidate TSG BLU are two tandem head-to-tail genes located at 3p21.3. We hypothesized that there may be a concordance on their gene expression and promoter methylation status. If not, then there may be an insulator located between RASSF1A and BLU genes that provides a barrier activity.
Genetic amplification, mutation, and translocation are known to play a causal role in the upregulation of an oncogene in cancer cells. Here, we report an emerging role of microRNA, the epigenetic deregulation of which may also lead to this oncogenic activation. SOX4, an oncogene belonging to the SRY-related high mobility group box family, was found to be overexpressed (P < 0.005) in endometrial tumors (n = 74) compared with uninvolved controls (n = 20). This gene is computationally predicted to be the target of a microRNA, miR-129-2. When compared with the matched endometria, the expression of miR-129-2 was lost in 27 of 31 primary endometrial tumors that also showed a concomitant gain of SOX4 expression (P < 0.001). This inverse relationship is associated with hypermethylation of the miR-129-2 CpG island, which was observed in endometrial cancer cell lines (n = 6) and 68% of 117 endometrioid endometrial tumors analyzed. Reactivation of miR-129-2 in cancer cells by pharmacologic induction of histone acetylation and DNA demethylation resulted in decreased SOX4 expression. In addition, restoration of miR-129-2 by cell transfection led to decreased SOX4 expression and reduced proliferation of cancer cells. Further analysis found a significant correlation of hypermethylated miR-129-2 with microsatellite instability and MLH1 methylation status (P < 0.001) and poor overall survival (P < 0.039) in patients. Therefore, these results imply that the aberrant expression of SOX4 is, in part, caused by epigenetic repression of miR-129-2 in endometrial cancer. Unlike the notion that promoter hypomethylation may upregulate an oncogene, we present a new paradigm in which hypermethylation-mediated silencing of a microRNA derepresses its oncogenic target in cancer cells.
Three hormone receptors, the estrogen receptor (ER), the androgen receptor (AR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) play an important role in regulating the cellular differentiation tissue development of skin, bone, the brain and the endocrine system; therefore, there is a strong scientific need to identify and characterize hormone receptor transcriptional regulation. Given that the vast amount of regulatory data for hormone being produced by ChIP-based high-throughput experiments is widely scattered in disparate, poorly cross-indexed data stores, a flexible platform for organizing and relating these data would provide significant value. We created a data management system called the Hormone Receptor Target Binding Loci, HRTBLDb (http://motif.bmi.ohio-state.edu/hrtbldb), to address this problem. This database contains hormone receptor binding regions (binding loci) from in vivo ChIP-based high-throughput experiments as well as in silico, computationally predicted, binding motifs and cis-regulatory modules for the co-occurring transcription factor binding motifs, which are within a binding locus. It also contains individual binding sites whose regulatory action has been verified by in vitro experiments. The current version contains 44,673 binding elements with 114 hormone response elements which are verified by in vitro experiments; 75 binding motifs which occur with a hormone response element and whose co-regulatory action is verified by in vitro experiments; 18,472 binding loci from in vivo experiments; and 26,012 computationally predicted binding motifs.
The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray (MeDIP-chip) is a genome-wide, high-resolution approach to detect DNA methylation in whole genome or CpG (cytosine base followed by a guanine base) islands. The method utilizes anti-methylcytosine antibody to immunoprecipitate DNA that contains highly methylated CpG sites. Enriched methylated DNA can be interrogated using DNA microarrays or by massive parallel sequencing techniques. This combined approach allows researchers to rapidly identify methylated regions in a genome-wide manner, and compare DNA methylation patterns between two samples with diversely different DNA methylation status. MeDIP-chip has been applied successfully for analyses of methylated DNA in the different targets including animal and plant tissues. Here we present a MeDIP-chip protocol that is routinely used in our laboratory, illustrated with specific examples from MeDIP-chip analysis of breast cancer cell lines. Potential technical pitfalls and solutions are also provided to serve as workflow guidelines.
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