Pterostilbene changes epigenetic marks at enhancer regions of oncogenes in breast cancer cells

Sadaf Harandi-Zadeh, Cayla Boycott, Megan Beetch, Tony Yang, Benjamin J.E. Martin, Kevin Ren, Anna Kwasniak, John H. Dupuis, Katarzyna Lubecka, Rickey Y. Yada, Leann J. Howe, Barbara Stefanska

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7 Scopus citations


Epigenetic aberrations are linked to sporadic breast cancer. Interestingly, certain dietary polyphenols with anti-cancer effects, such as pterostilbene (PTS), have been shown to regulate gene expression by altering epigenetic patterns. Our group has proposed the involvement of DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) as vital players in PTS-mediated suppression of candidate oncogenes and suggested a role of enhancers as target regions. In the present study, we assess a genome-wide impact of PTS on epigenetic marks at enhancers in highly invasive MCF10CA1a breast cancer cells. Following chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-sequencing in MCF10CA1a cells treated with 7 μM PTS for 9 days, we discovered that PTS leads to increased binding of DNMT3B at enhancers of 77 genes, and 17 of those genes display an overlapping decrease in the occupancy of trimethylation at lysine 36 of histone 3 (H3K36me3), a mark of active enhancers. We selected two genes, PITPNC1 and LINC00910, and found that their enhancers are hypermethylated in response to PTS. These changes coincided with the downregulation of gene expression. Of importance, we showed that 6 out of 17 target enhancers, including PITPNC1 and LINC00910, are bound by an oncogenic transcription factor OCT1 in MCF10CA1a cells. Indeed, the six enhancers corresponded to genes with established or putative cancer-driving functions. PTS led to a decrease in OCT1 binding at those enhancers, and OCT1 depletion resulted in PITPNC1 and LINC00910 downregulation, further demonstrating a role for OCT1 in transcriptional regulation. Our findings provide novel evidence for the epigenetic regulation of enhancer regions by dietary polyphenols in breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1232
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cancer
  • Chromatin
  • DNA methylation
  • DNMT3B
  • Enhancer
  • H3K36 trimethylation
  • Oncogenes
  • Pterostilbene


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