DNA methylation of the 5′-untranslated region at +298 and +351 represses BACE1 expression in mouse BV-2 microglial cells

Catherine Jeonghae Byun, Jungwon Seo, Sangmee Ahn Jo, Yoon Jung Park, Maja Klug, Michael Rehli, Moon Ho Park, Inho Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


BACE1, which cleaves the amyloid precursor protein, is the rate-limiting enzyme for β-amyloid peptide production, leading to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). A high plasma level of homocysteine, acting as a potent methyltransferase inhibitor, is assumed to be a risk factor for AD onset. Using the demethylating drug 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza), we tested whether and how BACE1 expression is regulated in mouse BV-2 microglial cells. 5-Aza increased both BACE1 mRNA and protein levels in a dose-dependent manner. Bisulfite-sequencing analysis revealed that two CpG sites at positions +298 and +351 in the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of the BACE1 gene were specifically demethylated in BV-2 cells treated with 5-Aza. In silico analysis showed that the +351 site is the STAT3/CTCF-binding site; the function of the +298 site has not been identified. To assess whether these two CpG sites play an important role in 5-Aza-induced transcriptional activation of BACE1, we constructed a BACE1 gene promoter including the 5'-UTR (-1136 to +500) fused to a CpG-free luciferase gene (pCpGL-BACE1) and its mutant pCpGL-BACE1-AA, which has substituted CG dinucleotides at the two CpG sites of pCpGL-BACE1 to AA. Promoter analysis showed a significant decrease (~30%) in the activity of pCpGL-BACE1-AA compared with that of pCpGL-BACE1. Furthermore, in vitro methylation of these two reporter constructs showed a complete silencing of their promoter activities. Our data demonstrate that BACE1 gene expression is regulated by DNA methylation of at least two CpG sites at positions +298 and +351 in the 5'-UTR in BV-2 microglial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation grant ( NRF-2008-0061393 ).


  • 5′-Untranslated region
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • BACE1
  • DNA methylation
  • Microglial cells


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