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J Biol Chem. 2003 Feb 21;278(8):6041-9. Epub 2002 Dec 6.

LOT1 (PLAGL1/ZAC1), the candidate tumor suppressor gene at chromosome 6q24-25, is epigenetically regulated in cancer.

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  • 1Ovarian Cancer Program, Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111, USA.


LOT1 is a zinc-finger nuclear transcription factor, which possesses anti-proliferative effects and is frequently silenced in ovarian and breast cancer cells. The LOT1 gene is localized at chromosome 6q24-25, a chromosomal region maternally imprinted and linked to growth retardation in several organs and progression of disease states such as transient neonatal diabetes mellitus. Toward understanding the molecular mechanism underlying the loss of LOT1 expression in cancer, we have characterized the genomic structure and analyzed its epigenetic regulation. Genome mapping of LOT1 in comparison with the other splice variants, namely ZAC1 and PLAGL1, revealed that its mRNA ( approximately 4.7 kb; GenBank accession number U76261) is potentially spliced using six exons spanning at least 70 kb of the human genome. 5'-RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) data indicate the presence of at least two transcription start sites. We found that in vitro methylation of the LOT1 promoter causes a significant loss in its ability to drive luciferase transcription. To determine the nature of in vivo methylation of LOT1, we used bisulfite-sequencing strategies on genomic DNA. We show that in the ovarian and breast cancer cell lines and/or tumors the 5'-CpG island of LOT1 is a differentially methylated region. In these cell lines the ratio of methylated to unmethylated CpG dinucleotides in this region ranged from 31 to 99% and the ovarian tumors have relatively higher cytosine methylation than normal tissues. Furthermore, we show that trichostatin A, a specific inhibitor of histone deacetylase, relieves transcriptional silencing of LOT1 mRNA in malignantly transformed cells. It appears that, unlike DNA methylation, histone deacetylation does not target the promoter, and rather it is indirect and may be elicited by a mechanism upstream of the LOT1 regulatory pathway. Taken together, the data suggest that expression of LOT1 is under the control of two epigenetic modifications and that, in the absence of loss of heterozygosity, the biallelic (two-hit) or maximal silencing of LOT1 requires both processes.

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