Histone posttranslational modifications are key components of diverse processes that modulate chromatin structure. These marks function as signals during various chromatin-based events, and act as platforms for recruitment, assembly or retention of chromatin-associated factors. The best-known function of histone phosphorylation takes place during cellular response to DNA damage, when phosphorylated histone H2A(X) demarcates large chromatin domains around the site of DNA breakage. However, multiple studies have also shown that histone phosphorylation plays crucial roles in chromatin remodeling linked to other nuclear processes. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of histone phosphorylation and describe the many kinases and phosphatases that regulate it. We discuss the key roles played by this histone mark in DNA repair, transcription and chromatin compaction during cell division and apoptosis. Additionally, we describe the intricate crosstalk that occurs between phosphorylation and other histone modifications and allows for sophisticated control over the chromatin remodeling processes.
chromatin remodeling; histone modifications; phosphorylation; mitosis; DNA repair; gene regulation
The topic of imprinting defects present in the sperm of infertile patients has been addressed by several reports in the last few years. However, whether methylation abnormalities at one or few CpGs within an imprinted locus are pathological is a matter of debate. Moreover, whether imprinting anomalies in sperm could interfere with fertility treatment outcomes is still unknown. In this report we analyze the sperm DNA methylation profile of H19-ICR, KvDMR, SNRPN-ICR, IG-DMR and MEG3-DMR by pyrosequencing in 107 infertile men series and a control population of 30 proven fertile males. DNA methylation was statistically evaluated from two points of view: first, the methylation of each CpG was analyzed in the control population and the mean, standard deviation and range were determined and compared with infertile population data; second, in order to define altered methylation patterns for each region, a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed by which individuals were grouped in different clusters according to the degree of similarity of their methylation pattern. Two pieces of data supported the results obtained in the multi-variate analysis: the classification of the vast majority of control individuals in clusters with normal methylation patterns and the significant differences in methylation levels found between individuals within the normal and abnormal clusters. Individuals included in normal and abnormal methylation clusters were compared according to seminal parameters as well as to the outcome of assisted reproduction.
DNA methylation; assisted reproduction; imprinting; male infertility; spermatozoa
The insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) gene, located within a cluster of imprinted genes on chromosome 11p15, encodes a fetal and placental growth factor affecting birth weight. DNA methylation variability at the IGF2 gene locus has been previously reported but its consequences on fetal growth and development are still mostly unknown in normal pediatric population. We collected one hundred placenta biopsies from 50 women with corresponding maternal and cord blood samples and measured anthropometric indices, blood pressure and metabolic phenotypes using standardized procedures. IGF2/H19 DNA methylation and IGF2 circulating levels were assessed using sodium bisulfite pyrosequencing and ELISA, respectively. Placental IGF2 (DMR0 and DMR2) DNA methylation levels were correlated with newborn’s fetal growth indices, such as weight, and with maternal IGF2 circulating concentration at the third trimester of pregnancy, whereas H19 (DMR) DNA methylation levels were correlated with IGF2 levels in cord blood. The maternal genotype of a known IGF2/H19 polymorphism (rs2107425) was associated with birth weight. Taken together, we showed that IGF2/H19 epigenotype and genotypes independently account for 31% of the newborn’s weight variance. No association was observed with maternal diabetic status, glucose concentrations or prenatal maternal body mass index. This is the first study showing that DNA methylation at the IGF2/H19 genes locus may act as a modulator of IGF2 newborn’s fetal growth and development within normal range. IGF2/H19 DNA methylation could represent a cornerstone in linking birth weight and fetal metabolic programming of late onset obesity.
