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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Methylation of cytochrome P4501A1 promoter in the lung is associated with tobacco smoking.

Cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1), which is involved in the metabolic activation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon procarcinogens derived from tobacco smoke, is induced in the lung up to 100-fold because of tobacco smoking. Our aim was to study whether promoter methylation has any role in the smoking-associated expression of CYP1A1 in human lung. Methylation of CpG sites up to 1.4 kb upstream of CYP1A1 gene was studied first by sequencing. Because methylation was observed between nucleotides -1400 and -1000, a methylation-specific single-strand conformational polymorphism method was designed for the region between nucleotides -1411 and -1295 that contains five potential methylation sites, one of them at the xenobiotic responsive element core sequence. Single-strand conformational polymorphism was used on DNA from normal lung samples and peripheral WBCs of smokers and nonsmokers, and on human lung adenocarcinoma (A549) and bronchial epithelial (Beas-2B) cell lines. In lung tissue complete or partial methylation occurred in 33% of heavy smokers (>15 cigarettes/day, n = 30), 71% of light smokers (< or =15 cigarettes/day or quitted 1-7 days earlier, n = 42), and in 98% of nonsmokers (never and ex-smokers, n = 49). Methylation was found to increase in 1-7 days after quitting smoking. In active smokers the lack of methylation in the studied region of CYP1A1 promoter was associated with a slightly higher pulmonary 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activity in the regression models allowing for the daily tobacco consumption and age. No association was observed in WBC between methylation and tobacco smoking. In lung-derived cell lines the methylation remained stable regardless of induction with benzo(a)pyrene, but a higher induction was observed in Beas-2B cells, which also had less methylation than A549 cells. The association of tobacco smoking with CYP1A1 methylation in the lung suggests that promoter methylation is involved in the regulation of CYP1A1 induction in vivo.[1]


  1. Methylation of cytochrome P4501A1 promoter in the lung is associated with tobacco smoking. Anttila, S., Hakkola, J., Tuominen, P., Elovaara, E., Husgafvel-Pursiainen, K., Karjalainen, A., Hirvonen, A., Nurminen, T. Cancer Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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