Deep proteomic analysis of Dnmt1 mutant/hypomorphic colorectal cancer cells reveals dysregulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and subcellular re-localization of Beta-Catenin

Epigenetics. 2020 Jan-Feb;15(1-2):107-121. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2019.1656154. Epub 2019 Aug 26.


DNA methyltransferase I plays the central role in maintenance of CpG DNA methylation patterns across the genome and alteration of CpG methylation patterns is a frequent and significant occurrence across many cancers. Cancer cells carrying hypomorphic alleles of Dnmt1 have become important tools for understanding Dnmt1 function and CpG methylation. In this study, we analyse colorectal cancer cells with a homozygous deletion of exons 3 to 5 of Dnmt1, resulting in reduced Dnmt1 activity. Although this cell model has been widely used to study the epigenome, the effects of the Dnmt1 hypomorph on cell signalling pathways and the wider proteome are largely unknown. In this study, we perform the first quantitative proteomic analysis of this important cell model and identify multiple signalling pathways and processes that are significantly dysregulated in the hypomorph cells. In Dnmt1 hypomorph cells, we observed a clear and unexpected signature of increased Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers as well as reduced expression and sub-cellular re-localization of Beta-Catenin. Expression of wild-type Dnmt1 in hypomorph cells or knock-down of wild-type Dnmt1 did not recapitulate or rescue the observed protein profiles in Dnmt1 hypomorph cells suggesting that hypomorphic Dnmt1 causes changes not solely attributable to Dnmt1 protein levels. In summary, we present the first comprehensive proteomic analysis of the widely studied Dnmt1 hypomorph colorectal cancer cells and identify redistribution of Dnmt1 and its interaction partner Beta-Catenin.

Keywords: Beta-Catenin; DNA methyltransferase; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1 / genetics*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1 / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteome / genetics*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Proteome
  • beta Catenin
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase 1
  • DNMT1 protein, human