Tumor-specific histone signature and DNA methylation in multiple myeloma and leukemia cells

Published: NEOPLASMA 59, 450-462 Authors: Foltankova, V., Legartova, S., Kozubek, S., Bartova, E. Year: 2012


Understanding the epigenetics of tumor cells is of clinical significance for the treatment of cancer, and thus, chemists have focused their efforts on the synthesis of new generation of inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDACs) or methylation-specific enzymes as novel important anti-cancer drugs. Here, we tested whether the histone signature and DNA methylation in multiple myeloma (MM) and leukemia cells is tumor-specific as compared with that in non-malignant lymphoblastoid cells. We observed a distinct histone signature in c-myc, Mcl-1, and ribosomal gene loci in MOLP8 MM and K562 leukemia cells, when compared with lymphoblastoid cells. Histone and DNA methylation patterns in MOLP8 cells were partially modified by the clinically promising HDAC inhibitor, vorinostat. In comparison with lymphoblastoid WIL2NS cells, MOLP8 cells and K562 cells were characterized by an absence of the gene silencing marker H3K9me2 in the c-myc and ribosomal genes. However, high levels of H3K27me3 were detected in the promoters and coding regions of selected genomic regions in these cells. Treatment by vorinostat increased the level of DNA methylation at the c-myc promoter, and this alteration was accompanied by a decrease in c-MYC protein. In MOLP8 cells, vorinostat significantly increased the H3K9 acetylation in the Mcl-1 coding regions and promoter. Both MOLP8 and K562 leukemia cells were characterized by decreased levels of H3K9me2 in the Mcl-1 gene as compared with lymphoblastoid WIL2NS cells. Lower levels of H3K9me1 in the Mcl-1 promoter, however, were specific for MM cells as compared with the other cell types studied. In other MM and leukemia cell lines, COLO677, OPM2, and U937, the ribosomal genes were less prone to epigenetic heterogeneity as compared to the c-myc and Mcl-1 proto-oncogenes. Taken together, these data describe both tumor-specific and loci-specific histone signature and DNA methylation profiles.