Coordinate regulation of microenvironmental stimuli and role of methylation in bone metastasis from breast carcinoma

Emanuela Matteucci, Paola Maroni, Andrea Disanza, Paola Bendinelli, Maria Alfonsina Desiderio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenesis of bone metastasis is unclear, and much focus in metastatic biology and therapy relays on epigenetic alterations. Since DNA-methyltransferase blockade with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (dAza) counteracts tumour growth, here we utilized dAza to clarify whether molecular events undergoing epigenetic control were critical for bone metastatization. In particular, we investigated the patterns of secreted-protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) and of Endothelin 1, affected by DNA methyltransferases in tumours, with the hypothesis that in bone metastasis a coordinate function of SPARC and Endothelin 1, if any occurs, was orchestrated by DNA methylation. To this purpose, we prepared a xenograft model with the clone 1833, derived from human-MDA-MB231 cells, and dAza administration slowed-down metastasis outgrowth. This seemed consequent to the reductions of SPARC and Endothelin 1 at invasive front and in the bone marrow, mostly due to loss of Twist. In the metastasis bulk Snail, partly reduced by dAza, might sustain Endothelin 1-SPARC cooperativity. Both SPARC and Endothelin 1 underwent post-translational control by miRNAs, a molecular mechanism that might explain the in vivo data. Ectopic miR29a reduced SPARC expression also under long-term dAza exposure, while Endothelin 1 down-regulation occurred in the presence of endogenous-miR98 expression. Notably, dAza effects differed depending on in vivo and in vitro conditions. In 1833 cells exposed to 30-days dAza, SPARC-protein level was practically unaffected, while Endothelin 1 induction depended on the 3'-UTR functionality. The blockade of methyltransferases leading to SPARC reduction in vivo, might represent a promising strategy to hamper early steps of the metastatic process affecting the osteogenic niche.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Bone metastasis
  • Endothelin 1
  • Methylation
  • Microenvironment stimuli

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Coordinate regulation of microenvironmental stimuli and role of methylation in bone metastasis from breast carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this