Targeted TET oxidase activity through methyl-CpG-binding domain extensively suppresses cancer cell proliferation

Yasuhiko Mizuguchi, Yuriko Saiki, Akira Horii, Shinichi Fukushige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors are epigenetic drugs used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome. They not only induce DNA demethylation but also have significant cytostatic and cytotoxic effects; however, the relationships between these characteristics have not been established yet due to the lack of a method to induce only DNA demethylation. Herein, we show that a fusion protein comprised of the methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) and the catalytic domain of Ten-eleven translocation protein 1 (TET1-CD) globally demethylates and upregulates a number of methylated genes. These upregulated genes frequently contained CpG islands (CGIs) within ± 1000 bp of the transcription start site (TSS). Interestingly, 65% of the genes upregulated fivefold or more by MBD-TET1-CDwt were also reactivated after treatment with a DNMT inhibitor, 5-azacytidine (Aza-CR), suggesting that gene reactivation by both methods primarily shares the same mechanism, DNA demethylation. In order to examine whether DNA demethylation affects the growth of cancer cells, we have established a tetracycline inducible system that can regulate the expression of MBD-TET1-CDwt in a prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP. The induction of MBD-TET1-CDwt demethylated and upregulated glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), one of the hypermethylated genes in prostate cancer. In accordance with the reactivation of methylated genes, induction of MBD-TET1-CDwt extensively suppressed the growth of LNCaP cells through G1/S arrest. These results clearly indicate that TET oxidase activity recruited at methyl-CpG sites through MBD induces reactivation of hypermethylated genes by DNA demethylation and allows us to analyze the effect of only global DNA demethylation in a wide variety of cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2522-2533
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1


  • DNA demethylation
  • DNA methyltransferase inhibitor
  • hypermethylated genes
  • methyl-CpG-binding domain
  • ten- eleven translocation proteins


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