DNA methylation and cancer

Advances in Genetics
Marta Kulis, Manel Esteller

Abstract

DNA methylation is one of the most intensely studied epigenetic modifications in mammals. In normal cells, it assures the proper regulation of gene expression and stable gene silencing. DNA methylation is associated with histone modifications and the interplay of these epigenetic modifications is crucial to regulate the functioning of the genome by changing chromatin architecture. The covalent addition of a methyl group occurs generally in cytosine within CpG dinucleotides which are concentrated in large clusters called CpG islands. DNA methyltransferases are responsible for establishing and maintenance of methylation pattern. It is commonly known that inactivation of certain tumor-suppressor genes occurs as a consequence of hypermethylation within the promoter regions and a numerous studies have demonstrated a broad range of genes silenced by DNA methylation in different cancer types. On the other hand, global hypomethylation, inducing genomic instability, also contributes to cell transformation. Apart from DNA methylation alterations in promoter regions and repetitive DNA sequences, this phenomenon is associated also with regulation of expression of noncoding RNAs such as microRNAs that may play role in tumor suppression. DNA...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
DNA Methylation [PE]
Covalent Interaction
Antineoplastic Agents
Protein Methylation
Metastasis Suppressor Genes
Cytosine
DNA Methylation
Promoter
DNA, Neoplasm

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