birth weight; epigenetics; fetal programming; imprinting; somatomedin A; IGF2 and H19
Aberrations in global LINE-1 DNA methylation have been related to risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Micronutrients including methyl-donors and retinoids are involved in DNA methylation pathways. We investigated associations of micronutrient status and LINE-1 methylation in a cross-sectional study of school-age children from Bogotá, Colombia. Methylation of LINE-1 repetitive elements was quantified in 568 children 5–12 years of age using pyrosequencing technology. We examined the association of LINE-1 methylation with erythrocyte folate, plasma vitamin B12, vitamin A ferritin (an indicator of iron status) and serum zinc concentrations using multivariable linear regression. We also considered associations of LINE-1 methylation with socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics. Mean (± SD) LINE-1 methylation was 80.25 (± 0.65) percentage of 5-mC (%5-mC). LINE-1 methylation was inversely related to plasma vitamin A. After adjustment for potential confounders, children with retinol levels higher than or equal to 1.05 µmol/L showed 0.19% 5-mC lower LINE-1 methylation than children with retinol levels lower than 0.70 µmol/L. LINE-1 methylation was also inversely associated with C-reactive protein, a marker of chronic inflammation, and female sex. We identified positive associations of maternal body mass index and socioeconomic status with LINE-1 methylation. These associations were not significantly different by sex. Whether modification of these exposures during school-age years leads to changes in global DNA methylation warrants further investigation.
C-reactive protein; LINE-1; children; global DNA methylation; inflammation; maternal BMI; methyl-donor nutrients; socioeconomic status; vitamin A
Human brain function is mediated by biochemical processes, many of which can be visualized and quantified by positron emission tomography (PET). PET brain imaging of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)—an enzyme metabolizing neurotransmitters—revealed that MAOA levels vary widely between healthy men and this variability was not explained by the common MAOA genotype (VNTR genotype), suggesting that environmental factors, through epigenetic modifications, may mediate it. Here, we analyzed MAOA methylation in white blood cells (by bisulphite conversion of genomic DNA and subsequent sequencing of cloned DNA products) and measured brain MAOA levels (using PET and [11C]clorgyline, a radiotracer with specificity for MAOA) in 34 healthy non-smoking male volunteers. We found significant interindividual differences in methylation status and methylation patterns of the core MAOA promoter. The VNTR genotype did not influence the methylation status of the gene or brain MAOA activity. In contrast, we found a robust association of the regional and CpG site-specific methylation of the core MAOA promoter with brain MAOA levels. These results suggest that the methylation status of the MAOA promoter (detected in white blood cells) can reliably predict the brain endophenotype. Therefore, the status of MAOA methylation observed in healthy males merits consideration as a variable contributing to interindividual differences in behavior.
MAOA genotype; DNA methylation; monoamine oxidase A; positron emission tomography
There is a renewed focus on targeted therapy against epigenetic events that are altered during the pathogenesis of lung cancer. However, the use of epigenomic modifiers as monotherapy lacks efficacy; thus, there is a need to develop safe and effective drug combinatorial regimens, which reverse epigenetic modifications and exhibit profound anticancer activity. Based on these perspectives, we evaluated, for the first time, the efficacy and associated mechanisms of a novel combinatorial regimen of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi)—trichostatin A (TSA) and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA)—with silibinin (a flavonolignan with established pre-clinical anti-lung cancer efficacy) against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Silibinin inhibited HDAC activity and decreased HDAC1–3 levels in NSCLC cells, leading to an overall increase in global histone acetylation states of histones H3 and H4. Combinations of HDCAi with silibinin synergistically augmented the cytotoxic effects of these single agents, which was associated with a dramatic increase in p21 (Cdkn1a). Subsequent ChIP assay indicated increased acetylated histone H3 and H4 levels on p21 promoter region, resulting in its increased transcription. The enhanced p21 levels promoted proteasomal degradation of cyclin B1, the limited supply of which halts the progression of cells into mitosis. Indeed, the resultant biological effect was a significant G2/M arrest by the combination treatment, followed by apoptotic cell death. Similar epigenetic modulations were observed in vivo, together with a marked reduction in xenograft growth. These findings are both novel and highly significant in establishing that HDACi with silibinin would be safe and effective to suppress NSCLC growth.
