Main content area

Molecular analysis of DNA repair gene methylation and protein expression during chemical-induced rat lung carcinogenesis

Liu, Wen-bin, Ao, Lin, Cui, Zhi-hong, Zhou, Zi-yuan, Zhou, Yan-hong, Yuan, Xiao-yan, Xiang, Yun-long, Cao, Jia, Liu, Jin-yi
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2011 v.408 no.4 pp. 595-601
DNA repair, carcinogenesis, carcinoma, epigenetics, genes, genomic islands, hyperplasia, immunohistochemistry, lung neoplasms, metaplasia, methylation, models, phenotype, polymerase chain reaction, protein synthesis, rats
A defective ratio between DNA damage and repair may result in the occurrence of a malignant phenotype. Previous studies have found that many genetic alterations in DNA repair genes occur frequently in lung cancer. However, the epigenetic mechanisms underlying this tumorigenesis are not clear. Herein, we have used a chemical-induced rat lung carcinogenesis model to study the evolution of methylation alterations of DNA repair genes BRCA1, ERCC1, XRCC1, and MLH1. Methylation-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze gene methylation status and protein expression during the progression of lung carcinogenesis. Promoter hypermethylation of BRCA1 was only detected in three samples of infiltrating carcinoma. CpG island hypermethylation of ERCC1, XRCC1, and MLH1 was found to increase gradually throughout lung carcinogenesis progression. Both the prevalence of at least one methylated gene and the average number of methylated genes were heightened in squamous metaplasia and dysplasia compared with normal tissue and hyperplasia, and was further increased in carcinoma in situ (CIS) and infiltrating carcinoma. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that BRCA1 and MLH1 protein expression decreased progressively during the stages of lung carcinogenesis, whereas ERCC1 and XRCC1 expression were only found in later stages. Although methylation levels were elevated for ERCC1 and XRCC1 during carcinogenesis, an inverse correlation with protein expression was found only for BRCA1 and MLH1. These results suggest that a continuous accumulation of DNA repair gene hypermethylation and the consequent protein alterations might be a vital molecular mechanism during the process of multistep chemical-induced rat lung carcinogenesis.