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Gene. 1998 Mar 27;210(1):1-7.

Methylation-mediated regulation of the glutathione S-transferase P1 gene in human breast cancer cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the human pi class GST (GSTP1) gene expression in breast cancer cells is of particular importance to the study of breast cancer biology. In cultured human breast cancer cell lines, GSTP1 is exclusively expressed in estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) cells but is undetectable in receptor-positive (ER+) cells. Previously, we examined transiently transfected GSTP1 promoter activities, in vitro GSTP1 promoter-DNA interactions, and GSTP1 mRNA stability. These studies indicated that transiently transfected GSTP1 promoter elements and GSTP1 mRNA stability could only partially explain cell line-specific expression of endogenous GSTP1. In the present study, we examined whether the methylation status of the GSTP1 CpG island plays an important role in GSTP1 regulation. Southern blot analysis revealed that the GSTP1 CpG island is hypermethlyated in ER+, GSTP1 non-expressing cell lines but is undermethylated in ER-, GSTP1 expressing cell lines. Moreover, partial demethylation of the GSTP1 CpG island by treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine resulted in de novo gene expression in ER+ cell lines, as detected by RT-PCR, Northern blot and Western blot analyses. Our data strongly indicate that methylation status of the promoter contributes significantly to the levels of GSTP1 expressed in ER- and ER+ breast cancer cell lines.

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