Expression of UDP Glucuronosyltransferases 2B15 and 2B17 is associated with methylation status in prostate cancer cells

Epigenetics. 2021 Mar;16(3):289-299. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2020.1795601. Epub 2020 Jul 27.


Studies have suggested that abrogated expression of detoxification enzymes, UGT2B15 and UGT2B17, are associated with prostate tumour risk and progression. We investigated the role of EGF on the expression of these enzymes since it interacts with signalling pathways to also affect prostate tumour progression and is additionally associated with decreased DNA methylation. The expression of UGT2B15, UGT2B17, de novo methyltransferases, DNMT3A and DNMT3B was assessed in prostate cancer cells (LNCaP) treated with EGF, an EGFR inhibitor PD16893, and the methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-azacytidine, respectively. The results showed that EGF treatment decreased levels of expression of all four genes and that their expression was reversed by PD16893. Treatment with 5-azacytidine, markedly decreased expression of UGT2B15 and UGT2B17 over 85% as well as significantly decreased expression of DNMT3B, but not the expression of DNMT3A. DNMT3B siRNA treated LNCaP cells had decreased expression of UGT2B15 and UGT2B17, while DNMT3A siRNA treated cells had only moderately decreased UGT2B15 expression. Treatment with DNMT methyltransferase inhibitor, RG108, significantly decreased UGT2B17 expression. Additionally, methylation differences between prostate cancer samples and benign prostate samples from an Illumina 450K Methylation Array study were assessed. The results taken together suggest that hypomethylation of the UGT2B15 and UGT2B17 genes contributes to increased risk of prostate cancer and may provide a putative biomarker or epigenetic target for chemotherapeutics. Mechanistic studies are warranted to determine the role of the methylation marks in prostate cancer.

Keywords: DNA methyltransferases; Human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases 2B; epigenetic regulation; methylation; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • DNA Methylation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glucuronosyltransferase* / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / genetics


  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 2B15, human
  • UGT2B17 protein, human