Mapping dynamic histone modification patterns during arsenic-induced malignant transformation of human bladder cells

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Abstract

Arsenic is a known potent risk factor for bladder cancer. Increasing evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations, e.g., DNA methylation and histones posttranslational modifications (PTMs), contribute to arsenic carcinogenesis. Our previous studies have demonstrated that exposure of human urothelial cells (UROtsa cells) to monomethylarsonous acid (MMAIII), one of arsenic active metabolites, changes the histone acetylation marks across the genome that are correlated with MMAIII-induced UROtsa cell malignant transformation. In the current study, we employed a high-resolution and high-throughput liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify and quantitatively measure various PTM patterns during the MMAIII-induced malignant transformation. Our data showed that MMAIII exposure caused a time-dependent increase in histone H3 acetylation on lysine K4, K9, K14, K18, K23, and K27, but a decrease in acetylation on lysine K5, K8, K12, and K16 of histone H4. Consistent with this observation, H3K18ac was increased while H4K8ac was decreased in the leukocytes collected from people exposed to high concentrations of arsenic compared to those exposed to low concentrations. MMAIII was also able to alter histone methylation patterns: MMAIII transformed cells experienced a loss of H3K4me1, and an increase in H3K9me1 and H3K27me1. Collectively, our data shows that arsenic exposure causes dynamic changes in histone acetylation and methylation patterns during arsenic-induced cancer development. Exploring the genomic location of the altered histone marks and the resulting aberrant expression of genes will be of importance in deciphering the mechanism of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis.

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