SPOP mutation induces DNA methylation

Mutations in SPOP E3 ligase gene are reportedly associated with genome-wide DNA hypermethylation in prostate cancer (PCa) although the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that SPOP binds and promotes polyubiquitination and degradation of histone methyltransferase and DNMT interactor GLP. SPOP mutation induces stabilization of GLP and its partner protein G9a and aberrant upregulation of global DNA hypermethylation in cultured PCa cells and primary PCa specimens. Genome-wide DNA methylome analysis shows that a subset of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) including FOXO3,GATA5, and NDRG1, are hypermethylated and downregulated in SPOP-mutated PCa cells. DNA methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine effectively reverses expression of the TSGs examined, inhibits SPOP-mutated PCa cell growth in vitro and in mice, and enhances docetaxel anti-cancer efficacy.

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Fig: SPOP-mutant expression induces DNA hypermethylation in cultured PCa cells and patient specimens

Our findings reveal the GLP/G9a-DNMT module as a mediator of DNA hypermethylation in SPOP-mutated PCa. They suggest that SPOP mutation could be a biomarker for effective treatment of PCa with DNA methylation inhibitor alone or in combination with taxane chemotherapeutics.

Zhang, J., Gao, K., Xie, H. et al. SPOP mutation induces DNA methylation via stabilizing GLP/G9a. Nat Commun 12, 5716 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25951-3

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