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Int J Oncol. 2011 Apr;38(4):903-10. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.931. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Possible involvement of loss of imprinting in immortalization of human fibroblasts.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, School of Life Dentistry at Tokyo, The Nippon Dental University, Tokyo 102-8159, Japan.

Abstract

Disruption of the normal pattern of parental origin-specific gene expression is referred to as loss of imprinting (LOI), which is common in various cancers. To investigate a possible role of LOI in the early stage of human cell transformation, we studied LOI in 18 human fibroblast cell lines immortalized spontaneously, by viral oncogenes, by chemical or physical carcinogens, or by infection with a retrovirus vector encoding the human telomerase catalytic subunit, hTERT cDNA. LOI was observed in all the 18 immortal cell lines. The gene most commonly exhibiting LOI was NDN which displayed LOI in 15 of the 18 cell lines (83%). The other genes exhibiting LOI at high frequencies were PEG3 (50%), MAGE-L2 (61%) and ZNF 127 (50%). Expression of NDN that was lost in the immortal cell lines was restored by treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. The ratio of histone H3 lysine 9 methylation to histone H3 lysine 4 methylation of the chromatin containing the NDN promoter in the immortal WI-38VA13 cells was greater than that in the parental cells, suggesting chromatin structure-mediated regulation of NDN expression. We previously demonstrated that inactivation of the p16INK4a/pRb pathway is necessary for immortalization of human cells. Human fibroblasts in the pre-crisis phase and cells with an extended lifespan that eventually senesce, both of which have the normal p16INK4a/pRb pathway, did not show LOI at any imprinted gene examined. Although it is not clear if LOI plays a causal role in immortalization of human cells or is merely coincidental, these findings indicate a possible involvement of LOI in immortalization of human cells or a common mechanism involved in both processes.

PMID:
21286664
DOI:
10.3892/ijo.2011.931
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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