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Epigenetic heterogeneity is emerging as a feature of tumors. In diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), increased cytosine methylation heterogeneity is associated with poor clinical outcome, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA), an enzyme that mediates affinity maturation and facilitates DNA demethylation in germinal center (GC) B cells, is required for DLBCL pathogenesis and linked to inferior outcome. Here we show that AICDA overexpression causes more aggressive disease in BCL2-driven murine lymphomas. This phenotype is associated with increased cytosine methylation heterogeneity, but not with increased AICDA-mediated somatic mutation burden. Reciprocally, the cytosine methylation heterogeneity characteristic of normal GC B cells is lost upon AICDA depletion. These observations are relevant to human patients, since DLBCLs with high AICDA expression manifest increased methylation heterogeneity vs. AICDA-low DLBCLs. Our results identify AICDA as a driver of epigenetic heterogeneity in B-cell lymphomas with potential significance for other tumors with aberrant expression of cytidine deaminases.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41467-017-02595-w

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature Communications

Publication Date

01/12/2018

Volume

9