silibinin; epigenetics; HDAC inhibitors; cell cycle; lung cancer
Sperm chromatin reveals two characteristic features in that protamines are the predominant nuclear proteins and remaining histones are highly acetylated. Histone H4 acetylated at lysine 12 (H4K12ac) is localized in the post-acrosomal region, while protamine-1 is present within the whole nucleus. Chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with promoter array analysis allowed genome-wide identification of H4K12ac binding sites. Previously, we reported enrichment of H4K12ac at CTCF binding sites and promoters of genes involved in developmental processes. Here, we demonstrate that H4K12ac is enriched predominantly between ± 2 kb from the transcription start site. In addition, we identified developmentally relevant H4K12ac-associated promoters with high expression levels of their transcripts stored in mature sperm. The highest expressed mRNA codes for testis-specific PHD finger protein-7 (PHF7), suggesting an activating role of H4K12ac in the regulatory elements of this gene. H4K12ac-associated genes revealed a weak correlation with genes expressed at 4-cell stage human embryos, while 23 H4K12ac-associated genes were activated in 8-cell embryo and 39 in the blastocyst. Genes activated in 4-cell embryos are involved in gene expression, histone fold and DNA-dependent transcription, while genes expressed in the blastocyst were classified as involved in developmental processes. Immunofluorescence staining detected H4K12ac from the murine male pronucleus to early stages of embryogenesis. Aberrant histone acetylation within developmentally important gene promoters in infertile men may reflect insufficient sperm chromatin compaction, which may result in inappropriate transfer of epigenetic information to the oocyte.
sperm histone code; H4K12ac; sperm mRNA; chromatin immunoprecipitation; HG18 promoter microarray; mouse pronucleus; parthenotes
In plants, RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) can target both transgene promoters and coding regions/gene bodies. RdDM leads to methylation of cytosines in all sequence contexts: CG, CHG and CHH. Upon segregation of the RdDM trigger, at least CG methylation can be maintained at promoter regions in the progeny. So far, it is not clear whether coding region methylation can be also maintained. We showed that the body of Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) transgene constructs became densely de novo methylated at CG, CHG and CHH sites upon PSTVd infection. In this study, we demonstrate that in viroid-free progeny plants, asymmetric CHH and CHG methylation was completely lost. However, symmetric CG methylation was stably maintained for at least two generations. Importantly, the presence of transgene body methylation did not lead to an increase of dimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 or a decrease of acetylation of H3. Our data supports the view that CG methylation can be maintained not only in promoters but also in the body of transgenes. They further suggest that maintenance of methylation may occur independently of tested chromatin modifications.
Nicotiana tabacum; RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM); bisulfite sequencing; chromatin modification; methyltransferases; potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd); small RNAs
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification essential for the regulation of gene expression that has been implicated in many diseases, including cancer. Few studies have investigated the wide range of potential predictors of global DNA methylation, including biomarkers. Here, we investigated associations between DNA methylation and dietary factors, sex-steroid hormones, metabolic, lipid, inflammation, immune and one-carbon biomarkers. Data and baseline biomarker measurements were obtained from 173 overweight/obese postmenopausal women. Global DNA methylation in lymphocyte DNA was measured using the pyrosequencing assay for LINE-1 repeats. We used correlations and linear regression analyses to investigate associations between continuous data and DNA methylation, while t-tests were used for categorical data. Secondary analyses stratified by serum folate levels and multivitamin use were also conducted. There was little variability in LINE-1 methylation (66.3–79.5%). Mean LINE-1 methylation was significantly higher among women with elevated glucose levels. Mean LINE-1 methylation was also higher among women with high CD4+/CD8+ ratio, and lower among women with elevated vitamin B6, but neither reached statistical significance. In analyses stratified by folate status, DNA methylation was negatively associated with sex hormone concentrations (estrone, estradiol, testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin) among women with low serum folate levels (n = 53). Conversely, among women with high serum folate levels (n = 53), DNA methylation was positively associated with several immune markers (CD4/CD8 ratio, NK1656/lymphocytes and IgA). Results from this screening suggest that global DNA methylation is generally stable, with differential associations for sex hormones and immune markers depending on one-carbon status.
DNA methylation; epigenetics; epidemiology; folate; glucose; metabolic; immune function; inflammation; post-menopausal; sex hormones; women
Mammalian oocytes contain the histone H1foo, a distinct member with low sequence similarity to other members in the H1 histone family. Oocyte-specific H1foo exists until the second embryonic cell stage. H1foo is essential for oocyte maturation in mice; however, the molecular function of this H1 subtype is unclear. To explore the function of H1foo, we generated embryonic stem (ES) cells ectopically expressing H1foo fused to an EGFP (H1foo-ES). Interestingly, ectopic expression of H1foo prevented normal differentiation into embryoid bodies (EBs). The EB preparations from H1foo-ES cells maintained the expression of pluripotent marker genes, including Nanog, Myc and Klf9, and prevented the shift of the DNA methylation profile. Because the short hairpin RNA-mediated knockdown of H1foo-EGFP recovered the differentiation ability, H1foo was involved in preventing differentiation. Furthermore, ChIP analysis revealed that H1foo-EGFP bound selectively to a set of hypomethylated genomic loci in H1foo-ES, clearly indicating that these loci were targets of H1foo. Finally, nuclease sensitivity assay suggested that H1foo made these target loci decondensed. We concluded that H1foo has an impact on the genome-wide, locus-specific epigenetic status.
