Chromosomal autonomy of hMLH1 methylation in colon cancer.
ABSTRACT Silencing of hMLH1 expression by aberrant hMLH1 promoter methylation accounts for the majority of sporadic colon cancers with microsatellite instability. We have previously shown hMLH1 silencing is biallelic and actively maintained. To study the mechanism of aberrant hMLH1 methylation, we assayed whether an hMLH1 methylated cell could transfer methylation and silencing to an exogenous hMLH1 promoter in somatic cell hybrids between hMLH1 methylated-silenced and hMLH1 unmethylated-expressing colon cancer cells. Conversely, we assayed whether these hybrids could reactivate expression of initially methylated and silenced hMLH1 alleles. Compellingly, within the hybrids each hMLH1 allele remained unchanged, retaining the expression status of its parental cell of origin. This chromosomal autonomy may not be simply determined by DNA methylation, as it is reasserted after experimentally forced demethylation of all hMLH1 alleles in the hybrids. Confirming findings included hMLH1 methylated cells being unable to methylate single transferred exogenous hMLH1 expressing chromosomes or transfected hMLH1 reporter constructs. hMLH1 silencing does not conform to either a dominant or recessive model, and is not determined by trans-acting factors differing between hMLH1 expressing or silenced genomes. We posit that hMLH1 methylation is dependent on and maintained by cis chromosomal marks, whose nature remains to be elucidated.
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ABSTRACT: In mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and some cases of multiple myeloma (MM), cyclin D1 expression is deregulated by chromosome translocations involving the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus. To evaluate the mechanisms responsible, gene targeting was used to study long-distance gene regulation. Remarkably, these targeted cell lines lost the translocated chromosome (t(11;14)). In these MCL and MM cells, the nonrearranged cyclin D1 (CCND1) locus reverts from CpG hypomethylated to hypermethylated. Reintroduction of the translocated chromosome induced a loss of methylation at the unrearranged CCND1 locus, providing evidence of a transallelic regulatory effect. In these cell lines and primary MCL patient samples, the CCND1 loci are packaged in chromatin-containing CCCTC binding factor (CTCF) and nucleophosmin (NPM) at the nucleolus. We show that CTCF and NPM are bound at the IgH 3' regulatory elements only in the t(11;14) MCL cell lines. Furthermore, NPM short hairpin RNA produces a specific growth arrest in these cells. Our data demonstrate transvection in human cancer and suggest a functional role for CTCF and NPM.Journal of Experimental Medicine 08/2008; 205(8):1843-58. · 13.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Tumour cell lines are commonly used in colorectal cancer (CRC) research, including studies designed to assess methylation defects. Although many of the known genetic aberrations in CRC cell lines have been comprehensively described, no studies have been performed on their methylation status. In this study, 30 commonly used CRC cell lines as well as seven primary tumours from individuals with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) were assessed for methylation at six CpG islands known to be hypermethylated in colorectal cancer: hMLH1, p16, methylated in tumour (MINT-)-1, -2, -12 and -31. The cell lines were also assessed for microsatellite instability (MSI), ploidy status, hMLH1 expression, and mutations in APC and Ki-ras. Methylation was frequently observed at all examined loci in most cell lines, and no differences were observed between germline-derived and sporadic cell lines. Methylation was found at MINT 1 in 63%, MINT 2 in 57%, MINT 12 in 71%, MINT 31 in 53%, p16 in 71%, and hMLH1 in 30% of cell lines. Overall only one cell line, SW1417, did not show methylation at any locus. Methylation was found with equal frequency in MSI and chromosomally unstable lines. MSI was over-represented in the cell lines relative to sporadic CRC, being detected in 47% of cell lines. The rate of codon 13 Ki-ras mutations was also over three times that expected from in vivo studies. We conclude that CpG island hypermethylation, whether acquired in vivo or in culture, is a ubiquitous phenomenon in CRC cell lines. We suggest that CRC cell lines may be only representative of a small subset of real tumours, and this should be taken into account in the use of CRC cell lines for epigenetic studies.British Journal of Cancer 03/2003; 88(3):413-9. · 5.04 Impact Factor