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RASSF1A, BLU, NORE1A, PTEN and MGMT Expression and Promoter Methylation in Gliomas and Glioma Cell Lines and Evidence of Deregulated Expression of de novo DNMTs

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Methylation of CpG islands in gene promoters can lead to gene silencing. Together with deletion or mutation, it may cause a loss of function of tumor suppressor genes. RASSF1A (3p21.3), NORE1A (1q32.1) and BLU (3p21.3) have been shown to be downregulated by methylation in cancer, and PTEN (10q23.3) and MGMT (10q26.1) are located in areas commonly deleted in astrocytomas. MGMT methylation predicts a better response and a longer overall survival in patients with glioblastomas treated with temozolomide. We analyzed 53 astrocytoma samples and 10 high-grade glioma cell lines. Gene expression was assessed by RT-PCR. Bisulfite sequencing, MSP and a melting curve analysis-based real-time PCR were performed to detect promoter methylation. Treatments with 5′-aza-2′-deoxicitidine were applied to restore gene expression in cell lines. Ninety-two percent of tumor samples were methylated for RASSF1A, 30%–57% for BLU and 47% for MGMT, suggesting promoter methylation of these genes to be a common event in glioma tumorigenesis. Only 4% of the tumors revealed a methylated promoter for NORE1A. No association between methylation and loss of expression could be established for PTEN. We identified de novo DNMTs overexpression in a subset of tumors which may explain the methylation phenotype of individual gliomas.
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Keywords: DNMT; MCA-Meth; epigenetics; glioma; methylation; tumor suppressor genes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Brain Tumor Biology Unit, University of Navarra, and 2: Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, and 3: Clinical Cooperation Unit, Neuropathology, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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