Methylation status of individual CpG sites within Alu elements in the human genome and Alu hypomethylation in gastric carcinomas.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Alu methylation is correlated with the overall level of DNA methylation and recombination activity of the genome. However, the maintenance and methylation status of each CpG site within Alu elements (Alu) and its methylation status have not well characterized. This information is useful for understanding natural status of Alu in the genome and helpful for developing an optimal assay to quantify Alu hypomethylation. METHODS: Bisulfite clone sequencing was carried out in 14 human gastric samples initially. A Cac8I COBRA-DHPLC assay was developed to detect methylated-Alu proportion in cell lines and 48 paired gastric carcinomas and 55 gastritis samples. DHPLC data were statistically interpreted using SPSS version 16.0. RESULTS: From the results of 427 Alu bisulfite clone sequences, we found that only 27.2% of CpG sites within Alu elements were preserved (4.6 of 17 analyzed CpGs, A approximately Q) and that 86.6% of remaining-CpGs were methylated. Deamination was the main reason for low preservation of methylation targets. A high correlation coefficient of methylation was observed between Alu clones and CpG site J (0.963), A (0.950), H (0.946), D (0.945). Comethylation of the sites H and J were used as an indicator of the proportion of methylated-Alu in a Cac8I COBRA-DHPLC assay. Validation studies showed that hypermethylation or hypomethylation of Alu elements in human cell lines could be detected sensitively by the assay after treatment with 5-aza-dC and M.SssI, respectively. The proportion of methylated-Alu copies in gastric carcinomas (3.01%) was significantly lower than that in the corresponding normal samples (3.19%) and gastritis biopsies (3.23%). CONCLUSIONS: Most Alu CpG sites are deaminated in the genome. 27% of Alu CpG sites represented in our amplification products. 87% of the remaining CpG sites are methylated. Alu hypomethylation in primary gastric carcinomas could be detected with the Cac8I COBRA-DHPLC assay quantitatively.
Project description:AIM:To investigate CpG methylation and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of a specific promoter region of hMLH1 in primary gastric carcinoma. METHODS:Primary gastric carcinomas (n=80), their corresponding normal mucosal samples, and gastric mucosal biopsies from normal/gastritis control patients (n=54) were used. Hypermethylation at -253 nt and -251 nt in relation with the translational start site and SNP of a silencing specific region (-339 nt-46 nt) in the hMLH1 promoter were analyzed by Bst UI-combined bisulfite assay (COBRA), denaturing high performance liquid chromatogram (DHPLC), and sequencing. RESULTS:(A) The specific methylation at -253 nt and -251 nt was observed in 2 of 60 primary gastric carcinomas, but neither in all of the corresponding mucosa nor in normal/gastritis samples, by Bst UI-COBRA and DHPLC. (B) The hMLH1 promoter was methylated homogeneously in the xenograft of the primary gastric carcinoma with the methylated and unmethylated hMLH1. (C) The pattern of SNP at -93 nt of the hMLH1 promoter in 54 Chinese patients with gastric carcinoma was the same as that in the control patients: 51 % was A/G heteroalleles, 34 % and 15 % were A/A and G/G homoalleles, respectively. CONCLUSION:Biallelic inactivation of hMLH1 by epigenetic silencing existed in human primary gastric carcinoma homogeneously. Hypermethylation of hMLH1 may play a role in the early stage of development of a few gastric carcinomas. The SNP at -93 nt is not related to the susceptibility of gastric carcinomas.
Project description:We report here a novel method to simultaneously detect CpG methylation and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC). PCR products of bisulfite-modified CpG islands were separated using DHPLC. BstUI digestion and DNA sequencing were used in confirmation studies. Consistent with the BstUI digestion assay, the 294 bp PCR product of the modified hMLH1 promoter showed different retention times between the methylated cell lines (RKO and Cla, 6.7 min) and the unmethylated cell lines (PACM82 and MGC803, 6.2 min). No hMLH1 methylation was observed in 13 primary gastric carcinomas and their matched normal tissues. One hMLH1 SNP was detected in gastric cancer patients, in both cancer and normal tissues. DNA sequencing revealed that the SNP is a G-->A variation at -93 nt of the hMLH1 promoter. A two-peak chromatogram was also obtained in the 605 bp PCR product of the Cox-2 promoter of the AGS, HEK293 and MKN45 cell lines by DHPLC. Another peak corresponding to methylated CpG islands was observed on the chromatogram of the Cox-2-methylated AGS cell line after bisulfite treatment. In conclusion, methylation in homoallelic and heteroallelic CpG islands could be detected rapidly and reliably by bisulfite-DHPLC. A SNP in the target sequence could also be detected at the same time.
