The TET2 DNA hydroxymethyltransferase is frequently disrupted by somatic mutations in diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCLs), a tumor that originates from germinal center (GC) B cells. Here, we show that TET2 deficiency leads to DNA hypermethylation of regulatory elements in GC B cells, associated with silencing of the respective genes. This hypermethylation affects the binding of transcription factors including those involved in exit from the GC reaction and involves pathways such as B cell receptor, antigen presentation, CD40, and others. Normal GC B cells manifest a typical hypomethylation signature, which is caused by AID, the enzyme that mediates somatic hypermutation. However, AID-induced demethylation is markedly impaired in TET2-deficient GC B cells, suggesting that AID epigenetic effects are partially dependent on TET2. Last, we find that TET2 mutant DLBCLs also manifest the aberrant TET2-deficient GC DNA methylation signature, suggesting that this epigenetic pattern is maintained during and contributes to lymphomagenesis.
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