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Cancer Res. 2005 Nov 15;65(22):10233-42.

Methylation-associated silencing of the nuclear receptor 1I2 gene in advanced-type neuroblastomas, identified by bacterial artificial chromosome array-based methylated CpG island amplification.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Medical Research Institute and Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


To identify genes whose expression patterns are altered by methylation of DNA, we established a method for scanning human genomes for methylated DNA sequences, namely bacterial artificial chromosome array-based methylated CpG island amplification (BAMCA). In the course of a program using BAMCA to screen neuroblastoma cell lines for aberrant DNA methylation compared with stage I primary neuroblastoma tumors, we identified CpG methylation-dependent silencing of the nuclear receptor 1I2 (NR1I2) gene. NR1I2 was methylated in a subset of neuroblastoma cell lines and also in advanced-stage primary tumors with amplification of MYCN. Its methylation status was inversely associated with gene expression. Treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored NR1I2 transcription in neuroblastoma cell lines lacking endogenous expression of this gene. A CpG island located around exon 3 of NR1I2 showed promoter activity, and its methylation status was clearly and inversely correlated with NR1I2 expression status. The gene product, NR1I2, has a known function in regulating response to xenobiotic agents but it also suppressed growth of neuroblastoma cells in our experiments. We identified some possible transcriptional targets of NR1I2 by expression array analysis. The high prevalence of NR1I2 silencing by methylation in aggressive neuroblastomas, together with the growth-suppressive activity of NR1I2, suggests that this molecule could serve as a diagnostic marker to predict prognosis for neuroblastomas.

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