Growing evidence demonstrates that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) progression and spreading; however, its molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined. We have previously shown that the antigen receptor LY75 can modulate EOC cell phenotype and metastatic potential, as LY75 depletion directed mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) in EOC cell lines with mesenchymal phenotype. We used the LY75-mediated modulation of EMT as a model to investigate for DNA methylation changes during EMT in EOC cells, by applying the reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) methodology. Numerous genes have displayed EMT-related DNA methylation patterns alterations in their promoter/exon regions. Ten selected genes, whose DNA methylation alterations were further confirmed by alternative methods, were further identified, some of which could represent new EOC biomarkers/therapeutic targets. Moreover, our methylation data were strongly indicative for the predominant implication of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in the EMT-induced DNA methylation variations in EOC cells. Consecutive experiments, including alterations in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway activity in EOC cells with a specific inhibitor and the identification of LY75-interacting partners by a proteomic approach, were strongly indicative for the direct implication of the LY75 receptor in modulating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling in EOC cells.
Keywords: DNA methylation; LY75; Wnt/β-catenin; epithelial ovarian cancer; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; reduced representation bisulfite sequencing.