Project description:Hypoxia is an integral part of tumorigenesis and contributes extensively to the neoplastic phenotype including drug resistance and genomic instability. It has also been reported that hypoxia results in global demethylation. Because a majority of the cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) islands are found within the repeat elements of DNA, and are usually methylated under normoxic conditions, we suggested that retrotransposable Alu or short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) which show altered methylation and associated changes of gene expression during hypoxia, could be associated with genomic instability. U87MG glioblastoma cells were cultured in 0.1% O? for 6 weeks and compared with cells cultured in 21% O? for the same duration. Real-time PCR analysis showed a significant increase in SINE and reverse transcriptase coding long interspersed nuclear element (LINE) transcripts during hypoxia. Sequencing of bisulphite treated DNA as well as the Combined Bisulfite Restriction Analysis (COBRA) assay showed that the SINE loci studied underwent significant hypomethylation though there was patchy hypermethylation at a few sites. The inter-alu PCR profile of DNA from cells cultured under 6-week hypoxia, its 4-week revert back to normoxia and 6-week normoxia showed several changes in the band pattern indicating increased alu mediated genomic alteration. Our results show that aberrant methylation leading to increased transcription of SINE and reverse transcriptase associated LINE elements could lead to increased genomic instability in hypoxia. This might be a cause of genetic heterogeneity in tumours especially in variegated hypoxic environment and lead to a development of foci of more aggressive tumour cells.
Project description:The highly repetitive Alu retroelements are regarded as methylation centres in the genome. Methylation in the gene promoters could be spreading from them. Promoter methylation of MLH1 is frequently detected in cancers, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. The aim of this study is to understand whether the methylation in the Alu elements is associated with promoter methylation in the MLH1 gene. Bisulfite genomic sequencing was used to analyse the CpG sites of the 5' end (promoter, exon 1 and Alu-containing intron 1) of the MLH1 gene in colorectal cancer cells and tissues, and gastric cancer tissues. Hypomethylation in the Alu elements and hypermethylation in the promoters and the regions between the promoters and the Alu elements were detected in two cancer cell lines and seven cancer tissues. However, demethylation or hypomethylation of the MLH1 promoter and regions between promoter and the Alu elements, and hypermethylation in the Alu elements, were identified in the normal tissues. MLH1 promoter methylation may spread from Alu elements that are located in intron 1 of the MLH1 gene. The trans-acting elements binding to the mutation sites could play a role in the methylation spreading.
Project description:BACKGROUND: A loss of heterozygosity (LOH) represents a unilateral chromosomal loss that reduces the dose of highly repetitive Alu, L1, and LTR retroelements. The aim of this study was to determine if the LOH events can affect the spread of retroelement methylation in the 5'-end transitional area between the CpG islands and their nearest retroelements. METHODS: The 5'-transitional area of all human genes (22,297) was measured according to the nearest retroelements to the transcription start sites. For 50 gastric cancer specimens, the level of LOH events on eight cancer-associated chromosomes was estimated using the microsatellite markers, and the 5'-transitional CpGs of 20 selected genes were examined by methylation analysis using the bisulfite-modified DNA. RESULTS: The extent of the transitional area was significantly shorter with the nearest Alu elements than with the nearest L1 and LTR elements, as well as in the extragenic regions containing a higher density of retroelements than in the intragenic regions. The CpG islands neighbouring a high density of Alu elements were consistently hypomethylated in both normal and tumor tissues. The 5'-transitional methylated CpG sites bordered by a low density of Alu elements or the L1 and LTR elements were hypomethylated more frequently in the high-level LOH cases than in the low-level LOH cases. CONCLUSION: The 5'-transitional methylated CpG sites not completely protected by the Alu elements were hypomethylated in association with LOH events in gastric cancers. This suggests that an irreversible unbalanced decrease in the genomic dose reduces the spread of L1 methylation in the 5'-end regions of genes.
Project description:Age-associated methylation changes in genomic DNA have been recently reported in spermatozoa, and these changes can contribute to decline in fertility. In a previous study, we analyzed the genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of bull spermatozoa using a human DNA methylation microarray and identified one CpG site (CpG-1) that potentially reflects age-related methylation changes. In the present study, cryopreserved semen samples from a Japanese Black bull were collected at five different ages, which were referred to as JD1-5: 14, 19, 28, 54, and 162 months, respectively, and were used for genome-wide DNA methylation analysis and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Distinct age-related changes in methylation profiles were observed, and 77 CpG sites were found to be differently methylated between young and adult samples (JD1-2 vs. JD4-5). Using combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA), nine CpG sites (including CpG-1) were confirmed to exhibit significant differences in their age-dependent methylation levels. Eight CpG sites showed an age-dependent increase in their methylation levels, whereas only one site showed age-dependent hypomethylation; in particular, these changes in methylation levels occurred rapidly at a young age. COBRA revealed low methylation levels in some CpG regions in the majority of the IVF blastocyst-stage embryos derived from spermatozoa at JD2-5. Interestingly, bulls with different ages did not show differences in their methylation levels. In conclusion, our findings indicated that methylation levels at nine CpG sites in spermatozoa changed with increasing age and that some CpG regions were demethylated after fertilization. Further studies are required to determine whether age-dependent different methylation levels in bull spermatozoa can affect fertility.
