Consolidation of the cancer genome into domains of repressive chromatin by long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES) reduces transcriptional plasticity

Marcel W. Coolen, Clare Stirzaker, Jenny Z. Song, Aaron L. Statham, Zena Kassir, Carlos S. Moreno, Andrew N. Young, Vijay Varma, Terence P. Speed, Mark Cowley, Paul Lacaze, Warren Kaplan, Mark D. Robinson, Susan J. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


Silencing of individual genes can occur by genetic and epigenetic processes during carcinogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. By creating an integrated prostate cancer epigenome map using tiling arrays, we show that contiguous regions of gene suppression commonly occur through long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES). We identified 47 LRES regions in prostate cancer, typically spanning about 2Mb and harbouring approximately 12 genes, with a prevalence of tumour suppressor and miRNA genes. Our data reveal that LRES is associated with regional histone deacetylation combined with subdomains of different epigenetic remodelling patterns, which include re-enforcement, gain or exchange of repressive histone, and DNA methylation marks. The transcriptional and epigenetic state of genes in normal prostate epithelial and human embryonic stem cells can play a critical part in defining the mode of cancer-associated epigenetic remodelling. We propose that consolidation or effective reduction of the cancer genome commonly occurs in domains through a combination of LRES and LOH or genomic deletion, resulting in reduced transcriptional plasticity within these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

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