Fetahu IS, Höbaus J, Aggarwal A, Hummel DM, Tennakoon S, Mesteri I, Baumgartner-Parzer S, Kállay E
The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is suggested to mediate the antiproliferative effects of calcium in colon. However, in colorectal cancer (CRC) the expression of the CaSR is silenced and the underlying mechanisms leading to its loss are poorly understood. We investigated whether loss of the CaSR expression in colorectal tumors is caused by DNA hypermethylation and imbalance of transcriptionally permissive/repressive histone alterations. We observed significantly lower CaSR mRNA expression (n = 65, p < 0.001) in colorectal tumors compared with the adjacent mucosa from the same patient. Immunofluorescence staining confirmed downregulation of the CaSR protein also. The CaSR promoter was methylated to a greater extent in tumors compared with adjacent mucosa as determined by bisulfite sequencing (n = 20, p < 0.01) and by pyrosequencing (n = 45, p < 0.001), and methylation correlated inversely with mRNA expression (n = 20, ρ = -0.310, p < 0.05 and n = 45, ρ = -0.588, p < 0.001). Treatments with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC), a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor and/or with two different histone deacetylase inhibitors, trichostatin A (TSA) or suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) restored the expression of CaSR in colon cancer cells. Restored CaSR expression in Coga1A and HT29 cells was functional. Inhibition of lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) to prevent demethylation of mono- and dimethylated H3K4, increased CaSR expression only marginally. Our data show that hypermethylation of the CaSR promoter and H3K9 deacetylation, but not H3K4me2 demethylation are important factors that cause silencing of the CaSR in colorectal cancer.