BAP1 loss is associated with DNA methylomic repatterning in highly aggressive class 2 uveal melanomas

Matthew G. Field, Jeffim N. Kuznetsov, Parker L. Bussies, Louie Z. Cai, Karam A. Alawa, Christina L. Decatur, Stefan Kurtenbach, J. William Harbour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: The strong association between BAP1 mutations and metastasizing Class 2 uveal melanoma (UM) suggests that epigenetic alterations may play a significant role in tumor progression. Thus, we characterized the impact of BAP1 loss on the DNA methylome in UM. Experimental Design: Global DNA methylation was analyzed in 47 Class 1 and 45 Class 2 primaryUMsand inUMcells engineered to inducibly deplete BAP1. RNA-Seq was analyzed in 80 UM samples and engineered UM cells. Results: Hypermethylation on chromosome 3 correlated with downregulated gene expression at several loci, including 3p21, where BAP1 is located. Gene set analysis of hypermethylated and downregulated genes identified axon guidance and melanogenesis as deregulated pathways, with several of these genes located on chromosome 3. A novel hypermethylated site within the BAP1 locus was found in all Class 2 tumors, suggesting that BAP1 itself is epigenetically regulated. Highly differentially methylated probes were orthogonally validated using bisulfite sequencing, and they successfully distinguished Class 1 and Class 2 tumors in 100% of cases. In functional validation experiments, BAP1 knockdown inUMcells induced methylomic repatterning similar to UM tumors, enriched for genes involved in axon guidance, melanogenesis, and development. Conclusions: This study, coupled with previous work, suggests that the initial event in the divergence of Class 2 UM from Class 1 UM is loss of one copy of chromosome 3, followed by mutation of BAP1 on the remaining copy of chromosome 3, leading to the methylomic repatterning profile characteristic of Class 2 UMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5663-5673
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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