J Cancer 2022; 13(1):304-312. doi:10.7150/jca.62278 This issue

Research Paper

Hypermethylation of mitochondrial DNA facilitates bone metastasis of renal cell carcinoma

Zheng Liu1, Jinhai Tian2, Fuhong Peng3, Jiang Wang3✉

1. Department of Oncology, People's hospital of Dongxihu District, Wuhan, Hubei 430040, P.R.China.
2. Department of Orthopedics, People's hospital of Dongxihu District, Wuhan, Hubei 430040, P.R.China.
3. Department of Orthopedics, Tongji hospital of Tongji Medical College, Hua Zhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, P.R. China.

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Liu Z, Tian J, Peng F, Wang J. Hypermethylation of mitochondrial DNA facilitates bone metastasis of renal cell carcinoma. J Cancer 2022; 13(1):304-312. doi:10.7150/jca.62278. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v13p0304.htm

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Graphic abstract

Kidney cancers including clear cell carcinoma (RCC) are identified with very vulnerable mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) and frequent epigenetic aberrations. Bone metastasis from RCC is prevalent and destructive. Bone marrow contains a quite hypoxic microenvironment that usually insitigate 50% of hypermethylation events in conferring a selective advantage for tumor growth. We hypothesized that hypermethylation of mtDNA in RCC cells would significantly contribute to bone metastatic tumor progression. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction assay (MSP) was adopted to measure the methylation status of D-loop region of mtDNA in 15 pairs of bone metastatic and primary RCC as well as tumor adjescent normal kidney tissues. mtDNA copy number was examined by the real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Western blotting analysis was used to measure the accumulation of several DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) in the mitochondria and nucleus fractions of bone metastatic RCC cells. mRNA expression of mitochondria encoded genes was examined by RT-PCR. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP content were measured using in vitro cells treated with de-methylation drug 5-Azacytidine (5-Aza). Non-invasive bioluminescent imaging was performed to monitor tumor occurrence in skeleton in mice. Our results showed that the D-loop region in bone metastatic tumor cells was markedly hypermethylated than those in primary RCC tumor cells, that is associated with a decreased mtDNA copy number and accumulation of DNMT1 in the mitochondria. The bone-tropism tumor colonization and progression of RCC cells was significantly suppressed by demethylating the D-loop region of mtDNA and reducing the intracellular level of ROS and ATP by 5-Aza treatment. In conclusion, our study provided a direct association between hypermethylation of mtDNA in RCC with bone metastastic tumor growth.

Keywords: Bone metastasis, clear cell carcinoma, mitochondria DNA, hypermethylation, 5-Azacytidine