Journal Article

The DNA methylome of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Josef Davidsson, Henrik Lilljebjörn, Anna Andersson, Srinivas Veerla, Jesper Heldrup, Mikael Behrendtz, Thoas Fioretos and Bertil Johansson

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 18, issue 21, pages 4054-4065
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddp354
The DNA methylome of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood malignancy, with high hyperdiploidy [51–67 chromosomes] and the t(12;21)(p13;q22) [ETV6/RUNX1 fusion] representing the most frequent abnormalities. Although these arise in utero, there is long latency before overt ALL, showing that additional changes are needed. Gene dysregulation through hypermethylation may be such an event; however, this has not previously been investigated in a detailed fashion. We performed genome-wide methylation profiling using bacterial artificial chromosome arrays and promoter-specific analyses of high hyperdiploid and ETV6/RUNX1-positive ALLs. In addition, global gene expression analyses were performed to identify associated expression patterns. Unsupervised cluster and principal component analyses of the chromosome-wide methylome profiles could successfully subgroup the two genetic ALL types. Analysis of all currently known promoter-specific CpG islands demonstrated that several B-cell- and neoplasia-associated genes were hypermethylated and underexpressed, indicating that aberrant methylation plays a significant leukemogenic role. Interestingly, methylation hotspots were associated with chromosome bands predicted to harbor imprinted genes and the tri-/tetrasomic chromosomes in the high hyperdiploid ALLs were less methylated than their disomic counterparts. Decreased methylation of gained chromosomes is a previously unknown phenomenon that may have ramifications not only for the pathogenesis of high hyperdiploid ALL but also for other disorders with acquired or constitutional numerical chromosome anomalies.

Journal Article.  6717 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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