Journal Article

Histone H3 lysine 9 and H4 lysine 20 trimethylation and the expression of Suv4-20h2 and Suv-39h1 histone methyltransferases in hepatocarcinogenesis induced by methyl deficiency in rats

Igor P. Pogribny, Sharon A. Ross, Volodymyr P. Tryndyak, Marta Pogribna, Lionel A. Poirier and Tatiana V. Karpinets

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 1180-1186
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgi364
Histone H3 lysine 9 and H4 lysine 20 trimethylation and the expression of Suv4-20h2 and Suv-39h1 histone methyltransferases in hepatocarcinogenesis induced by methyl deficiency in rats

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The field of cancer epigenetics has received much attention in recent years. However, the relationship of cancer epigenetics with cancer etiology is not clear. Recent studies suggest the involvement of altered DNA methylation and histone modifications in the emergence of epigenetically reprogrammed cells with specific tumor-related phenotypes at premalignant stages of tumor development. In this study, we used a methyl-deficient model of rodent hepatocarcinogenesis to examine the roles of DNA, histone H3 lysine 9 and histone H4 lysine 20 methylation, and the level of the expression of Suv39h1 and Suv4-20h2 histone methyltransferases in the carcinogenic process. We demonstrated that the development of liver tumors was characterized by progressive demethylation of DNA repeats, decrease in histone H4 lysine 20 trimethylation, and a gradual decrease in the expression of Suv4-20h2 histone methyltransferase. A prominent increase in the trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 and in the expression of Suv39h1 histone methyltransferase was observed in preneoplastic nodules and liver tumors indicating the promotional role of these epigenetic alterations at later stages of carcinogenesis. The appearance of tumor-specific epigenetic alterations (demethylation of repetitive elements, loss of histone H4 lysine 20 trimethylation, altered expression of Suv4-20h2 and Suv39h1 histone methyltransferases) at preneoplastic stages of hepatocarcinogenesis provides experimental support for the epigenetic hypothesis of tumorigenesis that considers stress-induced epigenetic reprogramming of the cell as an important prerequisite to succeeding mutations.

Keywords: methyl-deficient diet (MDD); Histone methyltransferases (HMTs); long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1); chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP); short interspersed nuclear elements (SINE)

Journal Article.  5364 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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