Expression of DNA methyltransferases in breast cancer patients and to analyze the effect of natural compounds on DNA methyltransferases and associated proteins

Sameer Mirza, Gayatri Sharma, Rajinder Parshad, Sidhartha Datta Gupta, Pranav Pandya, Ranju Ralhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations


Purpose: The DNA methylation mediated by specific DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), results in the epigenetic silencing of multiple genes which are implicated in human breast cancer. We hypothesized that the natural compounds modulate the expression of DNMTs and their associated proteins in the breast cancer cell lines and affect the methylation mediated gene silencing. Methods: The DNMTs transcript expression was analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the tumors and the adjacent normal breast tissues of the patients with invasive ductal breast carcinoma. We tested the hypothesis that the natural compounds, viz., epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), genistein, withaferin A, curcumin, resveratrol, and guggulsterone, have demethylation potential. To investigate this hypothesis, we analyzed the DNMTs expression at the transcript levels, followed by the analysis of DNMT1 and its associated proteins (HDAC1, MeCP2, and MBD2). Results: The increased DNMTs transcripts expression, viz., DNMT1, DNMT3a, and DNMT3b, in the breast cancer tissues suggest involvement of the DNMTs in the breast carcinogenesis. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that the treatment with natural compounds, viz., EGCG, genistein, with- aferin A, curcumin, resveratrol, and guggulsterone, resulted in a significant decrease in the transcript levels of all the DNMTs investigated. Importantly, these natural compounds decreased the protein levels of DNMT1, HDAC1, and MeCP2. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that the natural compounds, EGCG, genistein, withaferin A, curcumin, resveratrol, and guggulsterone, have the potential to reverse the epigenetic changes. Moreover, their lack of toxicity makes these natural compounds promising candidates for the chemoprevention of the breast cancer. In-depth future mechanistic studies aimed to elucidate how these compounds affect the gene transcription are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Breast neoplasms
  • Chemoprevention
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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