Gene Summary

Gene:BCL11B; B-cell CLL/lymphoma 11B (zinc finger protein)
Aliases: ATL1, RIT1, CTIP2, CTIP-2, ZNF856B, ATL1-beta, ATL1-alpha, ATL1-delta, ATL1-gamma, hRIT1-alpha
Summary:This gene encodes a C2H2-type zinc finger protein and is closely related to BCL11A, a gene whose translocation may be associated with B-cell malignancies. Although the specific function of this gene has not been determined, the encoded protein is known to be a transcriptional repressor, and is regulated by the NURD nucleosome remodeling and histone deacetylase complex. Four alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2013]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:B-cell lymphoma/leukemia 11B
Source:NCBIAccessed: 21 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 21 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 21 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: BCL11B (cancer-related)

Takachi T, Takahashi M, Takahashi-Yoshita M, et al.
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 Tax oncoprotein represses the expression of the BCL11B tumor suppressor in T-cells.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(4):461-5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiological agent of adult T cell leukemia (ATL), which is an aggressive form of T-cell malignancy. HTLV-1 oncoproteins, Tax and HBZ, play crucial roles in the immortalization of T-cells and/or leukemogenesis by dysregulating the cellular functions in the host. Recent studies show that HTLV-1-infected T-cells have reduced expression of the BCL11B tumor suppressor protein. In the present study, we explored whether Tax and/or HBZ play a role in downregulating BCL11B in HTLV-1-infected T-cells. Lentiviral transduction of Tax in a human T-cell line repressed the expression of BCL11B at both the protein and mRNA levels, whereas the transduction of HBZ had little effect on the expression. Tax mutants with a decreased activity for the NF-κB, CREB or PDZ protein pathways still showed a reduced expression of the BCL11B protein, thereby implicating a different function of Tax in BCL11B downregulation. In addition, the HTLV-2 Tax2 protein reduced the BCL11B protein expression in T-cells. Seven HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines, including three ATL-derived cell lines, showed reduced BCL11B mRNA and protein expression relative to an uninfected T-cell line, and the greatest reductions were in the cells expressing Tax. Collectively, these results indicate that Tax is responsible for suppressing BCL11B protein expression in HTLV-1-infected T-cells; Tax-mediated repression of BCL11B is another mechanism that Tax uses to promote oncogenesis of HTLV-1-infected T-cells.

Huang HT, Chen SM, Pan LB, et al.
Loss of function of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling genes leads to genome instability of human lung cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(1):283-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes are frequently mutated in a variety of human cancers. We investigated the mutation incidence and the role of mSWI/SNF (BAF) complexes in human lung cancer. In the present study, we analyzed somatic mutations of BAF complexes and other driver mutated genes of lung carcinoma deposited in the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database. BAF complexes were mutated in 282 of 803 (35.12%) lung carcinoma samples analyzed, ranking second to TP53. Significantly, BAF-mutated samples exhibited more genomic mutations than BAF wild-type ones. Moreover, a significant positive correlation existed between the BAF mutations and overall genomic mutations in these lung carcinoma samples (P<0.001, Pearson's correlation analysis). Specifically, the mutant-typing of 6 BAF genes, SMARCA4, ARID2, ARID1B, BCL11A, BCL11B and BRD9 was associated with more overall mutations in the lung carcinoma samples. A mutation reporter system was developed by means of the establishment of stable cell sublines with slippage-luciferase transcript in a lung adenocarcinoma cell line, Calu-3. SMARCA4, the most frequently mutated BAF gene in lung cancer, was stably knocked down by pSUPER constructs carrying short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Mutation ratios determined from the mutation reporters of Calu-3 cells were significantly increased upon stable SMARCA4 knockdown. We demonstrated that genetic mutations of BAF complexes lead to genome instability of lung carcinoma. Therefore, BAF complexes play an important role in maintaining genome stability in human lung cancer.

Le Douce V, Cherrier T, Riclet R, et al.
[CTIP2, a multifunctional protein: cellular physiopathology and therapeutic implications].
Med Sci (Paris). 2014 Aug-Sep; 30(8-9):797-802 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcription factor CTIP2 (BCL11B) is a multifunctional protein involved in numerous cell physiological processes. To date, many molecular mechanisms underlying this process have been discovered, which highlighted the importance of the epigenetic regulation of genes and the regulation of the elongation factor P-TEFb. Furthermore studies of the deregulation of CTIP2 showed the association of CTIP2 to numerous pathologies including cancer and cardiac hypertrophy. A better comprehension of the physiopathology of these diseases might lead to the design of therapeutical strategies intending to prevent CTIP2 deregulation. Moreover, CTIP2 and its associated proteins constitute potential targets in strategies aiming to reduce and/or purge HIV-1 cell reservoirs.

