Their results also suggest that the presence of a bivalent chromatin signature at CpG island promoters in stem cells predisposes not only to hypermethylation, as widely documented, but more generally to all types of transcriptional alterations in transformed cells. In addition, the gene expression strength in healthy brain cells influences the choice between DNA methylation- and H3K27me3-associated silencing in glioma. Highly expressed genes were more likely to be repressed by H3K27me3 than by DNA methylation. These findings support a model in which altered H3K27me3 dynamics, more specifically defects in the interplay between polycomb protein complexes and the brain-specific transcriptional machinery, is the main cause of transcriptional alteration in glioma cells. This study provides the first comprehensive description of epigenetic changes in glioma and their relative contribution to transcriptional changes. It may be useful for the design of drugs targeting cancer-related epigenetic defects.
This study has been highlighted on the CBNRS INSB website