Paradox of sonic hedgehog (SHH) transcriptional regulation Alternative transcription initiation overrides the effect of downstream promoter DNA methylation

Molecular Oncology Group, Institute of Pathology, Medical Faculty of the RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society (Impact Factor: 4.78). 04/2011; 6(4):465-77. DOI: 10.4161/epi.6.4.14952
Source: PubMed


Recently, DNA methylation has been suggested as a potential mechanism involved in the transcriptional regulation of SHH gene expression in cancer. However, detailed analyses on the underlying transcriptional mechanisms of SHH expression have not been presented so far and were therefore the focus of this study. We found that the genomic region of SHH contains two different transcriptional start sites and four CpG islands spread from the 5' promoter region to the 3' end of the SHH gene. Based on this CpG island topology we analyzed the influence of DNA methylation within the promoter region as well as in exon 2 and exon 3 on SHH mRNA expression in a large set (n = 14) of benign and malignant human cell lines, and further elucidated the functionality of the two identified SHH transcription initiation sites. Methylation-specific PCR (MSP) clearly showed that SHH is expressed independently of DNA methylation within exon 2 and exon 3 of its genomic region, while methylation of the promoter region is able to abrogate SHH expression. Most interesting, we found activation of the upstream SHH promoter in several breast cancer cell lines when the downstream SHH promoter is methylated. These observations lead us to propose a transcriptional model for the SHH gene, in which combined mechanisms of DNA methylation and alternative promoter usage coordinate the transcriptional activity of this important developmental gene.

Download full-text


Available from: Jürgen Veeck, Aug 13, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previously, we have shown that CCR5 transcription is regulated by CREB-1. However, the ubiquitous pattern of CREB-1 expression suggests the involvement of an additional level of transcriptional control in the cell type-specific expression of CCR5. In this study, we show that epigenetic changes (i.e. DNA methylation and histone modifications) within the context of the CCR5 P1 promoter region correlate with transcript levels of CCR5 in healthy and in malignant CD4(+) T lymphocytes as well as in CD14(+) monocytes. In normal naïve T cells and CD14(+) monocytes the CCR5 P1 promoter resembles a bivalent chromatin state, with both repressive and permissive histone methylation and acetylation marks. The CCR5-expressing CD14(+) monocytes however show much higher levels of acetylated histone H3 (AcH3) compared to the non-CCR5-expressing naïve T cells. Combined with a highly methylated promoter in CD14(+) monocytes, this indicates a dominant role for AcH3 in CCR5 transcription. We also show that pharmacological interference in the epigenetic repressive mechanisms that account for the lack of CCR5 transcription in T leukaemic cell lines results in an increase in CREB-1 association with CCR5 P1 chromatin. Furthermore, RNA polymerase II was also recruited into CCR5 P1 chromatin resulting in CCR5 re-expression. Together, these data indicate that epigenetic modifications of DNA, and of histones, contribute to the control of CCR5 transcription in immune effector cells.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite the progress achieved in breast cancer screening and therapeutic innovations, the basal-like subtype of breast cancer (BLBC) still represents a particular clinical challenge. In order to make an impact on survival in this type of aggressive breast cancer, new targeted therapeutic agents are urgently needed. Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway has been unambiguously tied to cancer development and progression in a variety of solid malignancies, and the recent approval of vismodegib, an orally bioavailable small-molecule inhibitor of Smoothened, validates Hh signalling as a valuable therapeutic target. A number of recent publications have highlighted a role for Hh signalling in breast cancer models and clinical specimens. Interestingly, Hh ligand overexpression is associated with the BLBC phenotype and a poor outcome in terms of metastasis and breast cancer-related death. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the canonical Hh signalling pathway in mammals, highlight its roles in mammary gland development and breast carcinogenesis and discuss its potential therapeutic value in BLBC.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Breast cancer research: BCR
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway activation has been identified as a key factor in the development of many types of tumors, including odontogenic tumors. Our study examined the expression of genes in the SHH pathway to characterize their roles in the pathogenesis of keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KOT) and ameloblastomas (AB). METHODS: We quantified the expression of SHH, SMO, PTCH1, SUFU, GLI1, CCND1, and BCL2 genes by qPCR in a total of 23 KOT, 11 AB, and three non-neoplastic oral mucosa (NNM). We also measured the expression of proteins related to this pathway (CCND1 and BCL2) by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: We observed overexpression of SMO, PTCH1, GLI1, and CCND1 genes in both KOT (23/23) and AB (11/11). However, we did not detect expression of the SHH gene in 21/23 KOT and 10/11 AB tumors. Low levels of the SUFU gene were expressed in KOT (P = 0.0199) and AB (P = 0.0127) relative to the NNM. Recurrent KOT exhibited high levels of SMO (P = 0.035), PTCH1 (P = 0.048), CCND1 (P = 0.048), and BCL2 (P = 0.045) transcripts. Using immunolabeling of CCND1, we observed no statistical difference between primary and recurrent KOT (P = 0.8815), sporadic and NBCCS-KOT (P = 0.7688), and unicystic and solid AB (P = 0.7521). CONCLUSIONS: Overexpression of upstream (PTCH1 and SMO) and downstream (GLI1, CCND1 and BCL2) genes in the SHH pathway leads to the constitutive activation of this pathway in KOT and AB and may suggest a mechanism for the development of these types of tumors.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Show more