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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Avian Disease and Oncology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #291150

Title: DNA methylation down-regulates EGFR expression in chicken

item LUO, JUAN - University Of Maryland
item CHANG, SHUANG - Michigan State University
item Zhang, Huanmin
item LI, BICHUN - Yangzhou University
item SONG, JIUZHOU - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2013
Publication Date: 2/5/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Luo, J., Chang, S., Zhang, H., Li, B., Song, J. 2013. DNA methylation down-regulates EGFR expression in chicken. Avian Diseases. 57(2):366-371.

Interpretive Summary: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a member of a glycoprotein protein super-family, was found to be a particular molecular target of high promise in oncology, the science of cancerous diseases in human and animals. This study examined DNA methylation, a biochemical process involving the addition of a methyl group to DNA molecules, and we found that particular DNA methylation in the genome down-regulated the expression of the EGFR gene in chickens. This finding advances the basic understanding on genetic control of genes involved with tumorigenesis.

Technical Abstract: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a growth-factor-receptor tyrosine kinase, was found up-regulated in numerous tumors, which provides a good target for cancer therapy. Although it was documented that oncoviruses are responsible for the activation of EGFR in tumors, the impact of Marek’s disease virus (MDV) infection on EGFR yet is poorly understood in chicken. We did quantitative RT-PCR to check the EGFR expression and found that it was significantly down-regulated by MDV infection. To explore the mechanism of EGFR repression upon MDV infection, we examined the promoter DNA methylation level of EGFR and found that the DNA methylation level in the infected samples was escalated indicating a potential role of the DNA methylation in EGFR repression. We then used an in vitro methylation assay to further confirm that DNA hypermethylation represses the promoter activity of EGFR. In conclusion, we found that DNA methylation down-regulated the expression of EGFR in chicken.