DNA methylation; histone H1; Oocyte-specific; nuclease-sensitivity; differentiation
DNA methylation plays an important role in carcinogenesis and is being recognized as a promising diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for a variety of malignancies including Prostate cancer (PCa). The human kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) have emerged as an important family of cancer biomarkers, with KLK3, encoding for Prostate Specific Antigen, being most recognized. However, few studies have examined the epigenetic regulation of KLKs and its implications to PCa. To assess the biological effect of DNA methylation on KLK6 and KLK10 expression, we treated PC3 and 22RV1 PCa cells with a demethylating drug, 5-aza-2′deoxycytidine, and observed increased expression of both KLKs, establishing that DNA methylation plays a role in regulating gene expression. Subsequently, we have quantified KLK6 and KLK10 DNA methylation levels in two independent cohorts of PCa patients operated by radical prostatectomy between 2007–2011 (Cohort I, n = 150) and 1998–2001 (Cohort II, n = 124). In Cohort I, DNA methylation levels of both KLKs were significantly higher in cancerous tissue vs. normal. Further, we evaluated the relationship between DNA methylation and clinicopathological parameters. KLK6 DNA methylation was significantly associated with pathological stage only in Cohort I while KLK10 DNA methylation was significantly associated with pathological stage in both cohorts. In Cohort II, low KLK10 DNA methylation was associated with biochemical recurrence in univariate and multivariate analyses. A similar trend for KLK6 DNA methylation was observed. The results suggest that KLK6 and KLK10 DNA methylation distinguishes organ confined from locally invasive PCa and may have prognostic value.
biomarkers; epigenetics; kallikrein-related peptidases; prostate cancer; quantitative DNA methylation analysis
DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) is critically involved in de novo DNA methylation and genomic stability, while the regulatory mechanism in liver is largely unknown. We previously reported that diurnal variation occurs in the mRNA expression of Dnmt3b in adult mouse liver. The aim of this study was to determine the mechanism underlying the diurnal expression pattern. The highest level and the lowest level of Dnmt3b mRNA expression were confirmed to occur at dawn and in the afternoon, respectively, and the expression pattern of Dnmt3b closely coincided with that of Bmal1. Since the diurnal pattern of Dnmt3b mRNA expression developed at weaning and scheduled feeding to separate the feeding cycle from the light/dark cycle led to a phase-shift in the expression, it could be assumed that feeding plays a critical role as an entrainment signal. In liver-specific Bmal1 knockout (L-Bmal1 KO) mice, L-Bmal1 deficiency resulted in significantly higher levels of Dnmt3b at all measured time points, and the time when the expression was the lowest in wild-type mice was shifted to earlier. Investigation of global DNA methylation revealed a temporal decrease of 5-methyl-cytosine percentage in the genome of wild-type mice in late afternoon. By contrast, no such decrease in 5-methyl-cytosine percentage was detected in L-Bmal1 KO mice, suggesting that altered Dnmt3b expression affects the DNA methylation state. Taken together, the results suggest that the feeding and hepatic clockwork generated by the clock genes, including Bmal1, regulate the diurnal variation in Dnmt3b mRNA expression and the consequent dynamic changes in global DNA methylation.
