Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 5 (CHD5) is a potent tumor suppressor that serves as a master regulator of a tumor-suppressive network. Examination of the role played by CHD5 in a wide range of human cancers is warranted. In this study, we focused on the epigenetic modification and tumor-suppressive role of CHD5 in lung cancer. We measured CHD5 mRNA and protein expression in lung cancer cells, lung cancer tissues, and their corresponding noncancerous lung tissues using real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. We then determined the methylation status of the CHD5 promoter in these samples using methylation-specific sequencing and analyzed CHD5 re-expression in lung cancer cells treated with or without 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine, an inhibitor of DNA methylation. Next, the lung cancer cell clones stably expressing EGFP-CHD5 protein or EGFP protein, respectively, were obtained and the effects of restored CHD5 expression on cell proliferation, colony formation, and tumorigenicity were assessed. CHD5 expression ranged from low to absent in the lung cancer cell lines and tissues examined; the CHD5 promoter was hyperethylated in these samples. Treatment with 5-aza-dC resulted in a localized decrease in methylation density and an increase in CHD5 expression. Clonogenicity and tumor growth were abrogated in A549 and H1299 cells upon restoration of CHD5 expression. A significant reduction in clonogenicity was observed; an average of 47.83 ± 4.6% reduction for A549-EGFP-CHD5 was observed compared to A549-EGFP, and an average of 56.39 ± 5.3% reduction for H1299-EGFP-CHD5 was observed compared to H1299-EGFP. A549-EGFP exhibited an average tumor size of 452.3 ± 36.5 mm(3), whereas A549-EGFP-CHD5 exhibited an average tumor size of only 57.7 ± 18.5 mm(3). Thus, our findings indicate that CHD5 is a potential tumor suppressor gene that is inactivated via an epigenetic mechanism in lung cancer.
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