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(1/13935) Over-representation of a germline RET sequence variant in patients with sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma and somatic RET codon 918 mutation.

The aetiology of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma is unknown. About 50% harbour a somatic mutation at codon 918 of RET (M918T). To investigate whether other RET sequence variants may be associated with or predispose to the development of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma, we analysed genomic DNA from the germline and corresponding tumour from 50 patients to identify RET sequence variants. In one patient, tumour DNA showed a novel somatic 12 bp in-frame deletion in exon 15. More interestingly, we found that the rare polymorphism at codon 836 (c.2439C > T; S836S) occurred at a significantly higher frequency than that in control individuals without sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.03). Further, among the nine evaluable cases with germline c.2439C/T, eight also had the somatic M918T mutation in MTC DNA which was more frequent than in patients with the more common c.2439C/C (89% vs 40%, respectively; Fisher's exact test, P = 0.01). These findings suggest that the rare sequence variant at codon 836 may somehow play a role in the genesis of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma.  (+info)

(2/13935) Cooperative binding of heat shock factor to the yeast HSP82 promoter in vivo and in vitro.

Previous work has shown that heat shock factor (HSF) plays a central role in remodeling the chromatin structure of the yeast HSP82 promoter via constitutive interactions with its high-affinity binding site, heat shock element 1 (HSE1). The HSF-HSE1 interaction is also critical for stimulating both basal (noninduced) and induced transcription. By contrast, the function of the adjacent, inducibly occupied HSE2 and -3 is unknown. In this study, we examined the consequences of mutations in HSE1, HSE2, and HSE3 on HSF binding and transactivation. We provide evidence that in vivo, HSF binds to these three sites cooperatively. This cooperativity is seen both before and after heat shock, is required for full inducibility, and can be recapitulated in vitro on both linear and supercoiled templates. Quantitative in vitro footprinting reveals that occupancy of HSE2 and -3 by Saccharomyces cerevisiae HSF (ScHSF) is enhanced approximately 100-fold through cooperative interactions with the HSF-HSE1 complex. HSE1 point mutants, whose basal transcription is virtually abolished, are functionally compensated by cooperative interactions with HSE2 and -3 following heat shock, resulting in robust inducibility. Using a competition binding assay, we show that the affinity of recombinant HSF for the full-length HSP82 promoter is reduced nearly an order of magnitude by a single-point mutation within HSE1, paralleling the effect of these mutations on noninduced transcript levels. We propose that the remodeled chromatin phenotype previously shown for HSE1 point mutants (and lost in HSE1 deletion mutants) stems from the retention of productive, cooperative interactions between HSF and its target binding sites.  (+info)

(3/13935) The alphaE-catenin gene (CTNNA1) acts as an invasion-suppressor gene in human colon cancer cells.

The acquisition of invasiveness is a crucial step in the malignant progression of cancer. In cancers of the colon and of other organs the E-cadherin/catenin complex, which is implicated in homotypic cell-cell adhesion as well as in signal transduction, serves as a powerful inhibitor of invasion. We show here that one allele of the alphaE-catenin (CTNNA1) gene is mutated in the human colon cancer cell family HCT-8, which is identical to HCT-15, DLD-1 and HRT-18. Genetic instability, due to mutations in the HMSH6 (also called GTBP) mismatch repair gene, results in the spontaneous occurrence of invasive variants, all carrying either a mutation or exon skipping in the second alphaE-catenin allele. The alphaE-catenin gene is therefore, an invasion-suppressor gene in accordance with the two-hit model of Knudsen for tumour-suppressor genes.  (+info)

(4/13935) Correlation between the status of the p53 gene and survival in patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma.

The association of p53 abnormalities with the prognosis of patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) has been extensively investigated to date, however, this association is still controversial. Therefore, we investigated the prognostic significance of p53 mutations through exons 2 to 11 and p53 protein expression in 103 cases of stage I NSCLC. p53 mutations were detected in 49 of 103 (48%) tumors. Two separate mutations were detected in four tumors giving a total of 53 unique mutations in 49 tumors. Ten (19%) of mutations occurred outside exons 5-8. Positive immunohistochemical staining of p53 protein was detected in 41 of 103 (40%) tumors. The concordance rate between mutations and protein overexpression was only 69%. p53 mutations, but not expression, were significantly associated with a shortened survival of patients (P<0.001). Furthermore, we investigated the correlation between the types of p53 mutations and prognosis. p53 missense mutations rather than null mutations were associated with poor prognosis (P < 0.001 in missense mutations and P=0.243 in null mutations). These results indicated that p53 mutations, in particular missense mutations, rather than p53 expression could be a useful molecular marker for the prognosis of patients with surgically resected stage I NSCLC.  (+info)

(5/13935) p73 at chromosome 1p36.3 is lost in advanced stage neuroblastoma but its mutation is infrequent.

