Epigenetic regulation of putative tumor suppressor TGFBI in human leukemias

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Both in vitro and in vivo data have demonstrated the TGFBI gene functions as a putative tumor suppressor and is frequently downregulated in human tumors of different histological types. The hypermethylation of the TGFBI promoter, as one of the main regulatory mechanisms, is associated with TGFBI silencing. In this study, we used a methylation-specific PCR (MSP) method to evaluate the methylation status of the TGFBI promoter in human leukemias.


Real-time RT-PCR and methylation-specific PCR approaches were performed to define the TGFBI expression and promoter methylation in human leukemia cell lines and clinical samples. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from leukemia patients, bisulfite-converted, and analyzed by the MSP method.


Hypermethylation of the TGFBI promoter occurred in leukemia cell lines and demethylation treatment re-expressed TGFBI at a substantially increased level in most of leukemia cell lines tested. Furthermore, a much higher level of CpG island methylation and a significantly lower TGFBI expression were also identified in clinical leukemia samples.


The results suggest an important role of promoter methylation in regulating TGFBI expression in leukemia, which provides a useful diagnostic marker for clinical management of human leukemias.

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