Background: PRDM (PRDI-BF1 and RIZ domain containing) proteins are zinc finger proteins involved in multiple cellular regulations by acting as epigenetic modifiers. We studied a recently identified PRDM member PRDM5 for its epigenetic abnormality and tumor suppressive functions in multiple tumorigeneses. Methodology/Principal Findings: Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that PRDM5 was broadly expressed in human normal tissues, but frequently silenced or downregulated in multiple carcinoma cell lines due to promoter CpG methylation, including 80% (4/5) nasopharyngeal, 44% (8/18) esophageal, 76% (13/17) gastric, 50% (2/4) cervical, and 25% (3/12) hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, but not in any immortalized normal epithelial cell lines. PRDM5 expression could be restored by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine demethylation treatment in silenced cell lines. PRDM5 methylation was frequently detected by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in multiple primary tumors, including 93% (43/46) nasopharyngeal, 58% (25/43) esophageal, 88% (37/42) gastric and 63% (29/46) hepatocellular tumors. PRDM5 was further found a stress-responsive gene, but its response was impaired when the promoter was methylated. Ectopic PRDM5 expression significantly inhibited tumor cell clonogenicity, accompanied by the inhibition of TCF/β-catenin-dependent transcription and downregulation of CDK4, TWIST1 and MDM2 oncogenes, while knocking down of PRDM5 expression lead to increased cell proliferation. ChIP assay showed that PRDM5 bound to its target gene promoters and suppressed their transcription. An inverse correlation between the expression of PRDM5 and activated β-catenin was also observed in cell lines. Conclusions/Significance: PRDM5 functions as a tumor suppressor at least partially through antagonizing aberrant WNT/β-catenin signaling and oncogene expression. Frequent epigenetic silencing of PRDM5 is involved in multiple tumorigeneses, which could serve as a tumor biomarker.
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