Opposite alterations of DNA methyltransferase gene expression in endometrioid and serous endometrial cancers

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. To examine the DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) mRNA and protein levels in endometrioid and serous cancers and to study the relationship between DNA methyltransferase expression and endometrial cancer development. Methods. Normal endometrium, Grade I and Grade III endometrioid carcinoma tissues and cell lines, as well as serous cancer tissues, were analyzed for DNMT expression. Real-time PCR and Western blot techniques were employed to measure the mRNA and protein levels of the four DNA methyltransferases, DNMT1, DNMT2, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B. Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect alterations in DNMT nuclear localization and spatial organization patterns. Results. While DNMT2 and DNMT3A expression appear to be normal, two- to fourfold increase in DNMT1 and DNMT3B were found in both Grade I and Grade III endometrioid cancers. In addition, the poorly differentiated cell lines expressed relatively higher DNMT levels than well-differentiated cells. In contrast to endometrioid carcinomas, serous cancers expressed substantially lower levels of DNMT1 and DNMT3B than normal controls, with four- and twofold reduction observed in DNMT1 and DNMT3B mRNA levels, respectively. Western blot analysis confirmed opposite expression patterns of DNMT1 and DNMT3B protein in endometrioid and serous cancers. Immunohistochemistry showed normal nuclear localization of DNMT1 and DNMT3B in Type I and Type II cancer specimens as well as cell cultures. Conclusion. Two opposite DNMT expression patterns were identified in endometrioid and serous cancers. The concerted upregulation in maintenance and de novo DNA methyltransferases in endometrioid carcinomas is consistent with a tendency for gene-specific hypermethylation observed in this histologic subtype, and may be implicated in tumor suppressor silencing. In contrast, the downregulation of maintenance and de novo DNA methyltransferases in serous cancers suggests that these tumors may contain hypomethylated genomic DNA, which has been associated with a higher mutation rate and is consistent with the known pathogenesis of serous-specific phenotypes. Taken together, the data suggest that divergent DNA methylation pathways may be implicated in the development of Type I and Type II endometrial cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-609
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic oncology
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • DNA methyltransferase
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Gene expression
  • mRNA transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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