Endocrinology Journal Article

DNA Methylation in Leiomyoma Stem Cell Function

October 19, 2020
 

Shimeng Liu, Ping Yin, Jingting Xu, Ariel J Dotts, Stacy A Kujawa, John S Coon V, Hong Zhao, Ali Shilatifard, Yang Dai, Serdar E Bulun
Endocrinology, Volume 161, Issue 10, October 2020, bqaa143
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa143

Abstract

Uterine leiomyoma (LM) is the most common tumor in women and can cause severe morbidity. Leiomyoma growth requires the maintenance and proliferation of a stem cell population. Dysregulated deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation has been reported in LM, but its role in LM stem cell regulation remains unclear. Here, we fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-sorted cells from human LM tissues into 3 populations: LM stem cell-like cells (LSC, 5%), LM intermediate cells (LIC, 7%), and differentiated LM cells (LDC, 88%), and we analyzed the transcriptome and epigenetic landscape of LM cells at different differentiation stages. Leiomyoma stem cell-like cells harbored a unique methylome, with 8862 differentially methylated regions compared to LIC and 9444 compared to LDC, most of which were hypermethylated. Consistent with global hypermethylation, transcript levels of TET1 and TET3 methylcytosine dioxygenases were lower in LSC. Integrative analyses revealed an inverse relationship between methylation and gene expression changes during LSC differentiation. In LSC, hypermethylation suppressed the genes important for myometrium- and LM-associated functions, including muscle contraction and hormone action, to maintain stemness. The hypomethylating drug, 5′-Aza, stimulated LSC differentiation, depleting the stem cell population and inhibiting tumor initiation. Our data suggest that DNA methylation maintains the pool of LSC, which is critical for the regeneration of LM tumors.

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