Demethylation of Specific Sites in the 5′-Flanking Region of the CYP17 Genes When Bovine Adrenocortical Cells Are Placed in Culture

Peter J. Hornsby, Lianqing Yang, Satyanarayana G. Raju, Sepehr Steve Maghsoudlou, Deepak S. Lala, Ferez S. Nallaseth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


DNA methylation of CYP17 (steroid 17α-hydroxylase) was studied in bovine adrenocortical cells, which lose the capacity to express this tissue-specific gene in culture by phenotypic switching. Restriction enzyme digestions, and sequencing of a λ clone of a second CYP17 gene (CYP17A2), showed that there are at least three CYP17 genes in the bovine genome. Southern blotting of DNA digested with Msp I or Hpa II together with Eco RI was used to investigate the methylation status of Hpa II sites at −1.0 kb (H1), −1.8 kb (H2), and −2.3 kb (H4) in CYP17A1 and CYP17A2 and at −0.7 kb (H0) in CYP17A3. In cells and tissues other than white blood cells, H0 was nonmethylated whereas H1 was always methylated; H2 and H4 showed variation in methylation status among different cells and tissues. In particular, whereas H4 was methylated in the bovine adrenal cortex in vivo, there was a rapid and complete demethylation at H4 when adrenocortical cells were placed in culture. Sites downstream from H4 did not change methylation over the first six passages in culture; additionally, the coding region of CYP17 remained fully methylated under all conditions. In contrast to adrenocortical cells, DNA from fibroblasts was nonmethylated at H2, whereas all downstream sites were fully methylated. Digestion with another methylation-sensitive enzyme, Bsa HI, which has a site between H2 and H4, showed that this region is methylated in intact adrenal cortex but nonmethylated both in cultured adrenocortical cells and in fibroblasts. The specific changes in methylation at this site and at H4 in adrenocortical cells indicate a reproducible, environmentally determined change in methylation in adrenocortical cells when they are placed in culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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