N-myc downstream regulated gene 4 (Ndrg4), a frequent downregulated gene through dna hypermethylation, plays a tumor suppressive role in esophageal adenocarcinoma

Longlong Cao, Tianling Hu, Heng Lu, Dunfa Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has been rising dramatically in the past few decades in the United States and Western world. The N-myc downregulated gene 4 (NDRG4) belongs to the human NDRG family. In this study, we aimed to identify the expression levels, regulation, and functions of NDRG4 in EAC. Using an integrative epigenetic approach, we identified genes showing significant downregulation in EAC and displaying upregulation after 5-Aza-deoxycitidine. Among these genes, likely to be regulated by DNA methylation, NDRG4 was among the top 10 candidate genes. Analyses of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) and GEO (Gene Expression Omnibus) data sets and EAC tissue samples demonstrated that NDRG4 was significantly downregulated in EAC (p < 0.05). Using Pyrosequencing technology for quantification of DNA methylation, we detected that NDRG4 promoter methylation level was significantly higher in EAC tissue samples, as compared to normal esophagus samples (p < 0.01). A strong inverse correlation between NDRG4 methylation and its gene expression levels (r = −0.4, p < 0.01) was observed. Treatment with 5-Aza restored the NDRG4 expression, confirming that hypermethylation is a driving force for NDRG4 silencing in EAC. Pathway and gene set enrichment analyses of TCGA data suggested that NDRG4 is strongly associated with genes related to cell cycle regulation. Western blotting analysis showed significant downregulation of Cyclin D1, CDK4 and CDK6 in EAC cells after overexpression of NDRG4. Functionally, we found that the reconstitution of NDRG4 resulted in a significant reduction in tumor cell growth in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) organotypic culture models and inhibited tumor cell proliferation as indicated by the EdU (5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine) proliferation assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2573
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • NDRG4
  • Tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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