Epithelial progeny of estrogen-exposed breast progenitor cells display a cancer-like methylome.
ABSTRACT Estrogen imprinting is used to describe a phenomenon in which early developmental exposure to endocrine disruptors increases breast cancer risk later in adult life. We propose that long-lived, self-regenerating stem and progenitor cells are more susceptible to the exposure injury than terminally differentiated epithelial cells in the breast duct. Mammospheres, containing enriched breast progenitors, were used as an exposure system to simulate this imprinting phenomenon in vitro. Using MeDIP-chip, a methylation microarray screening method, we found that 0.5% (120 loci) of human CpG islands were hypermethylated in epithelial cells derived from estrogen-exposed progenitors compared with the non-estrogen-exposed control cells. This epigenetic event may lead to progressive silencing of tumor suppressor genes, including RUNX3, in these epithelial cells, which also occurred in primary breast tumors. Furthermore, normal tissue in close proximity to the tumor site also displayed RUNX3 hypermethylation, suggesting that this aberrant event occurs in early breast carcinogenesis. The high prevalence of estrogen-induced epigenetic changes in primary tumors and the surrounding histologically normal tissues provides the first empirical link between estrogen injury of breast stem/progenitor cells and carcinogenesis. This finding also offers a mechanistic explanation as to why a tumor suppressor gene, such as RUNX3, can be heritably silenced by epigenetic mechanisms in breast cancer.
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ABSTRACT: Estrogens have long been known as important regulators of the female reproductive functions; however, our understanding of the role estrogens play in the human body has changed significantly over the past years. It is now commonly accepted that estrogens and androgens have important functions in both female and male physiology and pathology. This is in part due to the local synthesis and action of estrogens that broadens the role of estrogen signaling beyond that of the endocrine system. Furthermore, there are several different mechanisms through which the three estrogen receptors (ERs), ERα, ERβ and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) are able to regulate target gene transcription. ERα and ERβ are mostly associated with the direct and indirect genomic signaling pathways that result in target gene expression. Membrane-bound GPER1 is on the other hand responsible for the rapid non-genomic actions of estrogens that activate various protein-kinase cascades. Estrogen signaling is also tightly connected with another important regulatory entity, i.e. epigenetic mechanisms. Posttranslational histone modifications, microRNAs (miRNAs) and DNA methylation have been shown to influence gene expression of ERs as well as being regulated by estrogen signaling. Moreover, several coregulators of estrogen signaling also exhibit chromatin-modifying activities further underlining the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in estrogen signaling. This review wishes to highlight the newer aspects of estrogen signaling that exceed its classical endocrine regulatory role, especially emphasizing its tight intertwinement with epigenetic mechanisms.Biochemia Medica 10/2014; 24(3):329-342. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic physical aggression (CPA) is characterized by frequent use of physical aggression from early childhood to adolescence. Observed in approximately 5% of males, CPA is associated with early childhood adverse environments and long-term negative consequences. Alterations in DNA methylation, a covalent modification of DNA that regulates genome function, have been associated with early childhood adversity. To test the hypothesis that a trajectory of chronic physical aggression during childhood is associated with a distinct DNA methylation profile during adulthood. We analyzed genome-wide promoter DNA methylation profiles of T cells from two groups of adult males assessed annually for frequency of physical aggression between 6 and 15 years of age: a group with CPA and a control group. Methylation profiles covering the promoter regions of 20 000 genes and 400 microRNAs were generated using MeDIP followed by hybridization to microarrays. In total, 448 distinct gene promoters were differentially methylated in CPA. Functionally, many of these genes have previously been shown to play a role in aggression and were enriched in biological pathways affected by behavior. Their locations in the genome tended to form clusters spanning millions of bases in the genome. This study provides evidence of clustered and genome-wide variation in promoter DNA methylation in young adults that associates with a history of chronic physical aggression from 6 to 15 years of age. However, longitudinal studies of methylation during early childhood will be necessary to determine if and how this methylation variation in T cells DNA plays a role in early development of chronic physical aggression.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e89839. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Resistance to aromatase inhibitors (AIs) is a major clinical problem in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. In two breast cancer cell line models of AI resistance, we identified widespread DNA hyper- and hypomethylation, with enrichment for promoter hypermethylation of developmental genes. For the homeobox gene HOXC10, methylation occurred in a CpG shore, which overlapped with a functional ER binding site, causing repression of HOXC10 expression. Although short-term blockade of ER signaling caused relief of HOXC10 repression in both cell lines and breast tumors, it also resulted in concurrent recruitment of EZH2 and increased H3K27me3, ultimately transitioning to increased DNA methylation and silencing of HOXC10. Reduced HOXC10 in vitro and in xenografts resulted in decreased apoptosis and caused antiestrogen resistance. Supporting this, we used paired primary and metastatic breast cancer specimens to show that HOXC10 was reduced in tumors that recurred during AI treatment. We propose a model in which estrogen represses apoptotic and growth-inhibitory genes such as HOXC10, contributing to tumor survival, whereas AIs induce these genes to cause apoptosis and therapeutic benefit, but long-term AI treatment results in permanent repression of these genes via methylation and confers resistance. Therapies aimed at inhibiting AI-induced histone and DNA methylation may be beneficial in blocking or delaying AI resistance.Science translational medicine 03/2014; 6(229):229ra41. · 14.41 Impact Factor