Journal Article

Selenite reactivates silenced genes by modifying DNA methylation and histones in prostate cancer cells

Nong Xiang, Rui Zhao, Guoqing Song and Weixiong Zhong

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 11, pages 2175-2181
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Selenite reactivates silenced genes by modifying DNA methylation and histones in prostate cancer cells

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DNA hypermethylation is a common epigenetic alteration in human prostate cancer and is considered to contribute to development of this disease. Accumulating data suggest that dietary factors may alter cancer risk by modifications of epigenetic processes in the cell. The present study was designed to investigate whether selenium (Se) would alter epigenetic events to regulate methylation-silenced genes in human prostate cancer cells. DNA methylation, histone modifications and gene expression were studied in LNCaP cells after selenite treatment using polymerase chain reaction, western blot analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and enzymatic activity assay. Our study shows that selenite treatment caused partial promoter DNA demethylation and reexpression of the π-class glutathione-S-transferase (GSTP1) in LNCaP cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Selenite treatment decreased messenger RNA levels of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) 1 and 3A and protein levels of DNMT1. Selenite also decreased histone deacetylase activity and increased levels of acetylated lysine 9 on histone H3 (H3-Lys 9), but decreased levels of methylated H3-Lys 9. Selenite treatment reduced levels of DNMT1 and methylated H3-Lys 9 associated with the GSTP1 promoter, but increased levels of acetylated H3-Lys 9 associated with this promoter. Additionally, selenite treatment decreased general DNA methylation and caused partial promoter demethylation and reexpression of the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli and cellular stress response 1, a gene involving tumor growth and metastasis. Our study demonstrates that Se can epigenetically modulate DNA and histones to activate methylation-silenced genes. These epigenetic modifications may contribute to cancer prevention by Se.

Journal Article.  5515 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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