Regulatory sequences recognized by the unique pair of paralogous factors, CTCF and BORIS, have been implicated in epigenetic regulation of imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. Lung cancers exhibit genome-wide demethylation associated with derepression of a specific class of genes encoding cancer-testis (CT) antigens such as NY-ESO-1. CT genes are normally expressed in BORIS-positive male germ cells deficient in CTCF and meCpG contents, but are strictly silenced in somatic cells. The present study was undertaken to ascertain if aberrant activation of BORIS contributes to derepression of NY-ESO-1 during pulmonary carcinogenesis. Preliminary experiments indicated that NY-ESO-1 expression coincided with derepression of BORIS in cultured lung cancer cells. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed robust, coincident induction of BORIS and NY-ESO-1 expression in lung cancer cells, but not normal human bronchial epithelial cells following 5-aza-2′- deoxycytidine (5-azadC), Depsipeptide FK228 (DP), or sequential 5-azadC/DP exposure under clinically relevant conditions. Bisulfite sequencing, methylation-specific PCR, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments showed that induction of BORIS coincided with direct modulation of chromatin structure within a CpG island in the 5′-flanking noncoding region of this gene. Cotransfection experiments using promoter-reporter constructs confirmed that BORIS modulates NY-ESO-1 expression in lung cancer cells. Gel shift and ChIP experiments revealed a novel CTCF/BORIS-binding site in the NY-ESO-1 promoter, which unlike such sites in the H19-imprinting control region and X chromosome, is insensitive to CpG methylation in vitro. In vivo occupancy of this site by CTCF was associated with silencing of the NY-ESO-1 promoter, whereas switching from CTCF to BORIS occupancy coincided with derepression of NY-ESO-1. Collectively, these data indicate that reciprocal binding of CTCF and BORIS to the NY-ESO-1 promoter mediates epigenetic regulation of this CT gene in lung cancer cells, and suggest that induction of BORIS may be a novel strategy to augment immunogenicity of pulmonary carcinomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research