Methylation associated transcriptional repression of ELOVL5 in novel colorectal cancer cell lines

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 20;12(9):e0184900. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184900. eCollection 2017.


Genetic and epigenetic alterations mark colorectal cancer (CRC). Global hypomethylation is observed in nearly all CRC, but a distinct subset of CRC show the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (CIMP). These tumors show DNA hypermethylation of a specific subset of CpG islands, resulting in transcriptional downregulation of nearby genes. Recently we reported the establishment of novel CRC cell lines derived from primary and metastatic CRC tissues. In this study we describe the DNA methylation profiling of these low passage CRC cell lines. We generated global DNA methylation profiles with Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips and analysed them in conjunction with matching gene expression profiles. Multidimensional scaling of the DNA methylation and gene expression datasets showed that BRAF mutated cell lines form a distinct group. In this group we investigated the 706 loci which we have previously identified to be hypermethylated in BRAF mutant CRC. We validated the significant findings in the The Cancer Genome Atlas colon adenocarcinoma dataset. Our analysis identified ELOVL5, FAM127B, MTERF1, ZNF606 to be subject to transcriptional downregulation through DNA hypermethylation in CRC. We further investigated ELOVL5 with qPCR and immunohistochemical staining, validating our results, but did not find a clear relation between ELOVL5 expression and tumor stage or relapse free survival. ELOVL5, FAM127B, MTERF1, ZNF606 are involved in important cellular processes such as apoptosis, lipogenesis and the downstream transcriptional effect of the MAPK-pathway. We have identified a DNA methylation profile regulating key cellular processes in CRC, resulting in a growth advantage to the tumor cells.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Fatty Acid Elongases
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • ELOVL5 protein, human
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Fatty Acid Elongases

Grant support

This work was supported by the EUROTRANS-BIO project FAST-SEQ. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.