Article: article from journal or magazin.
Frequent nonrandom activation of germ-line genes in human cancer.
Publication types: Journal ArticlePublication Status: ppublish
The growing class of cancer/germ-line genes is characterized by a unique expression pattern with transcription restricted to germ cells and cancer cells. It is not known which fraction of germ-line genes is ectopically activated in tumor cells and whether this fraction displays common features as compared with strictly germ-line genes remaining silent in cancer. Using an unbiased genome-wide scanning approach, representative samples of both cancer/germ-line genes as well as strictly germ-line-specific genes were determined. Comparative analysis disclosed highly significant diametric characteristics for these two categories of genes with regard to sex specificity, developmental stage of physiological expression during gametogenesis, chromosomal localization, and epigenetic regulation of expression. Our findings provide class predictors for germ cell-specific gene activation in cancer. The identification of highly congruent expression patterns in cancer and in DNA methyltransferase-deficient cells suggests an underlying common epigenetic mechanism for activation of germ-line genes in cancer.
Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/genetics, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic/genetics, Germ Cells/physiology, Humans, Male, Neoplasms/genetics, Ovary/embryology, Ovary/physiology, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Testis/embryology, Testis/physiology, Transcriptional Activation
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