Dnmt3b; liver; Bmal1; feeding; DNA methylation
During fertilization, two of the most differentiated cells in the mammalian organism, a sperm and oocyte, are combined to form a pluripotent embryo. Dynamic changes in chromatin structure allow the transition of the chromatin on these specialized cells into an embryonic configuration capable of generating every cell type. Initially, this reprogramming activity is supported by oocyte-derived factors accumulated during oogenesis as proteins and mRNAs; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms that govern it remain poorly characterized. Trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3) is a repressive epigenetic mark that changes dynamically during pre-implantation development in mice, bovine and pig embryos. Here we present data and hypotheses related to the potential mechanisms behind H3K27me3 remodeling during early development. We postulate that the repressive H3K27me3 mark is globally erased from the parental genomes in order to remove the gametic epigenetic program and to establish a pluripotent embryonic epigenome. We discuss information gathered in mice, pigs, and bovine, with the intent of providing a comparative analysis of the reprogramming of this epigenetic mark during early mammalian development.
H3K27me3; histone methylation; pre-implantation development; chromatin reprogramming; JMJD3
Recent advances in molecular biology and computational power have seen the biomedical sector enter a new era, with corresponding development of Bioinformatics as a major discipline. Generation of enormous amounts of data has driven the need for more advanced storage solutions and shared access through a range of public repositories. The number of such biomedical resources is increasing constantly and mining these large and diverse data sets continues to present real challenges. This paper attempts a general overview of currently available resources, together with remarks on their data mining and analysis capabilities. Of interest here is the recent shift in focus from genetic to epigenetic/epigenomic research and the emergence and extension of resource provision to support this both at local and global scale. Biomedical text and numerical data mining are both considered, the first dealing with automated methods for analyzing research content and information extraction, and the second (broadly) with pattern recognition and prediction. Any summary and selection of resources is inherently limited, given the spectrum available, but the aim is to provide a guideline for the assessment and comparison of currently available provision, particularly as this relates to epigenetics/epigenomics.
biomedical resource; data mining; epigenetics; epigenomics; methylation; primary database; secondary database
Fibrosis of any tissue is characterized by excessive extracellular matrix accumulation that ultimately destroys tissue architecture and eventually abolishes normal organ function. Although much research has focused on the mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis, there are still no effective antifibrotic therapies that can reverse, stop or delay the formation of scar tissue in most fibrotic organs. As fibrosis can be described as an aberrant wound healing response, a recent hypothesis suggests that the cells involved in this process gain an altered heritable phenotype that promotes excessive fibrotic tissue accumulation. This article will review the most recent observations in a newly emerging field that links epigenetic modifications to the pathogenesis of fibrosis. Specifically, the roles of DNA methylation and histone modifications in fibrotic disease will be discussed.
5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine; DNA methylation; fibrosis; histone deacetylase inhibitors; histone modification; myofibroblast
DNA methylation is one of the principal epigenetic signals that participate in cell specific gene expression in vertebrates. DNA methylation plays a quintessential role in the control of gene expression, cellular differentiation and development. It also plays a central role in the preservation of chromatin structure and chromosomal integrity, parental imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, aging and carcinogenesis. The foremost contributor in the mammalian methylation scheme is DNMT1, a maintenance methyltransferase that faithfully copies the pre-existing methyl marks onto hemimethylated daughter strands during DNA replication to maintain the established methylation patterns across successive cell divisions. The ever-changing cellular physiology and the significant part that DNA methylation plays in genome regulation necessitate rigid management of this enzyme. In mammalian cells, a host of intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms regulate the expression, activity and stability of DNMT1. Transcriptional regulation, post-transcriptional auto-inhibitory controls and post-translational modifications of the enzyme are responsible for the efficient inheritance of DNA methylation patterns. Also, a large number of intra- and intercellular signaling cascades and numerous interactions with other modulator molecules that affect the catalytic activity of the enzyme at multiple levels function as major checkpoints of the DNMT1 control system. An in-depth understanding of the DNMT1 enzyme, its targeting and function is crucial for comprehending how DNA methylation is coordinated with other critical developmental and physiological processes. This review aims to provide a comprehensive account of the various regulatory mechanisms and interactions of DNMT1 so as to elucidate its function at the molecular level and understand the dynamics of DNA methylation at the cellular level.
DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferases; DNMT1; PTMs; epigenetics; intrinsic and extrinsic regulatory mechanisms; non-coding RNA
Establishment and inheritance of heterochromatic states is critical in maintaining genome integrity and gene expression state. The elucidation of the mechanisms implicated in these processes is fundamental to understand the control of epigenetic regulation of the genome. Recently, the nucleolus emerged as an important component of the nuclear architecture. Although the nucleolus is the most active site of cellular transcription, it is also an attractive compartment for nuclear heterochromatic regions, such as pericentric repeats, inactive X chromosome and regions with low gene density significantly enriched in repressed genes. The coexistence of euchromatic and heterochromatic rRNA genes in each cell reflects these two opposite functions of the nucleolus. An epigenetic network that is controlled by NoRC complex establishes and maintains rDNA heterochromatin. It is here discussed how heterochromatic rRNA genes and the associated epigenetic regulatory activities might mediate formation and inheritance of nuclear heterochromatic regions. Finally, we propose that the analysis of the components of heterochromatic rRNA genes will be not only relevant to understand the general composition of heterochromatin but has the potential to provide important and novel insights of how nuclear heterochromatic structures are established and inherited.
PARP1; TIP5; heterochromatin; nucleolus; nucleus; pRNA; pericentric heterochromatin; rDNA
A direct effect of post-translational modifications (PTMs) on nucleosomes is the formation of a dynamic platform able to assemble the transcriptional machinery and to recruit chromatin modifiers. The histone code hypothesis suggests that histone PTMs can act as binding sites for chromatin readers and effector proteins, such as the bromodomains, that selectively interact with acetylated lysines, or the “Royal family” and the PHD finger domains, which are able to recognize methylated arginines and lysines. In this review we will discuss recent data describing the function of WD40 proteins as a new class of histone readers, with particular emphasis on the ones able to recognize methylated arginine and lysine residues. We will discuss how WDR5, a classical seven-bladed WD40 propeller, is able to bind with similar affinities both the catalytic subunit of the Trithorax-like complexes, and the histone H3 tail either unmodified or symmetrically dimethylated on arginine 2 (H3R2me2s). Furthermore, we will speculate on how these mutually exclusive interactions of WDR5 may play a role in mediating different degrees of H3K4 methylations at both promoters and distal regulatory sites. Finally, we will summarize recent literature elucidating how other WD40 proteins such as NURF55, EED and LRWD1 recognize methylated histone tails, highlighting similarities and differences among them.
Arginine Methylation; WD40; chromatin; histone modifications; WDR5; MLL
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a growing health problem worldwide. While peripheral insulin resistance is common during obesity and aging in both animals and people, progression to T2D is largely due to insulin secretory dysfunction and significant apoptosis of functional β-cells, leading to an inability to compensate for insulin resistance. It is recognized that environmental factors and nutrition play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes. However, our knowledge surrounding molecular mechanisms by which these factors trigger β-cell dysfunction and diabetes is still limited. Recent discoveries raise the possibility that epigenetic changes in response to environmental stimuli may play an important role in the development of diabetes. In this paper, we review emerging knowledge regarding epigenetic mechanisms that may be involved in β-cell dysfunction and pathogenesis of diabetes, including the role of nutrition, oxidative stress and inflammation. We will mainly focus on the role of DNA methylation and histone modifications but will also briefly review data on miRNA effects on the pancreatic islets. Further studies aimed at better understanding how epigenetic regulation of gene expression controls β-cell function may reveal potential therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment of diabetes.
epigenetics; β-cells; methylation; acetylation; miRNAs; insulin; diabetes
Lower global DNA methylation is associated with genomic instability and it is one of the epigenetic mechanisms relevant to carcinogenesis. Emerging evidence for several cancers suggests that lower overall levels of global DNA methylation in blood are associated with different cancer types, although less is known about breast cancer. We examined global DNA methylation levels using a sibling design in 273 sisters affected with breast cancer and 335 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. We measured global DNA methylation in total white blood cell (WBC) and granulocyte DNA by two different methods, the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay and the luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). Global methylation levels were only modestly correlated between sisters discordant for breast cancer (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from -0.08 to 0.24 depending on assay and DNA source). Using conditional logistic regression models, women in the quartile with the lowest DNA methylation levels (as measured by the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay) had a 1.8-fold (95% CI = 1.0–3.3) higher relative association with breast cancer than women in the quartile with the highest DNA methylation levels. When we examined the association on a continuous scale, we also observed a positive association (odds ratio, OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.0–1.7, for a one unit change in the natural logarithm of the DPM/μg of DNA). We observed no association between measures by the LUMA assay and breast cancer risk. If replicated in prospective studies, this study suggests that global DNA methylation levels measured in WBC may be a potential biomarker of breast cancer risk even within families at higher risk of cancer.
