Methylation mediated silencing of TMS1/ASC gene in prostate cancer

Partha M. Das, Kavitha Ramachandran, Jane VanWert, Larry Ferdinand, Gopal Gopisetty, Isildinha M. Reis, Rakesh Singal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background: Transcriptional silencing associated with aberrant promoter methylation has been established as an alternate pathway for the development of cancer by inactivating tumor suppressor genes. TMSI (Target of Methylation induced Silencing), also known as ASC (Apoptosis Speck like protein containing a CARD) is a tumor suppressor gene which encodes for a CARD (caspase recruitment domain) containing regulatory protein and has been shown to promote apoptosis directly and by activation of downstream caspases. This study describes the methylation induced silencing of TMSI/ASC gene in prostate cancer cell lines. We also examined the prevalence of TMSI/ASC gene methylation in prostate cancer tissue samples in an effort to correlate race and clinico-pathological features with TMSI/ASC gene methylation. Results: Loss of TMSI/ASC gene expression associated with complete methylation of the promoter region was observed in LNCaP cells. Gene expression was restored by a demethylating agent, 5-aza-2′deoxycytidine, but not by a histone deacetylase inhibitor, Trichostatin A. Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed enrichment of MBD3 (methyl binding domain protein 3) to a higher degree than commonly associated MBDs and MeCP2. We evaluated the methylation pattern in 66 prostate cancer and 34 benign prostatic hyperplasia tissue samples. TMSI/ASC gene methylation was more prevalent in prostate cancer cases than controls in White patients (OR 7.6, p 0.002) while no difference between the cases and controls was seen in Black patients (OR 1.1, p 0.91). Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that methylation-mediated silencing of TMSI/ASC is a frequent event in prostate cancer, thus identifying a new potential diagnostic and prognostic marker for the treatment of the disease. Racial differences in TMSI/ASC methylation patterns implicate the probable role of molecular markers in determining in susceptibility to prostate cancer in different ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalMolecular Cancer
StatePublished - Jul 18 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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