Objective: To explore the mechanism of PTEN gene expression silence in leukemia cells, and the effect of induced PTEN gene expression in leukemia cells.
Methods: Methylation status of PTEN in leukemic cell lines, including HL-60, Nalm-6, NB4, U937, Raji, K562 and KG-1a was assessed by methylation specific PCR (MSP). The cell lines were then treated with different concentrations of methyltransferase inhibitor 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR). After that the changes in PTEN methylation status were detected by MSP, and PTEN mRNA expression level by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). Growth inhibition and apoptosis of HL-60 and Nalm-6 cells induced by 5-Aza-CdR were observed by MTT assay, and Wright and Annexin V staining, respectively.
Results: Hypermethylation of PTEN promoter was detected in HL-60, U937, Nalm-6, Raji and KG-1a, while hypomethylation was found in NB4 and K562 by MSP. After 5-Aza-CdR treatment, the hypermethylation status of PTEN promoter in HL-60 and Nalm-6 cells was reversed and their PTEN mRNA expression levels were up regulated in dose dependent manner with the 5-Aza-CdR concentrations, and the cell apoptosis was induced.
Conclusion: Hypermethylation in the promoter region is one of major mechanisms responsible for transcriptional suppression of PTEN. Methyltransferase inhibitor could induce the expression of PTEN gene and lead to the leukemia cells apoptosis.