hMLH1 promoter methylation and silencing in primary endometrial cancers are associated with specific alterations in MBDs occupancy and histone modifications

Yuning Xiong, Sean C. Dowdy, Norman L. Eberhardt, Karl C. Podratz, Shi Wen Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Objective.: To investigate the relationship between hMLH1 promoter methylation and changes in chromatin composition. To study how the occupancy of methyl CpG binding domain proteins (MBDs) and histone acetylation/methylation in hMLH1 promoter may participate in hMLH1 silencing. Methods.: 64 endometrial cancer samples were screened for hMLH1 mRNA expression. hMLH1 promoter methylation status was confirmed by methylation-specific PCR in cancers with high and low levels of hMLH1 expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed to compare the MBD occupancy and histone modifications between the methylated/silenced and unmethylated/active hMLH1 genes in multiple primary endometrial cancers. Results.: We demonstrated that MeCP2, MBD1 and MBD2, but not MBD3 and MBD4, specifically bind to methylated hMLH1 promoters. Hyperacetylated histones H3 and H4 were found to be associated with the unmethylated and transcriptionally active hMLH1 promoters. While H3 lysine-4 methylation was present in unmethylated hMLH1 promoters, H3 lysine-9 methylation was found exclusively in methylated promoters. Western blot analysis showed that similar global levels of MBDs and histones were present in the two cancer groups with high and low hMLH1 expression. Conclusions.: A distinct combination of MBDs and histone modification is associated with the silencing of the hMLH1 gene. The changes in hMLH1 chromatin composition are closely related to methylation status of hMLH1 promoters. These changes are not accounted by the global expression levels of MBDs and histones in endometrial cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-328
Number of pages8
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006



  • DNA methylation
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Epigenetic
  • MBD
  • hMLH1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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