MN/CA9 is a cancer-related gene, frequently activated in human renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). To reveal the activation mechanism, we investigated the relationship between methylation status of the MN/CA9 promoter region and gene expression using 13 human RCCs, and examined the effect of in vitro CpG methylation on the MN/CA9 promoter activity using a human RCC cell line (SK-RC-44), expressing MN/CA9. MN/CA9 expression was evaluated by RT-PCR and observed in 10 of 13 RCCs (77%). A total of 9 out of 10 MN/CA9 -positive RCCs (90%) contained clear cell components. Methylation status of 6 CpGs in the MN/CA9 promoter region was decided by using the bisulfite genomic sequencing protocol. Out of 13 RCCs 9 (69%) showed partial hypomethylation of the CpG at -74 bp, while the other 4 RCCs and 3 normal kidney tissue samples showed complete methylation. Hypomethylation of the CpG at -74 bp was strongly correlated with MN/CA9 expression. Luciferase assay revealed that the MN/CA9 promoter activity was strongly suppressed by methylation of the CpG at -74 bp. These findings suggest that hypomethylation of the CpG at -74 bp in the MN/CA9 promoter region might play an important role in this gene activation of human RCC.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.