Project description:Transitional-CpG methylation between unmethylated promoters and nearby methylated retroelements plays a role in the establishment of tissue-specific transcription. This study examined whether chromosomal losses reducing the active genes in cancers can change transitional-CpG methylation and the transcription activity in a cancer-type-dependent manner. The transitional-CpG sites at the CpG-island margins of nine genes and the non-island-CpG sites round the transcription start sites of six genes lacking CpG islands were examined by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The number of active genes in normal and cancerous tissues of the stomach, colon, breast, and nasopharynx were analyzed using the public data in silico. The CpG-island margins and non-island CpG sites tended to be hypermethylated and hypomethylated in all cancer types, respectively. The CpG-island margins were hypermethylated and a low number of genes were active in the normal stomach compared with other normal tissues. In gastric cancers, the CpG-island margins and non-island-CpG sites were hypomethylated in association with high-level chromosomal losses, and the number of active genes increased. Colon, breast, and nasopharyngeal cancers showed no significant association between the chromosomal losses and methylation changes. These findings suggest that chromosomal losses in gastric cancers are associated with the hypomethylation of the gene-control regions and the increased number of active genes.
Project description:Global loss of DNA methylation has been known for decades as an epigenomic aberration associated with carcinogenesis and cancer progression. Loss of DNA methylation affects predominantly repetitive elements, which encompass >50% of the CpG dinucleotides present in the human genome. Because of the lack of an effective approach, no studies have been conducted to reveal such genome-wide methylation changes at a single-base resolution. To precisely determine the CpG sites with methylation loss during progression of pediatric intracranial ependymomas, we exploited a high-throughput bisulfite sequencing approach that simultaneously generates methylation profiles for thousands of Alu elements and their flanking sequences. Comparison of the methylation profiles of normal and tumor tissues revealed that the methylation status of the majority of CpG sites adjacent to or within Alu repeats remain unaltered, while a small set of CpG sites gain or lose methylation in ependymomas. Compared to the CpG sites with stable methylation level between normal control and ependymomas, the differentially methylated CpG sites are enriched in the sequences with low CpG density in the flanking regions of Alu repeats, rather than within the Alu sequences themselves. In addition, the CpG sites that are hypermethylated in ependymomas are proximal to CpG islands, whereas those that are hypomethylated are overrepresented in intergenic regions. Lastly, aberrant methylation of several genomic loci was confirmed to be associated with the aggressive primary tumors and the relapsed ependymomas.
Project description:We performed a global methylation profiling assay on 1505 CpG sites across 807 genes to characterize DNA methylation patterns in pancreatic cancer genome. We found 289 CpG sites that were differentially methylated in normal pancreas, pancreatic tumors and cancer cell lines. We identified 23 and 35 candidate genes that are regulated by hypermethylation and hypomethylation in pancreatic cancer, respectively. We also identified candidate methylation markers that alter the expression of genes critical to gemcitabine susceptibility in pancreatic cancer. These results indicate that aberrant DNA methylation is a frequent epigenetic event in pancreatic cancer; and by using global methylation profiling assay, it is possible to identify these markers for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in this disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The exact relationship between nucleosome positioning and methylation of CpG islands in human pathogenesis is unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In the present study, we characterized the nucleosome position within the p16 CpG island and established a seeding methylation-specific PCR (sMSP) assay based on bisulfite modification to enrich the p16 alleles containing methylated-CpG at the methylation "seeding" sites within its intron-1 in gastric carcinogenesis. The sMSP-positive rate in primary gastric carcinoma (GC) samples (36/40) was significantly higher than that observed in gastritis (19/45) or normal samples (7/13) (P<0.01). Extensive clone sequencing of these sMSP products showed that the density of methylated-CpGs in p16 CpG islands increased gradually along with the severity of pathological changes in gastric tissues. In gastritis lesions the methylation was frequently observed in the region corresponding to the exon-1 coding-nucleosome and the 5'UTR-nucleosome; the methylation was further extended to the region corresponding to the promoter-nucleosome in GC samples. Only few methylated-CpG sites were randomly detected within p16 CpG islands in normal tissues. The significantly inversed relationship between the p16 exon-1 methylation and its transcription was observed in GC samples. An exact p16 promoter-specific 83 bp-MSP assay confirms the result of sMSP (33/55 vs. 1/6, P<0.01). In addition, p16 methylation in chronic gastritis lesions significantly correlated with H. pylori infection; however, such correlation was not observed in GC specimens. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: It was determined that de novo methylation was initiated in the coding region of p16 exon-1 in gastritis, then progressed to its 5'UTR, and ultimately to the proximal promoter in GCs. Nucleosomes may function as the basic extension/progression unit of de novo methylation of p16 CpG islands in vivo.