Hervouet E, Vallette FM, Cartron PF
Disruption of apoptosis is considered as an important factor aiding tumorigenesis, and aberrant DNA methylation of apoptosis-associated genes could be an important and significant mechanism through which tumor cells avoid apoptosis. However, little is known about (1) the impact of methylation status of apoptosis-associated genes on the presence of apoptosis evasion phenotype in glioma; and (2) the molecular mechanism governing the aberrant methylation of apoptosis-associated genes in glioma. By analyzing human glioma biopsies, we first show that low level of apoptosis in tumor is correlated with aberrant methylation of the bcl-2, bax and XAF-1 genes, but not with the aberrant methylation of the bcl-w, survivin, TMS1, caspase-8 and HRK genes. Our work also indicates that the expression levels of DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1), Dnmt3b and Dnmt1/Dnmt3a coregulate the methylation status of survivin, TMS1 and caspase-8, whereas no correlation was observed between the expression level of Dnmts and the methylation status of the bcl-w, bcl-2, bax, XAF-1 and HRK genes. Thus, these results indicate that the epigenetic regulation of some apoptosis-regulated genes could dictate whether glioma harbors the apoptosis evasion phenotype, and provide some bases to the identification of the methylation machineries of apoptosis-associated genes for which the Dnmt expression acts as a limiting factor.