Dr. Andrew Feinberg discusses recent work that has shed new light on the epigenome and it’s role in cancer.
Abstract: We and our collaborators have been developing efforts toward whole genome approaches to epigenetic analysis of human disease, including array-based analysis and whole genome bisulfite sequencing. Surprising results have been the discovery of CpG island shores and large hypomethylated blocks corresponding to large organized chromatin lysine (K) modifications, termed LOCKs, and accounting for the vast majority of epigenetic alterations in cancer.
These results point to the possibility that at least solid tumors represent epigenetically a single process with a common molecular characteristic, namely increased epigenetic plasticity that allows selection of the tumor cells at the expense of the host. Similar processes of increased epigenetic plasticity appear to underlie epithelial-mesenchymal transition in normal cellular reprogramming and cancer, with similar mechanisms involving large structures such as LOCKs.