Hypermethylation of the tumor suppressor gene PRDM1/Blimp-1 supports a pathogenetic role in EBV-positive Burkitt lymphom
Herpesvirus 4, Human
Tumor Suppressor Proteins
PRDM1/Blimp-1 is a tumor suppressor gene in the activated B-cell subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Its inactivation contributes to pathogenesis in this setting by impairing terminal B-cell differentiation induced by constitutive nuclear factor-κB activation. The role of PRDM1 in Burkitt lymphoma (BL) lymphomagenesis is not known. Here we identified hypermethylation of the promoter region and exon 1 of PRDM1 in all six Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive BL cell lines and 12 of 23 (52%) primary EBV-positive BL or BL-related cases examined, but in none of the EBV-negative BL cell lines or primary tumors that we assessed, implying a tumor suppressor role for PRDM1 specifically in EBV-associated BL. A direct induction of PRDM1 hypermethylation by EBV is unlikely, as PRDM1 hypermethylation was not observed in EBV-immortalized B lymphoblastoid cell lines. Treatment of EBV-positive BL cells with 5' azacytidine resulted in PRDM1 induction associated with PRDM1 demethylation, consistent with transcriptional silencing of PRDM1 as a result of DNA methylation. Overexpression of PRDM1 in EBV-positive BL cell lines resulted in cell cycle arrest. Our results expand the spectrum of lymphoid malignancies in which PRDM1 may have a tumor suppressor role and identify an epigenetic event that likely contributes to the pathogenesis of BL.