p73, a novel p53 family member, is a recently identified candidate neuroblastoma (NBL) suppressor gene mapped at chromosome 1p36.33 and was found to inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in cell lines. To test the hypothesis that p73 is a NBL suppressor gene, we analysed the p73 gene in primary human NBLs. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) for p73 was observed in 19% (28/151) of informative cases which included 92 mass-screening (MS) tumors. The high frequency of p73 LOH was significantly associated with sporadic NBLs (9% vs 34%, P<0.001), N-myc amplification (10% vs 71%, P<0.001), and advanced stage (14% vs 28%, P<0.05). Both p73alpha and p73beta transcripts were detectable in only 46 of 134 (34%) NBLs at low levels by RT-PCR methods, while they were easily detectable in most breast cancers and colorectal cancers under the same conditions. They found no correlation between p73 LOH and its expression levels (P>0.1). We found two mutations out of 140 NBLs, one somatic and one germline, which result in amino acid substitutions in the C-terminal region of p73 which may affect transactivation functions, though, in the same tumor samples, no mutation of the p53 gene was observed as reported previously. These results suggest that allelic loss of the p73 gene may be a later event in NBL tumorigenesis. However, p73 is infrequently mutated in primary NBLs and may hardly function as a tumor suppressor in a classic Knudson's manner.  (+info)

(6/13935) RNA binding by the novel helical domain of the influenza virus NS1 protein requires its dimer structure and a small number of specific basic amino acids.

The RNA-binding/dimerization domain of the NS1 protein of influenza A virus (73 amino acids in length) exhibits a novel dimeric six-helical fold. It is not known how this domain binds to its specific RNA targets, one of which is double-stranded RNA. To elucidate the mode of RNA binding, we introduced single alanine replacements into the NS1 RNA-binding domain at specific positions in the three-dimensional structure. Our results indicate that the dimer structure is essential for RNA binding, because any alanine replacement that causes disruption of the dimer also leads to the loss of RNA-binding activity. Surprisingly, the arginine side chain at position 38, which is in the second helix of each monomer, is the only amino-acid side chain that is absolutely required only for RNA binding and not for dimerization, indicating that this side chain probably interacts directly with the RNA target. This interaction is primarily electrostatic, because replacement of this arginine with lysine had no effect on RNA binding. A second basic amino acid, the lysine at position 41, which is also in helix 2, makes a strong contribution to the affinity of binding. We conclude that helix 2 and helix 2', which are antiparallel and next to each other in the dimer conformation, constitute the interaction face between the NS1 RNA-binding domain and its RNA targets, and that the arginine side chain at position 38 and possibly the lysine side chain at position 41 in each of these antiparallel helices contact the phosphate backbone of the RNA target.  (+info)

(7/13935) A concise promoter region of the heart fatty acid-binding protein gene dictates tissue-appropriate expression.

The heart fatty acid-binding protein (HFABP) is a member of a family of binding proteins with distinct tissue distributions and diverse roles in fatty acid metabolism, trafficking, and signaling. Other members of this family have been shown to possess concise promoter regions that direct appropriate tissue-specific expression. The basis for the specific expression of the HFABP has not been previously evaluated, and the mechanisms governing expression of metabolic genes in the heart are not completely understood. We used transient and permanent transfections in ventricular myocytes, skeletal myocytes, and nonmyocytic cells to map regulatory elements in the HFABP promoter, and audited results in transgenic mice. Appropriate tissue-specific expression in cell culture and in transgenic mice was dictated by 1.2 kb of the 5'-flanking sequence of FABP3, the HFABP gene. Comparison of orthologous murine and human genomic sequences demonstrated multiple regions of near-identity within this promoter region, including a CArG-like element close to the TATA box. Binding and transactivation studies demonstrated that this element can function as an atypical myocyte enhancer-binding factor 2 site. Interactions with adjacent sites are likely to be necessary for fully appropriate, tissue-specific, developmental and metabolic regulation.  (+info)

(8/13935) The DNA binding activity of Translin is mediated by a basic region in the ring-shaped structure conserved in evolution.

DNA binding proteins, for the most part, function as dimers or tetramers which recognize their target sequences. Here we show that Translin, a novel single-stranded DNA end binding protein, forms a ring-shaped structure conserved throughout evolution and that this structure is responsible for its DNA binding activity. Point mutations at Leu184 and Leu191 in the leucine zipper motif of human Translin resulted in loss of the multimeric structure and abrogation of DNA binding. Point mutations at R86, H88, H90 to T86, N88, N90 in one of the basic regions, however, completely inhibited the DNA binding activity without affecting the multimeric structure. These results support the view that the DNA binding domain of Translin is formed in the ring-shaped structure in combination with its basic region (amino acids 86-97) polypeptides.  (+info)