Comprehensive molecular profiling of lung adenocarcinoma.
Nature. 2014; 511(7511):543-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Adenocarcinoma of the lung is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Here we report molecular profiling of 230 resected lung adenocarcinomas using messenger RNA, microRNA and DNA sequencing integrated with copy number, methylation and proteomic analyses. High rates of somatic mutation were seen (mean 8.9 mutations per megabase). Eighteen genes were statistically significantly mutated, including RIT1 activating mutations and newly described loss-of-function MGA mutations which are mutually exclusive with focal MYC amplification. EGFR mutations were more frequent in female patients, whereas mutations in RBM10 were more common in males. Aberrations in NF1, MET, ERBB2 and RIT1 occurred in 13% of cases and were enriched in samples otherwise lacking an activated oncogene, suggesting a driver role for these events in certain tumours. DNA and mRNA sequence from the same tumour highlighted splicing alterations driven by somatic genomic changes, including exon 14 skipping in MET mRNA in 4% of cases. MAPK and PI(3)K pathway activity, when measured at the protein level, was explained by known mutations in only a fraction of cases, suggesting additional, unexplained mechanisms of pathway activation. These data establish a foundation for classification and further investigations of lung adenocarcinoma molecular pathogenesis.

Bartram I, Gökbuget N, Schlee C, et al.
Low expression of T-cell transcription factor BCL11b predicts inferior survival in adult standard risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients.
J Hematol Oncol. 2014; 7:51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Risk stratification, detection of minimal residual disease (MRD), and implementation of novel therapeutic agents have improved outcome in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but survival of adult patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) remains unsatisfactory. Thus, novel molecular insights and therapeutic approaches are urgently needed.
METHODS: We studied the impact of B-cell CLL/lymphoma 11b (BCL11b), a key regulator in normal T-cell development, in T-ALL patients enrolled into the German Multicenter Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Study Group trials (GMALL; n = 169). The mutational status (exon 4) of BCL11b was analyzed by Sanger sequencing and mRNA expression levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition gene expression profiles generated on the Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (affymetrix) were used to investigate BCL11b low and high expressing T-ALL patients.
RESULTS: We demonstrate that BCL11b is aberrantly expressed in T-ALL and gene expression profiles reveal an association of low BCL11b expression with up-regulation of immature markers. T-ALL patients characterized by low BCL11b expression exhibit an adverse prognosis [5-year overall survival (OS): low 35% (n = 40) vs. high 53% (n = 129), P = 0.02]. Within the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL (n = 102), low BCL11b expression identified patients with an unexpected poor outcome compared to those with high expression (5-year OS: 20%, n = 18 versus 62%, n = 84, P < 0.01). In addition, sequencing of exon 4 revealed a high mutation rate (14%) of BCL11b.
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, our data of a large adult T-ALL patient cohort show that low BCL11b expression was associated with poor prognosis; particularly in the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL. These findings can be utilized for improved risk prediction in a significant proportion of adult T-ALL patients, which carry a high risk of standard therapy failure despite a favorable immunophenotype.

Treanor LM, Zhou S, Janke L, et al.
Interleukin-7 receptor mutants initiate early T cell precursor leukemia in murine thymocyte progenitors with multipotent potential.
J Exp Med. 2014; 211(4):701-13 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Early T cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ETP-ALL) exhibits lymphoid, myeloid, and stem cell features and is associated with a poor prognosis. Whole genome sequencing of human ETP-ALL cases has identified recurrent mutations in signaling, histone modification, and hematopoietic development genes but it remains to be determined which of these abnormalities are sufficient to initiate leukemia. We show that activating mutations in the interleukin-7 receptor identified in human pediatric ETP-ALL cases are sufficient to generate ETP-ALL in mice transplanted with primitive transduced thymocytes from p19(Arf-/-) mice. The cellular mechanism by which these mutant receptors induce ETP-ALL is the block of thymocyte differentiation at the double negative 2 stage at which myeloid lineage and T lymphocyte developmental potential coexist. Analyses of samples from pediatric ETP-ALL cases and our murine ETP-ALL model show uniformly high levels of LMO2 expression, very low to undetectable levels of BCL11B expression, and a relative lack of activating NOTCH1 mutations. We report that pharmacological blockade of Jak-Stat signaling with ruxolitinib has significant antileukemic activity in this ETP-ALL model. This new murine model recapitulates several important cellular and molecular features of ETP-ALL and should be useful to further define novel therapeutic approaches for this aggressive leukemia.

Kobayashi S, Taki T, Nagoshi H, et al.
Identification of novel fusion genes with 28S ribosomal DNA in hematologic malignancies.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(4):1193-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fusion genes are frequently observed in hematologic malignancies and soft tissue sarcomas, and are usually associated with chromosome abnormalities. Many of these fusion genes create in-frame fusion transcripts that result in the production of fusion proteins, and some of which aid tumorigenesis. These fusion proteins are often associated with disease phenotype and clinical outcome, and act as markers for minimal residual disease and indicators of therapeutic targets. Here, we identified the 28S ribosomal DNA (RN28S1) gene as a novel fusion partner of the B-cell leukemia/lymphoma 11B gene (BCL11B), the immunoglobulin κ variable 3-20 gene (IGKV3-20) and the component of oligomeric Golgi complex 1 gene (COG1) in hematologic malignancies. The RN28S1-BCL11B fusion transcript was identified in a case with mixed-lineage (T/myeloid) acute leukemia having t(6;14)(q25;q32) by cDNA bubble PCR using BCL11B primers; however, the gene fused to BCL11B on 14q32 was not on 6q25. IGKV3-20-RN28S1 and COG1-RN28S1 fusion transcripts were identified in the Burkitt lymphoma cell line HBL-5, and the multiple myeloma cell line KMS-18. RN28S1 would not translate, and the breakpoints in partner genes of RN28S1 were within the coding exons, suggesting that disruption of fusion partners by fusion to RN28S1 is the possible mechanism of tumorigenesis. Although further analysis is needed to elucidate the mechanism(s) through which these RN28S1-related fusions play roles in tumorigenesis, our findings provide important insights into the role of rDNA function in human genomic architecture and tumorigenesis.

Berger AH, Imielinski M, Duke F, et al.
Oncogenic RIT1 mutations in lung adenocarcinoma.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(35):4418-23 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma is comprised of distinct mutational subtypes characterized by mutually exclusive oncogenic mutations in RTK/RAS pathway members KRAS, EGFR, BRAF and ERBB2, and translocations involving ALK, RET and ROS1. Identification of these oncogenic events has transformed the treatment of lung adenocarcinoma via application of therapies targeted toward specific genetic lesions in stratified patient populations. However, such mutations have been reported in only ∼55% of lung adenocarcinoma cases in the United States, suggesting other mechanisms of malignancy are involved in the remaining cases. Here we report somatic mutations in the small GTPase gene RIT1 in ∼2% of lung adenocarcinoma cases that cluster in a hotspot near the switch II domain of the protein. RIT1 switch II domain mutations are mutually exclusive with all other known lung adenocarcinoma driver mutations. Ectopic expression of mutated RIT1 induces cellular transformation in vitro and in vivo, which can be reversed by combined PI3K and MEK inhibition. These data identify RIT1 as a driver oncogene in a specific subset of lung adenocarcinomas and suggest PI3K and MEK inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy in RIT1-mutated tumors.

Uddin MN, Zhang Y, Harton JA, et al.
TNF-α-dependent hematopoiesis following Bcl11b deletion in T cells restricts metastatic melanoma.
J Immunol. 2014; 192(4):1946-53 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Using several tumor models, we demonstrate that mice deficient in Bcl11b in T cells, although having reduced numbers of T cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs, developed significantly less tumors compared with wild-type mice. Bcl11b(-/-) CD4(+) T cells, with elevated TNF-α levels, but not the Bcl11b(-/-) CD8(+) T cells, were required for the reduced tumor burden, as were NK1.1(+) cells, found in increased numbers in Bcl11b(F/F)/CD4-Cre mice. Among NK1.1(+) cells, the NK cell population was predominant in number and was the only population displaying elevated granzyme B levels and increased degranulation, although not increased proliferation. Although the number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells was increased in the lungs with metastatic tumors of Bcl11b(F/F)/CD4-Cre mice, their arginase-1 levels were severely reduced. The increase in NK cell and myeloid-derived suppressor cell numbers was associated with increased bone marrow and splenic hematopoiesis. Finally, the reduced tumor burden, increased numbers of NK cells in the lung, and increased hematopoiesis in Bcl11b(F/F)/CD4-Cre mice were all dependent on TNF-α. Moreover, TNF-α treatment of wild-type mice also reduced the tumor burden and increased hematopoiesis and the numbers and activity of NK cells in the lung. In vitro treatment with TNF-α of lineage-negative hematopoietic progenitors increased NK and myeloid differentiation, further supporting a role of TNF-α in promoting hematopoiesis. These studies reveal a novel role for TNF-α in the antitumor immune response, specifically in stimulating hematopoiesis and increasing the numbers and activity of NK cells.

Abbas S, Sanders MA, Zeilemaker A, et al.
Integrated genome-wide genotyping and gene expression profiling reveals BCL11B as a putative oncogene in acute myeloid leukemia with 14q32 aberrations.
Haematologica. 2014; 99(5):848-57 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia is a neoplasm characterized by recurrent molecular aberrations traditionally demonstrated by cytogenetic analyses. We used high density genome-wide genotyping and gene expression profiling to reveal acquired cryptic abnormalities in acute myeloid leukemia. By genome-wide genotyping of 137 cases of primary acute myeloid leukemia, we disclosed a recurrent focal amplification on chromosome 14q32, which included the genes BCL11B, CCNK, C14orf177 and SETD3, in two cases. In the affected cases, the BCL11B gene showed consistently high mRNA expression, whereas the expression of the other genes was unperturbed. Fluorescence in situ hybridization on 40 cases of acute myeloid leukemia with high BCL11B mRNA expression [2.5-fold above median; 40 out of 530 cases (7.5%)] revealed 14q32 abnormalities in two additional cases. In the four BCL11B-rearranged cases the 14q32 locus was fused to different partner chromosomes. In fact, in two cases, we demonstrated that the focal 14q32 amplifications were integrated into transcriptionally active loci. The translocations involving BCL11B result in increased expression of full-length BCL11B protein. The BCL11B-rearranged acute myeloid leukemias expressed both myeloid and T-cell markers. These biphenotypic acute leukemias all carried FLT3 internal tandem duplications, a characteristic marker of acute myeloid leukemia. BCL11B mRNA expression in acute myeloid leukemia appeared to be strongly associated with expression of other T-cell-specific genes. Myeloid 32D(GCSF-R) cells ectopically expressing Bcl11b showed decreased proliferation rate and less maturation. In conclusion, by an integrated approach involving high-throughput genome-wide genotyping and gene expression profiling we identified BCL11B as a candidate oncogene in acute myeloid leukemia.

Le Douce V, Cherrier T, Riclet R, et al.
The many lives of CTIP2: from AIDS to cancer and cardiac hypertrophy.
J Cell Physiol. 2014; 229(5):533-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
CTIP2 is a key transcriptional regulator involved in numerous physiological functions. Initial works have shown the importance of CTIP2 in the establishment and persistence of HIV latency in microglial cells, the main latent/quiescent viral reservoir in the brain. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of CTIP2 in several other pathologies, such as cardiac hypertrophy and various types of human malignancies. Targeting CTIP2 may therefore constitute a new approach in the treatment of these pathologies.

Fenne IS, Helland T, Flågeng MH, et al.
Downregulation of steroid receptor coactivator-2 modulates estrogen-responsive genes and stimulates proliferation of mcf-7 breast cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e70096 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
The p160/Steroid Receptor Coactivators SRC-1, SRC-2/GRIP1, and SRC-3/AIB1 are important regulators of Estrogen Receptor alpha (ERα) activity. However, whereas the functions of SRC-1 and SRC-3 in breast tumourigenesis have been extensively studied, little is known about the role of SRC-2. Previously, we reported that activation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase, PKA, facilitates ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of SRC-2 which in turn leads to inhibition of SRC-2-coactivation of ERα and changed expression of the ERα target gene, pS2. Here we have characterized the global program of transcription in SRC-2-depleted MCF-7 breast cancer cells using short-hairpin RNA technology, and in MCF-7 cells exposed to PKA activating agents. In order to identify genes that may be regulated through PKA-induced downregulation of SRC-2, overlapping transcriptional targets in response to the respective treatments were characterized. Interestingly, we observed decreased expression of several breast cancer tumour suppressor genes (e.g., TAGLN, EGR1, BCL11b, CAV1) in response to both SRC-2 knockdown and PKA activation, whereas the expression of a number of other genes implicated in cancer progression (e.g., RET, BCAS1, TFF3, CXCR4, ADM) was increased. In line with this, knockdown of SRC-2 also stimulated proliferation of MCF-7 cells. Together, these results suggest that SRC-2 may have an antiproliferative function in breast cancer cells.

Van Vlierberghe P, Ambesi-Impiombato A, De Keersmaecker K, et al.
Prognostic relevance of integrated genetic profiling in adult T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2013; 122(1):74-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Adult T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive hematologic tumor associated with poor outcome. In this study, we analyzed the prognostic relevance of genetic alterations, immunophenotypic markers, and microarray gene expression signatures in a panel of 53 adult T-ALL patients treated in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group E2993 clinical trial. An early immature gene expression signature, the absence of bi-allelic TCRG deletion, CD13 surface expression, heterozygous deletions of the short arm of chromosome 17, and mutations in IDH1/IDH2 and DNMT3A genes are associated with poor prognosis in this series. In contrast, expression of CD8 or CD62L, homozygous deletion of CDKN2A/CDKN2B, NOTCH1 and/or FBXW7 mutations, and mutations or deletions in the BCL11B tumor suppressor gene were associated with improved overall survival. Importantly, the prognostic relevance of CD13 expression and homozygous CDKN2A/CDKN2B deletions was restricted to cortical and mature T-ALLs. Conversely, mutations in IDH1/IDH2 and DNMT3A were specifically associated with poor outcome in early immature adult T-ALLs. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00002514.

Kosulin K, Hoffmann F, Clauditz TS, et al.
Presence of adenovirus species C in infiltrating lymphocytes of human sarcoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e63646 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Human adenoviruses are known to persist in T-lymphocytes of tonsils, adenoids and intestinal tract. The oncogenic potential of different adenovirus types has been widely studied in rodents, in which adenovirus inoculation can induce multiple tumors such as undifferentiated sarcomas, adenocarcinomas and neuroectodermal tumors. However, the oncogenic potential of this virus has never been proven in human subjects. Using a highly sensitive broad-spectrum qRT-PCR, we have screened a set of different human sarcomas including leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma and gastro intestinal stroma tumors. Primers binding the viral oncogene E1A and the capsid-coding gene Hexon were used to detect the presence of adenovirus DNA in tumor samples. We found that 18% of the tested leiomyosarcomas and 35% of the liposarcomas were positive for the presence of adenovirus DNA, being species C types the most frequently detected adenoviruses. However, only in one sample of the gastro intestinal stroma tumors the virus DNA could be detected. The occurrence of adenovirus in the tumor sections was confirmed by subsequent fluorescence in-situ-hybridization analysis and co-staining with the transcription factor Bcl11b gives evidence for the presence of the virus in infiltrating T-lymphocytes within the tumors. Together these data underline, for the first time, the persistence of adenovirus in T-lymphocytes infiltrated in muscular and fatty tissue tumor samples. If an impaired immune system leads to the viral persistence and reactivation of the virus is involved in additional diseases needs further investigation.

Go R, Hirose S, Katsuragi Y, et al.
Cell of origin in radiation-induced premalignant thymocytes with differentiation capability in mice conditionally losing one Bcl11b allele.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(8):1009-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bcl11b is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor, mutations or deletion of which has been found in 10-16% of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias. Bcl11b(KO) (/+) heterozygous mice are susceptible to thymic lymphomas, a model of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, when γ-irradiated, and irradiated Bcl11b(KO) (/+) mice generate clonally expanding or premalignant thymocytes before thymic lymphoma development. Cells with radiation-induced DNA damages are assumed to be the cells of origin in tumors; however, which thymocyte is the tumor cell origin remains obscure. In this study we generated Bcl11b(flox/+) ;Lck-Cre and Bcl11b(flox/+) ;CD4-Cre mice; in the former, loss of one Bcl11b allele occurs in thymocytes at the immature CD4(-) CD8(-) stage, whereas in the latter the loss occurs in the more differentiated CD4(+) CD8(+) double-positive stage. We examined clonal expansion and differentiation of thymocytes in mice 60 days after 3 Gy γ-irradiation. Half (9/18) of the thymuses in the Bcl11b(flox/+) ;Lck-Cre group showed limited rearrangement sites at the T-cell receptor-β (TCRβ) locus, indicating clonal cell expansion, but none in the Bcl11b(flox/+) ;CD4-Cre group did. This indicates that the origin of the premalignant thymocytes is not in double-positive cells but immature thymocytes. Interestingly, those premalignant thymocytes underwent rearrangement at various different sites of the TCRα locus and the majority showed a higher expression of TCRβ and CD8, and more differentiated phenotypes. This suggests the existence of a subpopulation of immature cells within the premalignant cells that is capable of proliferating and continuously producing differentiated thymocytes.

Kadoch C, Hargreaves DC, Hodges C, et al.
Proteomic and bioinformatic analysis of mammalian SWI/SNF complexes identifies extensive roles in human malignancy.
Nat Genet. 2013; 45(6):592-601 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Subunits of mammalian SWI/SNF (mSWI/SNF or BAF) complexes have recently been implicated as tumor suppressors in human malignancies. To understand the full extent of their involvement, we conducted a proteomic analysis of endogenous mSWI/SNF complexes, which identified several new dedicated, stable subunits not found in yeast SWI/SNF complexes, including BCL7A, BCL7B and BCL7C, BCL11A and BCL11B, BRD9 and SS18. Incorporating these new members, we determined mSWI/SNF subunit mutation frequency in exome and whole-genome sequencing studies of primary human tumors. Notably, mSWI/SNF subunits are mutated in 19.6% of all human tumors reported in 44 studies. Our analysis suggests that specific subunits protect against cancer in specific tissues. In addition, mutations affecting more than one subunit, defined here as compound heterozygosity, are prevalent in certain cancers. Our studies demonstrate that mSWI/SNF is the most frequently mutated chromatin-regulatory complex (CRC) in human cancer, exhibiting a broad mutation pattern, similar to that of TP53. Thus, proper functioning of polymorphic BAF complexes may constitute a major mechanism of tumor suppression.

Wiles ET, Lui-Sargent B, Bell R, Lessnick SL
BCL11B is up-regulated by EWS/FLI and contributes to the transformed phenotype in Ewing sarcoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e59369 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
The EWS/FLI translocation product is the causative oncogene in Ewing sarcoma and acts as an aberrant transcription factor. EWS/FLI dysregulates gene expression during tumorigenesis by abnormally activating or repressing genes. The expression levels of thousands of genes are affected in Ewing sarcoma, however, it is unknown which of these genes contribute to the transformed phenotype. Here we characterize BCL11B as an up-regulated EWS/FLI target that is necessary for the maintenance of transformation in patient derived Ewing sarcoma cells lines. BCL11B, a zinc finger transcription factor, acts as a transcriptional repressor in Ewing's sarcoma and contributes to the EWS/FLI repressed gene signature. BCL11B repressive activity is mediated by the NuRD co-repressor complex. We further demonstrate that re-expression of SPRY1, a repressed target of BCL11B, limits the transformation capacity of Ewing sarcoma cells. These data define a new pathway downstream of EWS/FLI required for oncogenic maintenance in Ewing sarcoma.

Kurosawa N, Fujimoto R, Ozawa T, et al.
Reduced level of the BCL11B protein is associated with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e55147 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) develops in a small proportion of human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I)-infected individuals. However, the mechanism by which HTLV-I causes ATLL has not been fully elucidated. To provide fundamental insights into the multistep process of leukemogenesis, we have mapped the chromosomal abnormalities in 50 ATLL cases to identify potential key regulators of ATLL.
RESULTS: The analysis of breakpoints in one ATLL case with the translocations t(14;17)(q32;q22-23) resulted in the identification of a Kruppel zinc finger gene, BCL11B, which plays a crucial role in T-cell development. Among the 7 ATLL cases that we examined by immunofluorescence analysis, 4 displayed low and one displayed moderate BCL11B signal intensities. A dramatically reduced level of the BCL11B protein was also found in HTLV-I-positive T-cell lines. The ectopic expression of BCL11B resulted in significant growth suppression in ATLL-derived cell lines but not in Jurkat cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our genetic and functional data provide the first evidence that a reduction in the level of the BCL11B protein is a key event in the multistep progression of ATLL leukemogenesis.

Kraszewska MD, Dawidowska M, Kosmalska M, et al.
BCL11B, FLT3, NOTCH1 and FBXW7 mutation status in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients.
Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2013; 50(1):33-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a heterogeneous malignancy originating from developing lymphocyte precursors likely due to mutations in genes regulating thymocyte differentiation. Here, we characterized mutation status of BCL11B and FLT3 genes, presumably involved in T-ALL, together with FBXW7 and NOTCH1 as known players in T-ALL in 65 pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. We also aimed at the assessment of prognostic value of NOTCH1 and FBXW7 mutations in ALL-IC BFM 2002 protocol. FLT3 and BCL11B mutations were detected in 3% and 2% of patients, respectively. FBXW7 mutations were observed in 8% of patients, while NOTCH1 was mutated in 40%. No correlation was found between NOTCH1 and FBXW7 mutations and traditionally used clinical factors or molecular features. In total we have detected nine mutations, which have not been previously described by others. Eight of them were found in NOTCH1 and one in BCL11B gene. Observed frequencies of NOTCH1 and FBXW7 are in line with previous reports, thus confirming postulated participation of these two genes in T-ALL pathomechanism. Moreover, we report on mutation frequency of FLT3 and BCL11B, not extensively studied in T-ALL so far. Finally, we suggest a putative role of BLC11B as an oncogene in T-ALL pathogenesis.

Fujimoto R, Ozawa T, Itoyama T, et al.
HELIOS-BCL11B fusion gene involvement in a t(2;14)(q34;q32) in an adult T-cell leukemia patient.
Cancer Genet. 2012 Jul-Aug; 205(7-8):356-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
To provide fundamental insights into the leukemogenesis of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), we performed a molecular analysis of the chromosomal abnormalities in one ATLL case with a novel reciprocal translocation: t(2;14)(q34;q32). Using fluorescence in situ hybridization with cosmid probes derived from the 14q32 region, we characterized the rearranged 14q32 allele. Molecular cloning of the breakpoint revealed that the reciprocal translocation fused the 5' proximal region of the B-cell lymphoma 11B (BCL11B) gene segment (on 14q32) to the third intron of the HELIOS gene (on 2q34). Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis of the leukemia cells revealed that a substantial level of the HELIOS-BCL11B fusion mRNA was expressed relative to the level of wild-type (WT)-BCL11B derived from the intact allele. In contrast, an aberrant HELIOS isoform was detected at a low level of expression compared to the expression of normal HELIOS isoforms. Functional analysis of the HELIOS-BCL11B fusion protein revealed reduced transcriptional suppression activity compared to that of the WT-BCL11B due to the loss of the N-terminal friend of GATA-repression motif, which functions as a metastasis-associated protein 2 binding site. We also found abnormal subnuclear localization of the ectopically expressed fusion protein compared to the localization of WT-BCL11B to subnuclear speckles in HEK293T cells. Our results suggest that dysfunction of the BCL11B gene plays an important role in the development of ATLL.

Yamamoto-Sugitani M, Kuroda J, Shimura Y, et al.
Comprehensive cytogenetic study of primary cutaneous gamma-delta T-cell lymphoma by means of spectral karyotyping and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism array.
Cancer Genet. 2012; 205(9):459-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary cutaneous gamma-delta T-cell lymphoma (PCGD-TCL), which originates from activated mature gamma-delta T cells with a cytotoxic phenotype is a rare T-cell lymphoproliferative disease. The prognosis of PCGD-TCL has been rather unfavorable due to poor response to conventional chemotherapy, and its molecular features and pathophysiology underlying disease development remain unknown. We report here a case with primarily treatment-resistant PCGD-TCL featuring highly complex cytogenetic and genetic aberrations detected by spectral karyotyping and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Chromosomal aberrations included several chromosomal translocations involving breakpoints at 9p21, 14q11.2, 14q32.1, or 16q23.1, suggesting the involvement of WWOX, TCL gene cluster, and BCL11B, which are crucial for tumorigenesis in T-cell lymphomas. SNP analysis also identified genome copy number gains and losses in various regions, which can potently deregulate expression of various pro- and anti-oncogenic genes involved in RAS-related protein pathways, PI3K/AKT/MTOR-related pathways, MYC-related signaling, or TP53-related signaling. Thus, this case report may shed some light on the complex molecular abnormalities involved in the development of PCGD-TCL and on information that can aid the search for druggable target molecules in this disease.

Go R, Takizawa K, Hirose S, et al.
Impairment in differentiation and cell cycle of thymocytes by loss of a Bcl11b tumor suppressor allele that contributes to leukemogenesis.
Leuk Res. 2012; 36(8):1035-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic changes in T-ALL are classified into type A abnormalities leading to arrest at a specific stage of T-cell differentiation and type B abnormalities that target cellular processes including cell cycle regulation. Mutations and deletion of a BCL11B haploinsuffiecient tumor suppressor allele have been found in 10-16% of T-ALL subgroups. Analysis of Bcl11b(KO/+) mice revealed impaired T-cell differentiation at two different stages and attenuation of γ-ray induced cell-cycle arrest at S/G2/M phase in immature CD8 single positive cells. Hence, those phenotypes provided by loss of a Bcl11b allele favor that Bcl11b mutation belongs to type B abnormalities.

Mahapatra S, Klee EW, Young CY, et al.
Global methylation profiling for risk prediction of prostate cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(10):2882-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the promoter hypermethylation as diagnostic markers to detect malignant prostate cells and as prognostic markers to predict the clinical recurrence of prostate cancer.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: DNA was isolated from prostate cancer and normal adjacent tissues. After bisulfite conversion, methylation of 14,495 genes was evaluated using the Methylation27 microarrays in 238 prostate tissues. We analyzed methylation profiles in four different groups: (i) tumor (n = 198) versus matched normal tissues (n = 40), (ii) recurrence (n = 123) versus nonrecurrence (n = 75), (iii) clinical recurrence (n = 80) versus biochemical recurrence (n = 43), and (iv) systemic recurrence (n = 36) versus local recurrence (n = 44). Group 1, 2, 3, and 4 genes signifying biomarkers for diagnosis, prediction of recurrence, clinical recurrence, and systemic progression were determined. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to predict risk of recurrence. We validated the methylation of genes in 20 independent tissues representing each group by pyrosequencing.
RESULTS: Microarray analysis revealed significant methylation of genes in four different groups of prostate cancer tissues. The sensitivity and specificity of methylation for 25 genes from 1, 2, and 4 groups and 7 from group 3 were shown. Validation of genes by pyrosequencing from group 1 (GSTP1, HIF3A, HAAO, and RARβ), group 2 (CRIP1, FLNC, RASGRF2, RUNX3, and HS3ST2), group 3 (PHLDA3, RASGRF2, and TNFRSF10D), and group 4 (BCL11B, POU3F3, and RASGRF2) confirmed the microarray results.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides a global assessment of DNA methylation in prostate cancer and identifies the significance of genes as diagnostic and progression biomarkers of prostate cancer.

Onozawa M, Aplan PD
Illegitimate V(D)J recombination involving nonantigen receptor loci in lymphoid malignancy.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2012; 51(6):525-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
V(D)J recombination of antigen receptor loci (IGH, IGK, IGL, TCRA, TCRB, TCRG, and TCRD) is an essential mechanism that confers enormous diversity to the mammalian immune system. However, there are now at least six examples of intrachromosomal interstitial deletions caused by aberrant V(D)J recombination between nonantigen receptor loci; five of out these six are associated with lymphoid malignancy. The SIL-SCL fusion and deletions of CDKN2A, IKZF1, Notch1, and Bcl11b are all associated with lymphoid malignancy. These interstitial deletions seem to be species specific, as the deletions seen in mice are not seen in humans; the converse is true as well. Nucleotide sequence analysis of these rearrangements reveals the hallmarks of V(D)J recombination, including site specificity near cryptic heptamer signal sequences, exonucleolytic "nibbling" at the junction site, and nontemplated "N"-region nucleotide insertion at the junction site. Two of these interstitial deletions (murine Notch1 and Bcl11b deletions) have been detected, at low frequency, in tissues from healthy mice with no evidence of malignancy, similar to the finding of chromosomal translocations in the peripheral blood or tonsils of healthy individuals. The contention that these are mediated via V(D)J recombination is strengthened by in vivo assays using extrachromosomal substrates, and chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequence analysis which shows Rag2 binding at the sites of rearrangement. Although the efficiency of these "illegitimate" recombination events is several orders of magnitude less than that at bona fide antigen receptor loci, the consequence of such deletions, namely activation of proto-oncogenes or deletion of tumor suppressor genes, is devastating, and a major cause for lymphoid malignancy.

Gutierrez A, Kentsis A, Sanda T, et al.
The BCL11B tumor suppressor is mutated across the major molecular subtypes of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2011; 118(15):4169-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
The BCL11B transcription factor is required for normal T-cell development, and has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) induced by TLX overexpression or Atm deficiency. To comprehensively assess the contribution of BCL11B inactivation to human T-ALL, we performed DNA copy number and sequencing analyses of T-ALL diagnostic specimens, revealing monoallelic BCL11B deletions or missense mutations in 9% (n = 10 of 117) of cases. Structural homology modeling revealed that several of the BCL11B mutations disrupted the structure of zinc finger domains required for this transcription factor to bind DNA. BCL11B haploinsufficiency occurred across each of the major molecular subtypes of T-ALL, including early T-cell precursor, HOXA-positive, LEF1-inactivated, and TAL1-positive subtypes, which have differentiation arrest at diverse stages of thymocyte development. Our findings provide compelling evidence that BCL11B is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor that collaborates with all major T-ALL oncogenic lesions in human thymocyte transformation.

