An Evolutionary Cancer Epigenetic Approach Revealed DNA Hypermethylation of Ultra-Conserved Non-Coding Elements in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Different Mammalian Species

Luca Morandi, Silvia Sabattini, Andrea Renzi, Antonella Rigillo, Giuliano Bettini, Eva Dervas, Alexandria Schauer, Marco Morandi, Davide B. Gissi, Achille Tarsitano, Stefania Evangelisti, Caterina Tonon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Ultra-conserved non-coding elements (UCNEs) are genomic sequences that exhibit > 95% sequence identity between humans, mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Recent findings reported their functional role in cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the DNA methylation modifications of UNCEs in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) from different mammal species. METHODS: Fifty SCCs from 26 humans, 17 cats, 3 dogs, 1 horse, 1 bovine, 1 badger, and 1 porcupine were investigated. Fourteen feline stomatitis and normal samples from 36 healthy human donors, 7 cats, 5 dogs, 5 horses, 2 bovines and 1 badger were collected as normal controls. Bisulfite next generation sequencing evaluated the DNA methylation level from seven UCNEs (uc.160, uc.283, uc.416, uc.339, uc.270, uc.299, and uc.328). RESULTS: 57/59 CpGs were significantly different according to the Kruskal-Wallis test (p < 0.05) comparing normal samples with SCC. A common DNA hypermethylation pattern was observed in SCCs from all the species evaluated in this study, with an increasing trend of hypermethylation starting from normal mucosa, through stomatitis to SCC. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that UCNEs are hypermethylated in human SCC, and this behavior is also conserved among different species of mammals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCells
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 13 2020

Keywords

  • bisulfite sequencing
  • DNA methylation
  • evolutionary epigenetics
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • ultra-conserved non-coding elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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