blood; breast cancer; epigenetics; global DNA methylation; global methylation; LUMA; luminometric methylation assay; methyl acceptance assay; white blood cell; [3H]-methyl acceptance assay
LBH589 is one of the many histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) that are currently in clinical trial. Despite their wide-spread use, there is little literature available describing the typical levels of histone acetylation in untreated peripheral blood, the treatment and storage of samples to retain optimal measurement of histone acetylation nor methods by which histone acetylation analysis may be monitored and measured during the course of a patient’s treatment. In this study, we have used cord or peripheral blood as a source of human leukocytes, performed a comparative analysis of sample processing methods and developed a flow cytometric method suitable for monitoring histone acetylation in isolated lymphocytes and liquid tumors. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry techniques have also been addressed. We have tested these methods on blood samples collected from four patients treated with LBH589 as part of an Australian Children’s Cancer Clinical Trial (CLBH589AAU03T) and show comparable results when comparing in vitro and in vivo data. This paper does not seek to correlate histone acetylation levels in peripheral blood with clinical outcome but describes methods of analysis that will be of interest to clinicians and scientists monitoring the effects of HDACi on histone acetylation in blood samples in clinical trials or in related research studies.
LBH589; histone acetylation; histone deacetylase inhibitors; paediatrics; panobinostat
Epigenetic dysfunctions, including DNA methylation alterations, play major roles in cancer initiation and progression. Although it is well established that gene promoter demethylation activates transcription, it remains unclear whether hypomethylation of repetitive heterochromatin similarly affects expression of non-coding RNA from these loci. Understanding how repetitive non-coding RNAs are transcriptionally regulated is important given that their established upregulation by the heat shock (HS) pathway suggests important functions in cellular response to stress, possibly by promoting heterochromatin reconstruction. We found that, although pericentromeric satellite 2 (Sat2) DNA hypomethylation is detected in a majority of cancer cell lines of various origins, DNA methylation loss does not constitutively hyperactivate Sat2 expression, and also does not facilitate Sat2 transcriptional induction upon heat shock. In melanoma tumor samples, our analysis revealed that the HS response, frequently upregulated in tumors, is probably the main determinant of Sat2 RNA expression in vivo. Next, we tested whether HS pathway hyperactivation may drive Sat2 demethylation. Strikingly, we found that both hyperthermia and hyperactivated RasV12 oncogene, another potent inducer of the HS pathway, reduced Sat2 methylation levels by up to 27% in human fibroblasts recovering from stress. Demethylation occurred locally on Sat2 repeats, resulting in a demethylation signature that was also detected in cancer cell lines with moderate genome-wide hypomethylation. We therefore propose that upregulation of Sat2 transcription in response to HS pathway hyperactivation during tumorigenesis may promote localized demethylation of the locus. This, in turn, may contribute to tumorigenesis, as demethylation of Sat2 was previously reported to favor chromosomal rearrangements.
DNA hypomethylation; heat shock response; non-coding RNA; pericentromeric satellite DNA; Ras oncogene
Developmental regulation of gene expression is controlled by distinct epigenetic signatures catalyzed by various epigenetic modifiers. Little is known about the ontogeny and tissue distribution of these epigenetic modifiers. In the present study, we used a novel approach of RNA-sequencing to elucidate hepatic ontogeny and tissue distribution of mRNA expression of 142 epigenetic modifiers, including enzymes involved in DNA methylation/demethylation, histone acetylation/deacetylation, histone methylation/demethylation, histone phosphorylation and chromosome remodeling factors in male C57BL/6 mice. Livers from male C57BL/6 mice were collected at 12 ages from prenatal to adulthood. Many of these epigenetic modifiers were expressed at much higher levels in perinatal livers than adult livers, such as Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, Dnmt3b, Apobec3, Kat1, Ncoa4, Setd8, Ash2l, Dot1l, Cbx1, Cbx3, Cbx5, Cbx6, Ezh2, Suz12, Eed, Suv39h1, Suv420h2, Dek, Hdac1, Hdac2, Hdac7, Kdm2b, Kdm5c, Kdm7, Prmt1–5, Prmt7, Smarca4, Smarcb1, Chd4 and Ino80e. In contrast, hepatic mRNA expression of a few epigenetic modifiers increased during postnatal liver development, such as Smarca2, Kdm1b, Cbx7 and Chd3. In adult mice (60 d of age), most epigenetic modifiers were expressed at moderately (1–3-fold) higher levels in kidney and/or small intestine than liver. In conclusion, this study, for the first time, unveils developmental changes in mRNA abundance of all major known epigenetic modifiers in mouse liver. These data suggest that ontogenic changes in mRNA expression of epigenetic modifiers may play important roles in determining the addition and/or removal of corresponding epigenetic signatures during liver development.
