• Genome-wide localization and expression profiling establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific transcription factor regulating vitally important genes.

      Terrados, Gloria; Finkernagel, Florian; Stielow, Bastian; Sadic, Dennis; Neubert, Juliane; Herdt, Olga; Krause, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Suske, Guntram; et al. (2012-09)
      The transcription factor Sp2 is essential for early mouse development and for proliferation of mouse embryonic fibroblasts in culture. Yet its mechanisms of action and its target genes are largely unknown. In this study, we have combined RNA interference, in vitro DNA binding, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and global gene-expression profiling to investigate the role of Sp2 for cellular functions, to define target sites and to identify genes regulated by Sp2. We show that Sp2 is important for cellular proliferation that it binds to GC-boxes and occupies proximal promoters of genes essential for vital cellular processes including gene expression, replication, metabolism and signalling. Moreover, we identified important key target genes and cellular pathways that are directly regulated by Sp2. Most significantly, Sp2 binds and activates numerous sequence-specific transcription factor and co-activator genes, and represses the whole battery of cholesterol synthesis genes. Our results establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific regulator of vitally important genes.
    • Methylome analysis and integrative profiling of human HCCs identify novel protumorigenic factors.

      Neumann, Olaf; Kesselmeier, Miriam; Geffers, Robert; Pellegrino, Rossella; Radlwimmer, Bernhard; Hoffmann, Katrin; Ehemann, Volker; Schemmer, Peter; Schirmacher, Peter; Lorenzo Bermejo, Justo; et al. (2012-11)
      To identify new tumor-suppressor gene candidates relevant for human hepatocarcinogenesis, we performed genome-wide methylation profiling and vertical integration with array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), as well as expression data from a cohort of well-characterized human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Bisulfite-converted DNAs from 63 HCCs and 10 healthy control livers were analyzed for the methylation status of more than 14,000 genes. After defining the differentially methylated genes in HCCs, we integrated their DNA copy-number alterations as determined by aCGH data and correlated them with gene expression to identify genes potentially silenced by promoter hypermethylation. Aberrant methylation of candidates was further confirmed by pyrosequencing, and methylation dependency of silencing was determined by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) treatment. Methylation profiling revealed 2,226 CpG sites that showed methylation differences between healthy control livers and HCCs. Of these, 537 CpG sites were hypermethylated in the tumor DNA, whereas 1,689 sites showed promoter hypomethylation. The hypermethylated set was enriched for genes known to be inactivated by the polycomb repressive complex 2, whereas the group of hypomethylated genes was enriched for imprinted genes. We identified three genes matching all of our selection criteria for a tumor-suppressor gene (period homolog 3 [PER3], insulin-like growth-factor-binding protein, acid labile subunit [IGFALS], and protein Z). PER3 was down-regulated in human HCCs, compared to peritumorous and healthy liver tissues. 5-aza-dC treatment restored PER3 expression in HCC cell lines, indicating that promoter hypermethylation was indeed responsible for gene silencing. Additionally, functional analysis supported a tumor-suppressive function for PER3 and IGFALS in vitro. CONCLUSION: The present study illustrates that vertical integration of methylation data with high-resolution genomic and transcriptomic data facilitates the identification of new tumor-suppressor gene candidates in human HCC.