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Exp Cell Res. 2008 Apr 1;314(6):1193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Jan 26.

Ras regulation of DNA-methylation and cancer.

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  • 1Cancer Epigenetics Research, Kalyani (B-7/183), Nadia, West Bengal, India.


Genome wide hypomethylation and regional hypermethylation of cancer cells and tissues remain a paradox, though it has received a convincing confirmation that epigenetic switching systems, including DNA-methylation represent a fundamental regulatory mechanism that has an impact on genome maintenance and gene transcription. Methylated cytosine residues of vertebrate DNA are transmitted by clonal inheritance through the strong preference of DNA methyltransferase, DNMT1, for hemimethylated-DNA. Maintenance of methylation patterns is necessary for normal development of mice, and aberrant methylation patterns are associated with many human tumours. DNMT1 interacts with many proteins during cell cycle progression, including PCNA, p53, EZH2 and HP1. Ras family of GTPases promotes cell proliferation by its oncogenic nature, which transmits signals by multiple pathways in both lipid raft dependent and independent fashion. DNA-methylation-mediated repression of DNA-repair protein O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene and increased rate of K-Ras mutation at codon for amino acids 12 and 13 have been correlated with a secondary role for Ras-effector homologues (RASSFs) in tumourigenesis. Lines of evidence suggest that DNA-methylation associated repression of tumour suppressors and apoptotic genes and ceaseless proliferation of tumour cells are regulated in part by Ras-signaling. Control of Ras GTPase signaling might reduce the aberrant methylation and accordingly may reduce the risk of cancer development.

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