RNA-seq; chromosome remodeling; epigenetic; intestine; kidney; liver; mouse; ontogeny
D-glucuronyl C5-epimerase (GLCE) is a potential tumor-suppressor gene involved in heparan sulfate biosynthesis. GLCE expression is significantly decreased in breast tumors; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. This study examined the possible epigenetic mechanisms for GLCE inactivation in breast cancer. Very little methylation of the GLCE promoter region was detected in breast tumors in vivo and in breast cancer cells (MCF7 and T47D) in vitro and GLCE expression in breast cancer cells was not altered by 5-deoxyazacytidine (5-aza-dC) treatment, suggesting that promoter methylation is not involved in regulating GLCE expression. Chromatin activation by Trichostatin A (TSA) or 5-aza-dC/TSA treatment increased GLCE expression by two to 3-fold due to an increased interaction between the GLCE promoter and the TCF4/β-catenin transactivation complex, or H3K9ac and H3K4Me3 histone modifications. However, ectopic expression of TCF4/β-catenin was not sufficient to activate GLCE expression in MCF7 cells, suggesting that chromatin structure plays a key role in GLCE regulation. Although TSA treatment significantly repressed canonical WNT signaling in MCF7 cells, it did not influence endogenous TCF4/β-catenin mRNA levels and activated TCF4/β-catenin-driven transcription from the GLCE promoter, indicating GLCE as a novel target for TCF4/β-catenin complex in breast cancer cells. A correlation was observed between GLCE, TCF4 and β-catenin expression in breast cancer cells and primary tumors, suggesting an important role for TCF4/β-catenin in regulating GLCE expression both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, the results indicate that GLCE expression in breast cancer is regulated by a combination of chromatin structure and TCF4/β-catenin complex activity.
D-glucuronyl C5-epimerase; GLCE; heparan sulphate proteoglycan; biosynthesis; tumor-suppressor gene; hypermethylation; chromatin structure; WNT signaling; TCF4/β-catenin target; breast cancer
The epigenetic regulation of genes has long been recognized as one of the causes of prostate cancer (PCa) development and progression. Recent studies have shown that a number of microRNAs (miRNAs) are also epigenetically regulated in different types of cancers including PCa. In this study, we found that the DNA sequence of the promoters of miR-29a and miR-1256 are partly methylated in PCa cells, which leads to their lower expression both in PCa cells and in human tumor tissues compared with normal epithelial cells and normal human prostate tissues. By real-time PCR, Western Blot analysis and miRNA mimic and 3′-UTR-Luc transfection, we found that TRIM68 is a direct target of miR-29a and miR-1256 and that the downregulation of miR-29a and miR-1256 in PCa cells leads to increased expression of TRIM68 and PGK-1 in PCa cells and in human tumor tissue specimens. Interestingly, we found that a natural agent, isoflavone, could demethylate the methylation sites in the promoter sequence of miR-29a and miR-1256, leading to the upregulation of miR-29a and miR-1256 expression. The increased levels of miR-29a and miR-1256 by isoflavone treatment resulted in decreased expression of TRIM68 and PGK-1, which is mechanistically linked with inhibition of PCa cell growth and invasion. The selective demethylation activity of isoflavone on miR-29a and miR-1256 leading to the suppression of TRIM68 and PGK-1 expression is an important biological effect of isoflavone, suggesting that isoflavone could be a useful non-toxic demethylating agent for the prevention of PCa development and progression.
DNA methylation; PGK-1; TRIM68; isoflavone; miR-1256; miR-29a