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Specific association between the methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2 and the hypermethylated region of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter in cancer cells.
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is expressed in most cancer cells. Paradoxically, its promoter is embedded in a hypermethylated CpG island. A short region escapes to this alteration, allowing a basal level of transcription. However, the methylation of adjacent regions may play a role in the maintenance of low hTERT expression. It is now well established that methyl-CpG binding domain proteins mediate the transcriptional silencing of hypermethylated genes. The potential involvement of these proteins in the control of hTERT expression was firstly investigated in HeLa cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that only methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2 (MBD2) associated the hypermethylated hTERT promoter. In MBD2 knockdown HeLa cells, constitutively depleted in MBD2, neither methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) nor MBD1 acted as substitutes for MBD2. MBD2 depletion by transient or constitutive RNA interference led to an upregulation of hTERT transcription that can be downregulated by expressing mouse Mbd2 protein. Our results indicate that MBD2 is specifically and directly involved in the transcriptional repression of hTERT in HeLa cells. This specific transcriptional repression was also observed in breast, liver and neuroblastoma cancer cell lines. Thus, MBD2 seems to be a general repressor of hTERT in hTERT-methylated telomerase-positive cells.
Cell Line, Tumor, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, DNA Methylation, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Telomerase
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