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, 132 (8 Suppl), 2424S-2429S

DNA Hypomethylation, Cancer, the Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Region Instability, Facial Anomalies Syndrome and Chromosomal Rearrangements

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DNA Hypomethylation, Cancer, the Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Region Instability, Facial Anomalies Syndrome and Chromosomal Rearrangements

Melanie Ehrlich. J Nutr.

Erratum in

  • J Nutr 2002 Nov;132(11):3432

Abstract

Inadequate attention has been paid to the frequent and often extensive cancer-associated DNA hypomethylation. This hypomethylation usually includes undermethylation of certain DNA repeats in constitutive heterochromatin, although it is not limited to such sequences. Many cancers display an overall deficiency in the levels of genomic 5-methylcytosine compared to a variety of normal postnatal somatic tissues. The immunodeficiency, centromeric region instability, facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome, a rare recessive DNA methyltransferase deficiency disease, results in a small decrease in the extent of global genomic methylation. In ICF, DNA hypomethylation is targeted to the satellite DNA in juxtacentromeric (centromere-adjacent) heterochromatin of chromosomes 1 and 16 (1qh and 16qh), which are prone to rearrangements in ICF lymphoid cells. Also, 1qh and 16qh DNA sequences frequently are hypomethylated in human cancers and rearrangements in their vicinity are overrepresented in cancers. These often lead to chromosome arm imbalances and gene dosage imbalances that could participate in carcinogenesis. Studies of ICF cells suggest that hypomethylation in the normally highly methylated 1qh and 16qh regions predisposes to heterochromatin decondensation in these regions, which in turn leads to elevated levels of rearrangements. Studies of ICF cells also suggest that some of these rearrangements, namely multiradial chromosomes with multiple arms joined in the pericentromeric region, may be unstable intermediates in formation of more stable pericentromeric rearrangements in cancer. Microarray gene expression analysis on ICF and normal lymphoblastoid cell lines suggests that this hypomethylation also may affect gene expression elsewhere in the genome.

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