Different involvement of DNA methylation and histone deacetylation in the expression of solute-carrier transporters in 4 colon cancer cell lines

Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(3):301-7. doi: 10.1248/bpb.35.301.


The purpose of this study on the involvement of epigenetic control of the expression of solute carrier (SLC) transporters by DNA methylation and histone deacetylation in 4 colon cancer cells is to find the epigenetic control mechanisms of drug transporters in colon cancers. Human colon cancer cell lines (HCT116, HT29, SW48, SW480) were treated with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC), as a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, followed by trichostatin A (TSA), as a histone deacetylase inhibitor. The mRNA expression and DNA methylation of several SLC transporters were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and methylation-specific PCR, respectively. Among 12 SLC transporters possessing cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) islands, thiamine transporter 2 (THTR2) (SLC19A3) gene showed a correlation between its mRNA expression level and DNA methylation status. TSA treatment increased histone H3 acetylation of THTR2 promoter region in all 4 colon cancer cell lines examined. HCT116 and SW48 cells showed a lack of THTR2 mRNA expression and methylation of its promoter, and DAC treatment induced its re-expression. In addition, the co-treatment with DAC and TSA increased THTR2 mRNA expression more markedly than DAC treatment in HCT116 and SW48 cells. In HT29 and SW480 cells that showed little methylation of THTR2 promoter, TSA treatment induced THTR2 mRNA expression markedly, but DAC treatment did not. In the 4 colon cancer cells examined, THTR2 mRNA expression is down-regulated by DNA methylation and/or histone deacetylation.

MeSH terms

  • Azacitidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Azacitidine / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Modification Methylases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Decitabine
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones
  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • trichostatin A
  • Decitabine
  • DNA Modification Methylases
  • Azacitidine