Overexpression of mucin 13 due to promoter methylation promotes aggressive behavior in ovarian cancer cells

Hye Youn Sung, Ae Kyung Park, Woong Ju, Jung Hyuck Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Recent discoveries suggest that aberrant DNA methylation provides cancer cells with advanced metastatic properties. However, the precise regulatory mechanisms controlling metastasis genes and their role in metastatic transformation are largely unknown. To address epigenetically-regulated gene products involved in ovarian cancer metastasis, we examined the mechanisms regulating mucin 13 (MUC13) expression and its influence on aggressive behaviors of ovarian malignancies. Materials and Methods: We injected SK-OV-3 ovarian cancer cells peritoneally into nude mice to mimic human ovarian tumor metastasis. Overexpression of MUC13 mRNA was detected in metastatic implants from the xenografts by expression microarray analysis and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The DNA methylation status within the MUC13 promoter region was determined using bisulfite sequencing PCR and quantitative methylation-specific PCR. We evaluated the effects of exogenous MUC13 on cell invasion and migration using in vitro transwell assays. Results: MUC13 mRNA expression was up-regulated, and methylation of specific CpG sites within the promoter was reduced in the metastatic implants relative to those in wild-type SK-OV-3 cells. Addition of a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor to SK-OV-3 cells induced MUC13 expression, thereby implying epigenetic regulation of MUC13 by promoter methylation. MUC13 overexpression increased migration and invasiveness, compared to control cells, suggesting aberrant up-regulation of MUC13 is strongly associated with progression of aggressive behaviors in ovarian cancer. Conclusion: We provide novel evidence for epigenetic regulation of MUC13 in ovarian cancer. We suggest that the DNA methylation status within the MUC13 promoter region may be a potential biomarker of aggressive behavior in ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1213
Number of pages8
JournalYonsei Medical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • DNA methylation
  • MUC13
  • Mouse xenograft
  • Ovarian cancer


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