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      Hypomethylation distinguishes genes of some human cancers from their normal counterparts

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      Nature

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          It has been suggested that cancer represents an alteration in DNA, heritable by progeny cells, that leads to abnormally regulated expression of normal cellular genes; DNA alterations such as mutations, rearrangements and changes in methylation have been proposed to have such a role. Because of increasing evidence that DNA methylation is important in gene expression (for review see refs 7, 9-11), several investigators have studied DNA methylation in animal tumours, transformed cells and leukaemia cells in culture. The results of these studies have varied; depending on the techniques and systems used, an increase, decrease, or no change in the degree of methylation has been reported. To our knowledge, however, primary human tumour tissues have not been used in such studies. We have now examined DNA methylation in human cancer with three considerations in mind: (1) the methylation pattern of specific genes, rather than total levels of methylation, was determined; (2) human cancers and adjacent analogous normal tissues, unconditioned by culture media, were analysed; and (3) the cancers were taken from patients who had received neither radiation nor chemotherapy. In four of five patients studied, representing two histological types of cancer, substantial hypomethylation was found in genes of cancer cells compared with their normal counterparts. This hypomethylation was progressive in a metastasis from one of the patients.

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          Most cited references 47

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          DNA methylation and gene function

           A Razin,  A. Riggs (1980)
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            Efficient transfer of large DNA fragments from agarose gels to diazobenzyloxymethyl-paper and rapid hybridization by using dextran sulfate.

            We describe a technique for transferring electrophoretically separated bands of double-stranded DNA from agarose gels to diazobenzyloxymethyl-paper. Controlled cleavage of the DNA in situ by sequential treatment with dilute acid, which causes partial depurination, and dilute alkali, which causes cleavage and separation of the strands, allows the DNA to leave the gel rapidly and completely, with an efficiency independent of its size. Covalent attachment of DNA to paper prevents losses during subsequent hybridization and washing steps and allows a single paper to be reused many times. Ten percent dextran sulfate, originally found to accelerate DNA hybridization in solution by about 10-fold [J.G. Wetmur (1975) Biopolymers 14, 2517-2524], accelerates the rate of hybridization of randomly cleaved double-stranded DNA probes to immobilized nucleic acids by as much as 100-fold, without increasing the background significantly.
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              Detection of carcinogens as mutagens in the Salmonella/microsome test: assay of 300 chemicals: discussion.

              About 300 carcinogens and non-carcinogens of a wide variety of chemical types have been tested for mutagenicity in the simple Salmonella/microsome test. The test uses bacteria as sensitive indicators of DNA damage, and mammalian liver extracts for metabolic conversion of carcinogens to their active mutagenic forms. There is a high correlation between carcinogenicity and mutagenicity: 90% (157/175) of the carcinogens were mutagenic in the test, including almost all of the known human carcinogens that were tested. Despite the severe limitations inherent in defining non-carcinogenicity, few "non-carcinogens" showed any degree of mutagenicity [McCann et al. (1975) Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 72, 5135-5139]. In the present paper, carcinogens negative in the test andapparent false positives are discussed. We also discuss evidence that chemical carcinogens and radiation, likely to initiate most human cancer and genetic defects do so by damage to DNA. The Salmonella test can play a central role in a program of prevention: to identify mutagenic chemicals in the environment (all indications are there are many) and to aid in the development of non-mutagenic products to prevent future human exposure.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                January 1983
                January 1983
                : 301
                : 5895
                : 89-92
                Article
                10.1038/301089a0
                6185846
                © 1983

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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