A serine/threonine kinase gene defective in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
Hemminki A. Markie D. Tomlinson I. Avizienyte E. Roth S. Loukola A. Bignell G. Warren W. Aminoff M. Hoglund P. Jarvinen H. Kristo P. Pelin K. Ridanpaa M. Salovaara R. Toro T. Bodmer W. Olschwang S. Olsen AS. Stratton MR. de la Chapelle A. Aaltonen LA.
Department of Medical Genetics, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Studies of hereditary cancer syndromes have contributed greatly to our understanding of molecular events involved in tumorigenesis. Here we investigate the molecular background of the Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS), a rare hereditary disease in which there is predisposition to benign and malignant tumours of many organ systems. A locus for this condition was recently assigned to chromosome 19p. We have identified truncating germline mutations in a gene residing on chromosome 19p in multiple individuals affected by PJS. This previously identified but unmapped gene, LKB1, has strong homology to a cytoplasmic Xenopus serine/threonine protein kinase XEEK1, and weaker similarity to many other protein kinases. Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is therefore the first cancer-susceptibility syndrome to be identified that is due to inactivating mutations in a protein kinase.
A causal role for E-cadherin in the transition from adenoma to carcinoma.
Perl AK. Wilgenbus P. Dahl U. Semb H. Christofori G.
Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria.
Development of malignant tumours is in part characterized by the ability of a tumour cell to overcome cell-cell adhesion and to invade surrounding tissue. E-cadherin is the main adhesion molecule of epithelia, and it has been implicated in carcinogenesis because it is frequently lost in human epithelial cancers. Re-establishing the functional cadherin complex in tumour cell lines results in a reversion from an invasive to a benign epithelial phenotype. However, it remained unresolved whether the loss of E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion was a cause or a consequence of tumour progression in vivo. Here we report that the loss of E-cadherin expression coincides with the transition from well differentiated adenoma to invasive carcinoma in a transgenic mouse model of pancreatic beta-cell carcinogenesis (Rip1Tag2). Intercrossing Rip1Tag2 mice with transgenic mice that maintain E-cadherin expression in beta-tumour cells results in arrest of tumour development at the adenoma stage, whereas expression of a dominant-negative form of E-cadherin induces early invasion and metastasis. The results demonstrate that loss of E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion is one rate-limiting step in the progression from adenoma to carcinoma.
Mutations of mitotic checkpoint genes in human cancers.
Cahill DP. Lengauer C. Yu J. Riggins GJ. Willson JK. Markowitz SD. Kinzler KW. Vogelstein B.
The Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Program in Human Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.
Genetic instability was one of the first characteristics to be postulated to underlie neoplasia. Such genetic instability occurs in two different forms. In a small fraction of colorectal and some other cancers, defective repair of mismatched bases results in an increased mutation rate at the nucleotide level and consequent widespread microsatellite instability. In most colorectal cancers, and probably in many other cancer types, a chromosomal instability (CIN) leading to an abnormal chromosome number (aneuploidy) is observed. The physiological and molecular bases of this pervasive abnormality are unknown. Here we show that CIN is consistently associated with the loss of function of a mitotic checkpoint. Moreover, in some cancers displaying CIN the loss of this checkpoint was associated with the mutational inactivation of a human homologue of the yeast BUB1 gene; BUB1 controls mitotic checkpoints and chromosome segregation in yeast. The normal mitotic checkpoints of cells displaying microsatellite instability become defective upon transfer of mutant hBUB1 alleles from either of two CIN cancers.
E-cadherin germline mutations in familial gastric cancer.
Guilford P. Hopkins J. Harraway J. McLeod M. McLeod N. Harawira P. Taite H. Scoular R. Miller A. Reeve AE.
Cancer Genetics Laboratory, Biochemistry Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand. firstname.lastname@example.org
The identification of genes predisposing to familial cancer is an essential step towards understanding the molecular events underlying tumorigenesis and is critical for the clinical management of affected families. Despite a declining incidence, gastric cancer remains a major cause of cancer death worldwide, and about 10% of cases show familial clustering. The relative contributions of inherited susceptibility and environmental effects to familial gastric cancer are poorly understood because little is known of the genetic events that predispose to gastric cancer. Here we describe the identification of the gene responsible for early-onset, histologically poorly differentiated, high grade, diffuse gastric cancer in a large kindred from New Zealand (Aotearoa). Genetic linkage analysis demonstrated significant linkage to markers flanking the gene for the calcium-dependent cell-adhesion protein E-cadherin. Sequencing of the E-cadherin gene revealed a G --> T nucleotide substitution in the donor splice consensus sequence of exon 7, leading to a truncated gene product. Diminished E-cadherin expression is associated with aggressive, poorly differentiated carcinomas. Underexpression of E-cadherin is a prognostic marker of poor clinical outcome in many tumour types, and restored expression of E-cadherin in tumour models can suppress the invasiveness of epithelial tumour cells. The role of E-cadherin in gastric cancer susceptibility was confirmed by identifying inactivating mutations in other gastric cancer families. In one family, a frameshift mutation was identified in exon 15, and in a second family a premature stop codon interrupted exon 13. These results describe, to our knowledge for the first time, a molecular basis for familial gastric cancer, and confirm the important role of E-cadherin mutations in cancer.