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Hypomethylation of the XIST Gene Promoter in Prostate Cancer

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In a process denoted “global hypomethylation” repetitive DNA sequences like LINE-1 retrotransposons become hypomethylated in human cancers, including a subset of prostate carcinomas. It is less well known to what extent single-copy sequences are affected by this phenomenon. Therefore, we have analyzed methylation and expression of the XIST gene by bisulfite sequencing and real-time RT-PCR. The promoter of this single-copy gene is strongly methylated in normal male cells, including leukocytes and normal prostate. In prostate cancer tissues and particularly in cell lines, partial hypomethylation was observed paralleling that of LINE-1 sequences. Weak XIST expression was found in normal prostate tissues, but none in leukocytes. Only slight increases in expression of this gene were found in cancer tissues and cell lines. Our data suggest that hypomethylation in prostate cancer is indeed “global,” affecting repeat and unique sequences in parallel. Detection of partially hypomethylated XIST alleles in prostate cancer tissues might be useful for the identification of cases with pronounced hypomethylation, which tend to be more aggressive.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Gene silencing; Prostate carcinoma; Retrotransposon; Tumor markers; X-chromosome inactivation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Urologische Klinik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany 2: Institut für Pathologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany

Publication date: 2005-05-01

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