Consolidation of the cancer genome into domains of repressive chromatin by long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES) reduces transcriptional plasticity

Nat Cell Biol. 2010 Mar;12(3):235-46. doi: 10.1038/ncb2023. Epub 2010 Feb 21.


Silencing of individual genes can occur by genetic and epigenetic processes during carcinogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. By creating an integrated prostate cancer epigenome map using tiling arrays, we show that contiguous regions of gene suppression commonly occur through long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES). We identified 47 LRES regions in prostate cancer, typically spanning about 2 Mb and harbouring approximately 12 genes, with a prevalence of tumour suppressor and miRNA genes. Our data reveal that LRES is associated with regional histone deacetylation combined with subdomains of different epigenetic remodelling patterns, which include re-enforcement, gain or exchange of repressive histone, and DNA methylation marks. The transcriptional and epigenetic state of genes in normal prostate epithelial and human embryonic stem cells can play a critical part in defining the mode of cancer-associated epigenetic remodelling. We propose that consolidation or effective reduction of the cancer genome commonly occurs in domains through a combination of LRES and LOH or genomic deletion, resulting in reduced transcriptional plasticity within these regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • Computational Biology
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Genes / genetics
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity / genetics
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Multigene Family / genetics
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • Histones
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger