Gene Summary

Gene:AIM2; absent in melanoma 2
Aliases: PYHIN4
Summary: AIM2 is a member of the IFI20X /IFI16 family. It plays a putative role in tumorigenic reversion and may control cell proliferation. Interferon-gamma induces expression of AIM2. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:interferon-inducible protein AIM2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 28 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 28 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AIM2 (cancer-related)

van Keimpema M, Grüneberg LJ, Mokry M, et al.
FOXP1 directly represses transcription of proapoptotic genes and cooperates with NF-κB to promote survival of human B cells.
Blood. 2014; 124(23):3431-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The forkhead transcription factor FOXP1 is involved in B-cell development and function and is generally regarded as an oncogene in activated B-cell-like subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, lymphomas relying on constitutive nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activity for survival. However, the mechanism underlying its putative oncogenic activity has not been established. By gene expression microarray, upon overexpression or silencing of FOXP1 in primary human B cells and DLBCL cell lines, combined with chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next-generation sequencing, we established that FOXP1 directly represses a set of 7 proapoptotic genes. Low expression of these genes, encoding the BH3-only proteins BIK and Harakiri, the p53-regulatory proteins TP63, RASSF6, and TP53INP1, and AIM2 and EAF2, is associated with poor survival in DLBCL patients. In line with these findings, we demonstrated that FOXP1 promotes the expansion of primary mature human B cells by inhibiting caspase-dependent apoptosis, without affecting B-cell proliferation. Furthermore, FOXP1 is dependent upon, and cooperates with, NF-κB signaling to promote B-cell expansion and survival. Taken together, our data indicate that, through direct repression of proapoptotic genes, (aberrant) expression of FOXP1 complements (constitutive) NF-κB activity to promote B-cell survival and can thereby contribute to B-cell homeostasis and lymphomagenesis.

Ponomareva L, Liu H, Duan X, et al.
AIM2, an IFN-inducible cytosolic DNA sensor, in the development of benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2013; 11(10):1193-202 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Close links have been noted between chronic inflammation of the prostate and the development of human prostatic diseases such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to prostatic inflammation remain largely unexplored. Recent studies have indicated that the IFN-inducible AIM2 protein is a cytosolic DNA sensor in macrophages and keratinocytes. Upon sensing DNA, AIM2 recruits the adaptor ASC and pro-CASP1 to assemble the AIM2 inflammasome. Activation of the AIM2 inflammasome cleaves pro-interleukin (IL)-1β and pro-IL-18 and promotes the secretion of IL-1β and IL-18 proinflammatory cytokines. Given that human prostatic infections are associated with chronic inflammation, the development of BPH is associated with an accumulation of senescent cells with a proinflammatory phenotype, and the development of prostate cancer is associated with the loss of IFN signaling, the role of AIM2 in mediating the formation of prostatic diseases was investigated. It was determined that IFNs (α, β, or γ) induced AIM2 expression in human prostate epithelial cells and cytosolic DNA activated the AIM2 inflammasome. Steady-state levels of the AIM2 mRNA were higher in BPH than in normal prostate tissue. However, the levels of AIM2 mRNA were significantly lower in clinical tumor specimens. Accordingly, constitutive levels of AIM2 mRNA and protein were lower in a subset of prostate cancer cells as compared with BPH cells. Further, the cytosolic DNA activated the AIM2 inflammasome in the androgen receptor-negative PC3 prostate cancer cell line, suggesting that AIM2-mediated events are independent of androgen receptor status.
IMPLICATIONS: The AIM2 inflammasome has a fundamental role in the generation of human prostatic diseases.

Sahingur SE, Xia XJ, Voth SC, et al.
Increased nucleic Acid receptor expression in chronic periodontitis.
J Periodontol. 2013; 84(10):e48-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nucleic acid sensing has emerged as one of the important components of the immune system triggering inflammation. The aim of this study is to determine the expression of bacterial DNA sensors, including Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9), DNA-dependent activator of interferon-regulatory factors (DAI), and absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) in chronic periodontitis (CP versus healthy) (H) tissues.
METHODS: Thirty-five CP and 27 H gingival biopsies were included. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to determine mRNA levels of AIM2, DAI, and TLRs (TLR-1 through TLR-9). The difference in gene expression for each sensor between CP and H tissues was calculated using analysis of covariance. The Spearman test was used to determine correlations among innate receptors. The expression of TLR-9, AIM2, and DAI in gingival tissues was further confirmed using immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: The present results reveal statistically significant upregulation of TLR-9 (P <0.006), DAI (P <0.001), and TLR-8 (P <0.01) in CP tissues compared to H sites. Although mRNA expression was not changed significantly between groups for other receptors, the present results reveal significant correlations between receptors (P <0.05), suggesting that cooperation between multiple components of the host immune system may influence the overall response. Immunohistochemistry further confirmed expression of TLR-9, AIM2, and DAI in gingival tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights a possible role for nucleic acid receptors in periodontal inflammation. Future investigations will determine whether cytoplasmic receptors and their ligands can be targeted to improve clinical outcomes in periodontitis.

Yamazaki J, Taby R, Vasanthakumar A, et al.
Effects of TET2 mutations on DNA methylation in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.
Epigenetics. 2012; 7(2):201-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TET2 enzymatically converts 5-methyl-cytosine to 5-hydroxymethyl-cytosine, possibly leading to loss of DNA methylation. TET2 mutations are common in myeloid leukemia and were proposed to contribute to leukemogenesis through DNA methylation. To expand on this concept, we studied chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) samples. TET2 missense or nonsense mutations were detected in 53% (16/30) of patients. In contrast, only 1/30 patient had a mutation in IDH1 or IDH2, and none of them had a mutation in DNMT3A in the sites most frequently mutated in leukemia. Using bisulfite pyrosequencing, global methylation measured by the LINE-1 assay and DNA methylation levels of 10 promoter CpG islands frequently abnormal in myeloid leukemia were not different between TET2 mutants and wild-type CMML cases. This was also true for 9 out of 11 gene promoters reported by others as differentially methylated by TET2 mutations. We found that two non-CpG island promoters, AIM2 and SP140, were hypermethylated in patients with mutant TET2. These were the only two gene promoters (out of 14,475 genes) previously found to be hypermethylated in TET2 mutant cases. However, total 5-methyl-cytosine levels in TET2 mutant cases were significantly higher than TET2 wild-type cases (median = 14.0% and 9.8%, respectively) (p = 0.016). Thus, TET2 mutations affect global methylation in CMML but most of the changes are likely to be outside gene promoters.

Kondo Y, Nagai K, Nakahata S, et al.
Overexpression of the DNA sensor proteins, absent in melanoma 2 and interferon-inducible 16, contributes to tumorigenesis of oral squamous cell carcinoma with p53 inactivation.
Cancer Sci. 2012; 103(4):782-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a multistep process that requires the accumulation of genetic alterations. To identify genes responsible for OSCC development, we performed high-density single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis and genome-wide gene expression profiling on OSCC tumors. These analyses indicated that the absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) gene and the interferon-inducible gene 16 (IFI16) mapped to the hematopoietic interferon-inducible nuclear proteins. The 200-amino-acid repeat gene cluster in the amplified region of chromosome 1q23 is overexpressed in OSCC. Both AIM2 and IFI16 are cytoplasmic double-stranded DNA sensors for innate immunity and act as tumor suppressors in several human cancers. Knockdown of AIM2 or IFI16 in OSCC cells results in the suppression of cell growth and apoptosis, accompanied by the downregulation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells activation. Because all OSCC cell lines have reduced p53 activity, wild-type p53 was introduced in p53-deficient OSCC cells. The expression of wild-type p53 suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis via suppression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells activity. Finally, the co-expression of AIM2 and IFI16 significantly enhanced cell growth in p53-deficient cells; in contrast, the expression of AIM2 and/or IFI16 in cells bearing wild-type p53 suppressed cell growth. Moreover, AIM2 and IFI16 synergistically enhanced nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells signaling in p53-deficient cells. Thus, expression of AIM2 and IFI16 may have oncogenic activities in the OSCC cells that have inactivated the p53 system.

Rahman MM, McFadden G
Myxoma virus lacking the pyrin-like protein M013 is sensed in human myeloid cells by both NLRP3 and multiple Toll-like receptors, which independently activate the inflammasome and NF-κB innate response pathways.
J Virol. 2011; 85(23):12505-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The myxoma virus (MYXV)-encoded pyrin domain-containing protein M013 coregulates inflammatory responses mediated by both the inflammasome and the NF-κB pathways. Infection of human THP-1 monocytic cells with a MYXV construct deleted for the M013 gene (vMyxM013-KO), but not the parental MYXV, activates both the inflammasome and NF-κB pathways and induces a spectrum of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, like interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-6, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1. Here, we report that vMyxM013-KO virus-mediated activation of inflammasomes and secretion of IL-1β are dependent on the adaptor protein ASC, caspase-1, and NLRP3 receptor. However, vMyxM013-KO virus-mediated activation of NF-κB signaling, which induces TNF secretion, was independent of ASC, caspase-1, and either the NLRP3 or AIM2 inflammasome receptors. We also report that early synthesis of pro-IL-1β in response to vMyxM013-KO infection is dependent upon the components of the inflammasome complex. Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and secretion of IL-1β was also dependent on the release of cathepsin B and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). By using small interfering RNA screening, we further demonstrated that, among the RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) and Toll-like receptors (TLRs), only TLR2, TLR6, TLR7, and TLR9 contribute to the NF-κB-dependent secretion of TNF and the inflammasome-dependent secretion of IL-1β in response to vMyxM013-KO virus infection. Additionally, we demonstrate that early triggering of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway by vMyxM013-KO virus infection of THP-1 cells plays a critical common upstream role in the coordinate induction of both NF-κB and inflammasome pathways. We conclude that an additional cellular sensor(s)/receptor(s) in addition to the known RLRs/TLRs plays a role in the M013 knockout virus-induced activation of NF-κB pathway signaling, but the activation of inflammasomes entirely depends on sensing by the NLRP3 receptor in response to vMyxM013-KO infection of human myeloid cells.

Lee J, Li L, Gretz N, et al.
Absent in Melanoma 2 (AIM2) is an important mediator of interferon-dependent and -independent HLA-DRA and HLA-DRB gene expression in colorectal cancers.
Oncogene. 2012; 31(10):1242-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Absent in Melanoma 2 (AIM2) is a member of the HIN-200 family of hematopoietic, IFN-inducible, nuclear proteins, associated with both, infection defense and tumor pathology. Recently, AIM2 was found to act as a DNA sensor in innate immunity. In addition, we and others have previously demonstrated a high frequency of AIM2-alterations in microsatellite unstable (MSI-H) tumors. To further elucidate AIM2 function in colorectal tumors, we here addressed AIM2-responsive target genes by microarray based gene expression profiling of 22 244 human genes. A total of 111 transcripts were significantly upregulated, whereas 80 transcripts turned out to be significantly downregulated in HCT116 cells, constitutively expressing AIM2, compared with AIM2-negative cells. Among the upregulated genes that were validated by quantitative PCR and western blotting we recognized several interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs: IFIT1, IFIT2, IFIT3, IFI6, IRF7, ISG15, HLA-DRA, HLA-DRB, TLR3 and CIITA), as well as genes involved in intercellular adhesion and matrix remodeling. Expression of ISGs correlated with expression of AIM2 in 10 different IFN-γ treated colorectal cancer cell lines. Moreover, small interfering RNA-mediated knock-down of AIM2 resulted in reduced expression of HLA-DRA, HLA-DRB and CIITA in IFN-γ-treated cells. IFN-γ independent induction of HLA-DR genes and their encoded proteins was also demonstrated upon doxycyclin-regulated transient induction of AIM2. Luciferase reporter assays revealed induction of the HLA-DR promoter upon AIM2 transfection in different cell lines. STAT-signaling was not involved in IFN-γ independent induction of ISGs, arguing against participation of cytokines released in an autostimulating manner. Our data indicate that AIM2 mediates both IFN-γ dependent and independent induction of several ISGs, including genes encoding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigens HLA-DR-α and -β. This suggests a novel role of the IFN/AIM2/ISG cascade likewise in cancer cells.

Reuschenbach M, Kloor M, Morak M, et al.
Serum antibodies against frameshift peptides in microsatellite unstable colorectal cancer patients with Lynch syndrome.
Fam Cancer. 2010; 9(2):173-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High level microsatellite instability (MSI-H) occurs in about 15% of colorectal cancer (CRCs), either as sporadic cancers or in the context of hereditary non-polyposis cancer or Lynch syndrome. In MSI-H CRC, mismatch repair deficiency leads to insertion/deletion mutations at coding microsatellites and thus to the translation of frameshift peptides (FSPs). FSPs are potent inductors of T cell responses in vitro and in vivo. The present study aims at the identification of FSP-specific humoral immune responses in MSI-H CRC and Lynch syndrome. Sera from patients with history of MSI-H CRC (n = 69), healthy Lynch syndrome mutation carriers (n = 31) and healthy controls (n = 52) were analyzed for antibodies against FSPs using peptide ELISA. Reactivities were measured against FSPs derived from genes frequently mutated in MSI-H CRCs, AIM2, TGFBR2, CASP5, TAF1B, ZNF294, and MARCKS. Antibody reactivity against FSPs was significantly higher in MSI-H CRC patients than in healthy controls (P = 0.036, Mann-Whitney) and highest in patients with shortest interval between tumor resection and serum sampling. Humoral immune responses in patients were most frequently directed against FSPs derived from mutated TAF1B (11.6%, 8/69) and TGFBR2 (10.1%, 7/69). Low level FSP-specific antibodies were also detected in healthy mutation carriers. Our results show that antibody responses against FSPs are detectable in MSI-H CRC patients and healthy Lynch syndrome mutation carriers. Based on the high number of defined FSP antigens, measuring FSP-specific humoral immune responses is a highly promising tool for future diagnostic application in MSI-H cancer patients.

Michel S, Kloor M, Singh S, et al.
Coding microsatellite instability analysis in microsatellite unstable small intestinal adenocarcinomas identifies MARCKS as a common target of inactivation.
Mol Carcinog. 2010; 49(2):175-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Approximately 15% of small intestinal adenocarcinomas show inactivation of DNA-mismatch repair (MMR) and display high-level microsatellite instability (MSI-H). MSI-H tumors progress as a result of mutations affecting coding microsatellites (coding microsatellite instability, cMSI) that may result in a functional inactivation of the encoded proteins and provide a selective growth advantage for the affected cell. To investigate the cMSI selection in small intestinal carcinogenesis 56 adenocarcinomas were tested for MSI. Eleven MSI-H carcinomas (19.6%) were identified and subjected to cMSI analysis in 24 potentially tumor relevant genes. Mutation frequencies were similar to those observed in colorectal cancer (CRC). Beside high frequencies of cMSI in TGFbetaR2, ACVR2, and AIM2 we detected MARCKS mutations in 10 out of 11 (91%) tumors with a 30% share of biallelic mutations. Since little is known about MARCKS expression in the intestine, we analyzed MARCKS protein expression in 31 carcinomas. In non-neoplastic mucosa, MARCKS was found to be expressed with a concentration gradient along the crypt-villus axis. In line with cMSI induced functional inactivation of MARCKS, 8 out of 11 MSI-H adenocarcinomas showed regional or complete loss of the protein. In microsatellite stable (MSS) small bowel adenocarcinoma, loss of MARCKS expression was seen in 2 out of 20 tumors (10%). In conclusion, we herein present a cMSI profile of MSI-H small intestinal adenocarcinomas identifying MARCKS as a frequent target of mutation. Loss of MARCKS protein expression suggests a significant role of MARCKS inactivation in the pathogenesis of small intestinal adenocarcinomas.

Patsos G, Germann A, Gebert J, Dihlmann S
Restoration of absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and promotes invasion of colorectal cancer cells.
Int J Cancer. 2010; 126(8):1838-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
Absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) is a member of the interferon-inducible HIN-200 protein family. Recent findings point to a role of AIM2 function in both inflammation and cancer. In response to foreign cytoplasmic DNA, AIM2 forms an inflammasome, resulting in caspase activation in inflammatory cells. Moreover, AIM2 reduces breast cancer cell proliferation and mammary tumor growth in a mouse model and shows a high frequency of frameshift mutations in microsatellite unstable (MSI-H) gastric, endometrial and colorectal cancers. However, the consequences of AIM2 restoration in AIM2-deficient colon cancer cells have not yet been examined. Using different constructs for expression of AIM2 fusion proteins, we found that AIM2 restoration clearly suppressed cell proliferation and viability in HCT116 cells as well as in cell lines derived from other entities. In contrast to previous reports from breast cancer cells, our cell cycle analyses of colon cancer cells revealed that AIM2-mediated inhibition of cell proliferation is associated with accumulation of cells at late S-phase, resulting in G2/M arrest. The latter correlated well with upregulation of cyclin D3 and p21(Waf1/Cip1) as well as with inhibition of cdc2 activity through Tyr-15 phosphorylation. Furthermore, AIM2 restoration affected the adhesion of colorectal cancer cells to fibronectin and stimulated the invasion through extracellular matrix-coated membrane in transwell assays. Consistent with this phenotype, AIM2 induced the expression of invasion-associated genes such as VIM and MCAM, whereas ANXA10 and CDH1 were downregulated. Our data suggest that AIM2 mediates reduction of cell proliferation by cell cycle arrest, thereby conferring an invasive phenotype in colon cancer cells.

Patsos G, André S, Roeckel N, et al.
Compensation of loss of protein function in microsatellite-unstable colon cancer cells (HCT116): a gene-dependent effect on the cell surface glycan profile.
Glycobiology. 2009; 19(7):726-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumors that display a high level of microsatellite instability (MSI-H) accumulate somatic frameshift mutations in several genes. The compensation of this loss of function by transfection represents a suitable approach to tie respective gene deficiency to alterations in cellular characteristics. In view of the emerging significance of cell surface glycans as biochemical signals for presentation/activity of various receptors/integrins and for susceptibility to adhesion/growth-regulatory tissue lectins, we examined the glycophenotype in the MSI-H colon cancer cell line HCT116 for activin type 2 receptor (ACVR2), absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), and transforming growth factor beta-type 2 receptor (TGFBR2) known to be associated with MSI colorectal carcinogenesis. A panel of probes specific for functional carbohydrate epitopes including human lectins was used to trace changes in cell surface levels, thereby initiating glycan analysis related to MSI. In particular, the presence of core substitutions and branching in N-glycans, the sialylation status of N- and O-glycans, and the presence of Le(a/x)-epitopes were profiled. Transient transfection affected the glycophenotype, depending on the nature of the gene and the probe. The TGFBR2 presence reduced binding of probes specific for a core substitution and increased branch length in N-glycosylation, even reaching a P-value of 0.0016. ACVR2/AIM2 influenced core 1 mucin-type O-glycosylation differentially, upregulation by ACVR2, and downregulation by AIM2. These alterations of cell surface glycosylation by gene products that are not directly associated with the machinery for glycan generation direct attention to pursue analysis of glycosylation in MSI tumor cells on the level of target glycoproteins and open the way for functional studies.

Choubey D, Deka R, Ho SM
Interferon-inducible IFI16 protein in human cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Front Biosci. 2008; 13:598-608 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interferon-inducible IFI16 protein (encoded by IFI16 gene located at 1q21 region) is a member of the p200-protein family. The family includes structurally and functionally-related mouse (for example, p202, p203, and p204 proteins) and human (for example, MNDA, AIM2, and IFIX) proteins. Increased expression of p200-family proteins in a variety of cells is known to inhibit cell cycle progression and modulate cell survival. Consistent with this role of p200-family proteins, increased expression of IFI16 protein in normal human diploid fibroblasts and prostate epithelial cells is associated with cellular senescence-associated permanent cell growth arrest. Furthermore, reduced or loss of IFI16 expression in cells is associated with the development of certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. Interestingly, recent studies have provided evidence that the constitutive and interferon-induced expression of the IFI16 gene varies among individuals and may depend on the race. These studies raise the possibility that alterations (increases or decreases) in the expression of IFI16 protein may contribute to the development of human diseases. In this review, we discuss how our understanding of the regulation of IFI16 expression and its role in cell growth regulation will help elucidate the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the development of various human diseases.

Woerner SM, Kloor M, Schwitalle Y, et al.
The putative tumor suppressor AIM2 is frequently affected by different genetic alterations in microsatellite unstable colon cancers.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2007; 46(12):1080-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency is a major mechanism of colorectal tumorigenesis that is observed in 10-15% of sporadic colorectal cancers and those associated with the hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) syndrome. MMR deficiency leads to the accumulation of mutations mainly at short repetitive sequences termed microsatellites, constituting the high level microsatellite instability (MSI-H) phenotype. In recent years, several genes have been described that harbor microsatellites in their coding region (coding microsatellites, cMS) and are frequently affected by mutations in MMR-deficient cancers. However, evidence for a functional role of most of the known cMS-containing genes is missing, and further analyses are needed for a better understanding of MSI tumorigenesis. Here, we examined in detail alterations of the absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) gene that shows a high frequency of cMS frameshift mutations in MSI-H colorectal, gastric, and endometrial tumors. AIM2 belongs to the HIN-200 family of interferon (IFN)-inducible proteins, its role in colon carcinogenesis, however, is unknown. Sequencing of the entire coding region of AIM2 revealed a high frequency of frameshift and missense mutations in primary MSI-H colon cancers (9/20) and cell lines (9/15). Biallelic AIM2 alterations were detected in 8 MSI-H colon tumors and cell lines. In addition, AIM2 promoter hypermethylation conferred insensitivity to IFN-gamma-induced AIM2 expression of three MSI-H colon cancer cell lines. These results demonstrate that inactivation of AIM2 by genetic and epigenetic mechanisms is frequent in MMR-deficient colorectal cancers, thus suggesting that AIM2 is a mutational target relevant for the progression of MSI-H colorectal cancers.

Narayan G, Bourdon V, Chaganti S, et al.
Gene dosage alterations revealed by cDNA microarray analysis in cervical cancer: identification of candidate amplified and overexpressed genes.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2007; 46(4):373-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cervical cancer (CC) cells exhibit complex karyotypic alterations, which is consistent with deregulation of numerous critical genes in its formation and progression. To characterize this karyotypic complexity at the molecular level, we used cDNA array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) to analyze 29 CC cases and identified a number of over represented and deleted genes. The aCGH analysis revealed at least 17 recurrent amplicons and six common regions of deletions. These regions contain several known tumor-associated genes, such as those involved in transcription, apoptosis, cytoskeletal remodeling, ion-transport, drug metabolism, and immune response. Using the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) approach we demonstrated the presence of high-level amplifications at the 8q24.3, 11q22.2, and 20q13 regions in CC cell lines. To identify amplification-associated genes that correspond to focal amplicons, we examined one or more genes in each of the 17 amplicons by Affymetrix U133A expression arrays and semiquantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) in 31 CC tumors. This analysis exhibited frequent and robust upregulated expression in CC relative to normal cervix for genes EPHB2 (1p36), CDCA8 (1p34.3), AIM2 (1q22-23), RFC4, MUC4, and HRASLS (3q27-29), SKP2 (5p12-13), CENTD3 (5q31.3), PTK2, RECQL4 (8q24), MMP1 and MMP13 (11q22.2), AKT1 (14q32.3), ABCC3 (17q21-22), SMARCA4 (19p13.3) LIG1 (19q13.3), UBE2C (20q13.1), SMC1L1 (Xp11), KIF4A (Xq12), TMSNB (Xq22), and CSAG2 (Xq28). Thus, the gene dosage and expression profiles generated here have enabled the identification of focal amplicons characteristic for the CC genome and facilitated the validation of relevant genes in these amplicons. These data, thus, form an important step toward the identification of biologically relevant genes in CC pathogenesis. This article contains Supplementary Material available at

Chen IF, Ou-Yang F, Hung JY, et al.
AIM2 suppresses human breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro and mammary tumor growth in a mouse model.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2006; 5(1):1-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
IFN-inducible proteins are known to mediate IFN-directed antitumor effects. The human IFN-inducible protein absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) gene encodes a 39-kDa protein, which contains a 200-amino-acid repeat as a signature of HIN-200 family (hematopoietic IFN-inducible nuclear proteins). Although AIM2 is known to inhibit fibroblast cell growth in vitro, its antitumor activity has not been shown. Here, we showed that AIM2 expression suppressed the proliferation and tumorigenicity of human breast cancer cells, and that AIM2 gene therapy inhibited mammary tumor growth in an orthotopic tumor model. We further showed that AIM2 significantly increased sub-G(1) phase cell population, indicating that AIM2 could induce tumor cell apoptosis. Moreover, AIM2 expression greatly suppressed nuclear factor-kappaB transcriptional activity and desensitized tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated nuclear factor-kappaB activation. Together, these results suggest that AIM2 associates with tumor suppression activity and may serve as a potential therapeutic gene for future development of AIM2-based gene therapy for human breast cancer.

Harada M, Li YF, El-Gamil M, et al.
Melanoma-Reactive CD8+ T cells recognize a novel tumor antigen expressed in a wide variety of tumor types.
J Immunother. 2001 Jul-Aug; 24(4):323-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
An autologous melanoma cell line selected for loss of expression of the immunodominant MART-1 and gp100 antigens was initially used to carry out a mixed lymphocyte tumor culture (MLTC) in a patient who expressed the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-AI and HLA-A2 class I major histocompatibility complex alleles. Ten clones identified from this MLTC seemed to recognize melanoma in an HLA-A1-restricted manner but failed to recognize a panel of previously described melanoma antigens. The screening of an autologous melanoma cDNA library with one HLA-Al-restricted melanoma-reactive T-cell clone resulted in the isolation of a cDNA clone called AIM-2 (antigen isolated from immunoselected melanoma-2). The AIM-2 transcript seemed to have retained an intronic sequence based on its alignment with genomic sequences as well as expressed sequence tags. This transcript was not readily detected after Northern blot analysis of melanoma mRNA, indicating that only low levels of this product may be expressed in tumor cells. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, however, demonstrated a correlation between T-cell recognition and expression in HLA-A1-expressing tumor cell lines. A peptide that was encoded within a short open reading frame of 23 amino acids and conformed to the HLA-A1 binding motif RSDSGQQARY was found to represent the T-cell epitope. The AIM-2-reactive T-cell clone recognized a number of neuroectodermal tumors as well as breast, ovarian, and colon carcinomas that expressed HLA-A1, indicating that this represents a widely expressed tumor antigen. Thus, AIM-2 may represent a potential target for the development of vaccines in patients bearing tumors of a variety of histologies.

Choubey D, Walter S, Geng Y, Xin H
Cytoplasmic localization of the interferon-inducible protein that is encoded by the AIM2 (absent in melanoma) gene from the 200-gene family.
FEBS Lett. 2000; 474(1):38-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
While interferons (IFNs) (alpha, beta and gamma), a family of cytokines, have the ability to exert the growth-inhibitory effect on target cells, the molecular mechanism(s) by which IFNs inhibit cell growth remains to be identified. Because IFN-inducible 'effector' proteins mediate the biological activities of IFNs, characterization of IFN-inducible proteins is critical to identify their functional role in IFN action. One family (the 200-family) of IFN-inducible proteins is encoded by structurally related murine (Ifi202a, Ifi202b, Ifi203, Ifi204 and D3) and human (IFI16, MNDA and AIM2) genes. The proteins encoded by genes in the family share a unique repeat of 200-amino acids and are primarily nuclear. The AIM2 gene is a newly identified gene that is not expressed in a human melanoma cell line. Here we report that AIM2 is estimated to be a 39 kDa protein and, unlike other proteins in the family, is localized primarily in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, overexpression of AIM2 in transfected cells retards proliferation and, under reduced serum conditions, increases the susceptibility to cell death. Moreover, AIM2 can heterodimerize with p202 in vitro. Together, these observations provide support to the idea that AIM2 may be an important mediator of IFN action.

DeYoung KL, Ray ME, Su YA, et al.
Cloning a novel member of the human interferon-inducible gene family associated with control of tumorigenicity in a model of human melanoma.
Oncogene. 1997; 15(4):453-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosome 6-mediated suppression of tumorigenicity in malignant melanoma cell lines provides a model system to identify genes associated with the reversion of the tumorigenic phenotype. Using subtractive cDNA selection, we recently identified a series of novel genes which are differentially expressed in association with chromosome 6-mediated suppression. We now report the molecular characterization of a novel gene termed AIM2 for (Absent In Melanoma), which represents a 1485 bp cDNA. An open reading frame of 1032 base pairs, corresponding to 344 amino acid residues, is predicted. The predicted protein shares a conserved sequence domain of approximately 200 amino acids with known interferon-inducible genes of both human and mouse. We demonstrate that the AIM2 gene encodes a transcript of approximately 2 kb which is expressed in spleen, small intestine, and peripheral blood leukocytes. In addition, we have localized AIM2 to the long arm of human chromosome 1 (band q22) in a highly conserved region which also contains the known interferon-inducible genes IFI16 and MNDA. We have also demonstrated that, like IFI16 and MNDA, AIM2 is induced in HL60 cells by interferon gamma. Our findings support the existence of a family of genes in this region similar to the well-characterized mouse Ifi200 gene family.

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