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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Mar 14;92(6):2159-63.

Epigenetic changes encompassing the IGF2/H19 locus associated with relaxation of IGF2 imprinting and silencing of H19 in Wilms tumor.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


In most tissues IGF2 is expressed from the paternal allele while H19 is expressed from the maternal allele. We have previously shown that in some Wilms tumors the maternal IGF2 imprint is relaxed such that the gene is expressed biallelically. We have now investigated this subset of tumors further and found that biallelic expression of IGF2 was associated with undetectable or very low levels of H19 expression. The relaxation of IGF2 imprinting in Wilms tumors also involved a concomitant reversal in the patterns of DNA methylation of the maternally inherited IGF2 and H19 alleles. Furthermore, the only specific methylation changes that occurred in tumors with relaxation of IGF2 imprinting were solely restricted to the maternal IGF2 and H19 alleles. These data suggest that there has been an acquisition of a paternal epigenotype in these tumors as the result of a pathologic disruption in the normal imprinting of the IGF2 and H19 genes.

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