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Twist1 Promoter Methylation Regulates the Proliferation and Apoptosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells via PI3K/AKT Pathway.

Twist-related protein 1 (Twist1) is a widely recognized oncogene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and its promoter methylation is related with the progression of solid tumors. However, the association between Twist1 promoter methylation and AML has not been well studied. Twist1 mRNA expression was detected using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The protein levels of Twist1 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) signal were measured via western blotting. Methylation-specific PCR was performed to detect the methylation status of Twist1 promoter. CCK-8 assay and flow cytometry were used to reveal cellular biological effects. Twist1 expression and promoter methylation level were significantly upregulated in AML tissues and cell lines and were further downregulated in demethylating agent 5'-azacitidine (5-Aza)-treated cells. Ectopic expression of Twist1 increased AML cell viability, while reducing apoptosis, and attenuated the effects of 5-Aza on the proliferation and apoptosis. We also found that the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway was positively regulated by Twist1. Our findings revealed that Twist1 accelerates the tumorigenesis of AML cells by promoting its promoter methylation via the activation of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

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