Decreased Fidelity in Replicating DNA Methylation Patterns in Cancer Cells Leads to Dense Methylation of a CpG Island

  • N. Watanabe
  • E. Okochi-Takada
  • Y. Yagi
  • J. -I. Furuta
  • T. UshijimaEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 310)


Cancer cells that have a large number of aberrantly methylated CpG islands (CGIs) are known to have CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), and decreased fidelity in replicating methylation patters has been analyzed as an underlying mechanism. First we developed a method to analyze the number of errors in replicating CpG methylation patterns in a defined period. A single cell was expanded into 106 cells, and the number of errors during the culture was measured by counting the deviation from the original methylation patterns. It was shown that methylated status of a CpG site was more stably inherited than unmethylated status, suggesting that the genome is constantly exposed to de novo methylation. Promoter CGIs showed higher fidelities than CGIs outside promoter regions. We then analyzed error rates in two gastric cancer cell lines without CIMP and two with CIMP for five promoter CGIs. Two CIMP(-) cell lines showed error rates smaller than 1.0×10−3 errors per site per generation (99.90%–100% fidelity) for all the five CGIs. In contrast, AGS cells showed significantly elevated error rates, mainly due to increased de novo methylation, in three CGIs (1.6- to 3.2-fold), and KATOIII cells showed a significantly elevated error rate in one CGI (2.2-fold). Presence of densely methylated DNA molecules was observed only in KATOIII and AGS. These data demonstrated that some cancer cells have decreased fidelity in replicating CpG methylation patterns that underlie CIMP.


Methylation Pattern Gastric Cancer Cell Line Human Mammary Epithelial Cell Differentially Methylated Region Comprehensive Cancer Control 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Watanabe
    • 1
  • E. Okochi-Takada
    • 1
  • Y. Yagi
    • 1
  • J. -I. Furuta
    • 1
  • T. Ushijima
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Carcinogenesis DivisionNational Cancer Center Research InstituteTokyoJapan

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