Aberrant methylation of CpG islands and genomic deletion are two predominant mechanisms of gene inactivation in tumorigenesis, but the extent to which they interact is largely unknown. The lack of an integrated approach to study these mechanisms has limited the understanding of tumor genomes and cancer genes. Restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS; ref. 1) is useful for global analysis of aberrant methylation of CpG islands, but has not been amenable to alignment with deletion maps because the identity of most RLGS fragments is unknown. Here, we determined the nucleotide sequence and exact chromosomal position of RLGS fragments throughout the genome using the whole chromosome of origin of the fragments2 and in silico restriction digestion of the human genome sequence. To study the interaction of these gene-inactivation mechanisms in primary brain tumors, we integrated RLGS-based methylation analysis with high-resolution deletion maps from microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH; ref. 3). Certain subsets of gene-associated CpG islands were preferentially affected by convergent methylation and deletion, including genes that exhibit tumor-suppressor activity, such as CISH1 (encoding SOCS1; ref. 4), as well as genes such as COE3 that have been missed by traditional non-integrated approaches. Our results show that most aberrant methylation events are focal and independent of deletions, and the rare convergence of these mechanisms can pinpoint biallelic gene inactivation without the use of positional cloning.
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