Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jaideep Chaudhary

Second Advisor

Dr. Shafiq Khan

Third Advisor

Dr. Valerie Odero-Marah


Inhibitor of DNA binding/differentiation protein 4 (ID4) is a dominant negative regulator of basic helix loop helix (bHLH) family of transcription factors. ID4 shares the homology of HLH domain with other ID proteins (ID1, ID2, and ID3) and lack the basic DNA binding region. Evidence suggested that unlike ID1, ID2 and ID3, ID4 acts as a tumor suppressor in prostate cancer by attenuating cell proliferation and promoting apoptosis. Consistent with these observations ID4 is epigenetically silenced in DU145 prostate cancer cell line. In this study we investigated whether ID4 is also epigenetically silenced in prostate cancer. We also examined association between ID4 promoter hyper-methylation and its expression in prostate cancer cell lines. ID4 protein expression was analyzed in human prostate adenocarcinoma samples by Immunohistochemistry (IHC). ID4 promoter methylation pattern on prostate cancer cell lines was examined by methylation specific PCR. In addition, we performed methylation specific PCR on the human prostate tissues and genomic DNA to correlate cell line studies with clinical studies. IHC demonstrated decreased ID4 protein expression in human prostate tissue samples, whereas higher nuclear ID4 expression was found in normal prostate tissues. ID4 methylation specific PCR (MSP) on prostate cancer cell lines, showed ID4 methylation in DU145, but not in LNCaP and C33 cells. C81 and PC3 cells showed partial methylation. Increased ID4 methylation in C81 as compared to LNCaP suggests its epigenetic silencing as cells acquire androgen independence. Tumors with ID4 promoter hyper-methylation showed distinct loss of ID4 expression. However, the underlying mechanism involved in epigenetic silencing of ID4 is currently unknown. We hypothesized that ID4 promoter methylation is initiated by an EZH2 dependent tri-methylation of histone 3 at lysine 27 (H3K27Me3). ID4 expressing (LNCaP) and non-expressing (DU145 and C81) prostate cancer cell lines were used to investigate EZH2, H3K27Me3 and DNMT1 enrichment on ID4 promoter by Chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP). Increased enrichment of EZH2, H3K27Me3 and DNMT1 in DU145 and C81 cell lines was compared to ID4 expressing LNCaP cell line. Knockdown of EZH2 in DU145 cell line led to re-expression of ID4 and decrease in enrichment of EZH2, H3K27Me3 and DNMT1 demonstrating that ID4 is regulated in an EZH2 dependent manner. ChIP on prostate cancer tissue specimens and cell lines suggested EZH2 occupancy and H3K27Me3 marks on the ID4 promoter. Collectively, our data indicate a PRC2 dependent mechanism in ID4 promoter silencing in prostate cancer through recruitment of EZH2 and a corresponding increase in H3K27Me3. Increased EZH2, but decreased ID4 expression in prostate cancer strongly supports this model.