Induced DNA demethylation by targeting Ten-Eleven Translocation 2 to the human ICAM-1 promoter

Hui Chen, Hinke G Kazemier, Marloes L de Groote, Marcel H J Ruiters, Guo-Liang Xu, Marianne G Rots

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Increasing evidence indicates that active DNA demethylation is involved in several processes in mammals, resulting in developmental stage-specificity and cell lineage-specificity. The recently discovered Ten-Eleven Translocation (TET) dioxygenases are accepted to be involved in DNA demethylation by initiating 5-mC oxidation. Aberrant DNA methylation profiles are associated with many diseases. For example in cancer, hypermethylation results in silencing of tumor suppressor genes. Such silenced genes can be re-expressed by epigenetic drugs, but this approach has genome-wide effects. In this study, fusions of designer DNA binding domains to TET dioxygenase family members (TET1, -2 or -3) were engineered to target epigenetically silenced genes (ICAM-1, EpCAM). The effects on targeted CpGs' methylation and on expression levels of the target genes were assessed. The results indicated demethylation of targeted CpG sites in both promoters for targeted TET2 and to a lesser extent for TET1, but not for TET3. Interestingly, we observed re-activation of transcription of ICAM-1. Thus, our work suggests that we provided a mechanism to induce targeted DNA demethylation, which facilitates re-activation of expression of the target genes. Furthermore, this Epigenetic Editing approach is a powerful tool to investigate functions of epigenetic writers and erasers and to elucidate consequences of epigenetic marks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1574
Number of pages12
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2014


  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Dioxygenases
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Mice
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Zinc Fingers

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