Modeling epigenetic lesions that cause gliomas.
Epigenetic lesions that disrupt regulatory elements represent potential cancer drivers. However, we lack experimental models for validating their tumorigenic impact. Here, we model aberrations arising in isocitrate dehydrogenase-mutant gliomas, which exhibit DNA hypermethylation. We focus on a CTCF insulator near the PDGFRA oncogene that is recurrently disrupted by methylation in these tumors. We demonstrate that disruption of the syntenic insulator in mouse oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) allows an OPC-specific enhancer to contact and induce Pdgfra, thereby increasing proliferation. We show that a second lesion, methylation-dependent silencing of the Cdkn2a tumor suppressor, cooperates with insulator loss in OPCs. Coordinate inactivation of the Pdgfra insulator and Cdkn2a drives gliomagenesis in vivo. Despite locus synteny, the insulator is CpG-rich only in humans, a feature that may confer human glioma risk but complicates mouse modeling. Our study demonstrates the capacity of recurrent epigenetic lesions to drive OPC proliferation in vitro and gliomagenesis in vivo.
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