Huang X, Chen S, Shen Q, et al.
Down regulation of BCL11B expression inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in malignant T cells by BCL11B-935-siRNA.
Hematology. 2011; 16(4):236-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
To screen the highly efficient and specific B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma 11B (BCL11B) small interfering RNA (siRNA) which are able to downregulate the BCL11B gene expression in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, thereby inhibiting the leukemic T-cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis, four BCL11B-siRNAs and the scrambled non-silencing siRNA control (sc) were designed and obtained by chemosynthesis. After nucleofection, BCL11B expression in the mRNA and the protein levels were measured by qRT-PCR and immunoblotting, respectively. The biological consequences based on the highly efficient and specific BCL11B-siRNA were demonstrated by CCK-8 kit, morphological changes (Hoechst 33258 staining), high-resolution imaging, and flow cytometry. Reduction in the BCL11B mRNA level was observed at 24 or 48 hours in molt-4 T cells with BCL11B-935-siRNA, BCL11B-434-siRNA, or BCL11B-748-siRNA, respectively. BCL11B protein expression levels were reduced by 34·77% and 41·73% in the BCL11B-935-siRNA- and BCL11B-434-siRNA-treated cells, compared with the control level at 72 hours. In comparison with BCL11B-434-siRNA treatment group, the Molt-4 cells transfected with the BCL11B-935-siRNA showed significantly inhibited proliferation and effectively induced apoptosis (P<0·05). When highly efficient and specific BCL11B-935-siRNA was used to analyze the inhibition of BCL11B mRNA level in primary T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells, similar result was obtained. In conclusion, siRNAs targeting the different exon domains resulted in different silencing effects and biological consequences. Suppression of BCL11B by RNA interference could inhibit the proliferation and induce the apoptosis effectively in leukemic T cells, which might be considered as a new target therapeutic strategy in T-cell malignancies.

Huang X, Shen Q, Chen S, et al.
Gene expression profiles in BCL11B-siRNA treated malignant T cells.
J Hematol Oncol. 2011; 4:23 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Downregulation of the B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/lymphoma11B (BCL11B) gene by small interfering RNA (siRNA) leads to growth inhibition and apoptosis of the human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cell line Molt-4. To further characterize the molecular mechanism, a global gene expression profile of BCL11B-siRNA -treated Molt-4 cells was established. The expression profiles of several genes were further validated in the BCL11B-siRNA -treated Molt-4 cells and primary T-ALL cells.
RESULTS: 142 genes were found to be upregulated and 109 genes downregulated in the BCL11B-siRNA -treated Molt-4 cells by microarray analysis. Among apoptosis-related genes, three pro-apoptotic genes, TNFSF10, BIK, BNIP3, were upregulated and one anti-apoptotic gene, BCL2L1 was downregulated. Moreover, the expression of SPP1 and CREBBP genes involved in the transforming growth factor (TGF-β) pathway was down 16-fold. Expression levels of TNFSF10, BCL2L1, SPP1, and CREBBP were also examined by real-time PCR. A similar expression pattern of TNFSF10, BCL2L1, and SPP1 was identified. However, CREBBP was not downregulated in the BLC11B-siRNA -treated Molt-4 cells.
CONCLUSION: BCL11B-siRNA treatment altered expression profiles of TNFSF10, BCL2L1, and SPP1 in both Molt-4 T cell line and primary T-ALL cells.

Huang X, Chen S, Shen Q, et al.
Analysis of the expression pattern of the BCL11B gene and its relatives in patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Hematol Oncol. 2010; 3(1):44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In a human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cell line (Molt-4), siRNA-mediated suppression of BCL11B expression was shown to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis, functions which may be related to genes involved in apoptosis (such as TNFSF10 and BCL2L1) and TGF-β pathways (such as SPP1and CREBBP).
METHODS: The expression levels of the above mentioned genes and their correlation with the BCL11B gene were analyzed in patients with T-ALL using the TaqMan and SYBR Green I real-time polymerase chain reaction technique.
RESULTS: Expression levels of BCL11B, BCL2L1, and CREBBP mRNA in T-ALL patients were significantly higher than those from healthy controls (P<0.05). In T-ALL patients, the BCL11B expression level was negatively correlated with the BCL2L1 expression level (rs=-0.700; P<0.05), and positively correlated with the SPP1 expression level (rs=0.683; P<0.05). In healthy controls, the BCL11B expression level did not correlate with the TNFSF10, BCL2L1, SPP1, or CREBBP expression levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Over-expression of BCL11B might play a role in anti-apoptosis in T-ALL cells through up-regulation of its downstream genes BCL2L1 and CREBBP.

De Keersmaecker K, Real PJ, Gatta GD, et al.
The TLX1 oncogene drives aneuploidy in T cell transformation.
Nat Med. 2010; 16(11):1321-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
The TLX1 oncogene (encoding the transcription factor T cell leukemia homeobox protein-1) has a major role in the pathogenesis of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). However, the specific mechanisms of T cell transformation downstream of TLX1 remain to be elucidated. Here we show that transgenic expression of human TLX1 in mice induces T-ALL with frequent deletions and mutations in Bcl11b (encoding B cell leukemia/lymphoma-11B) and identify the presence of recurrent mutations and deletions in BCL11B in 16% of human T-ALLs. Most notably, mouse TLX1 tumors were typically aneuploid and showed a marked defect in the activation of the mitotic checkpoint. Mechanistically, TLX1 directly downregulates the expression of CHEK1 (encoding CHK1 checkpoint homolog) and additional mitotic control genes and induces loss of the mitotic checkpoint in nontransformed preleukemic thymocytes. These results identify a previously unrecognized mechanism contributing to chromosomal missegregation and aneuploidy active at the earliest stages of tumor development in the pathogenesis of cancer.

Grabarczyk P, Nähse V, Delin M, et al.
Increased expression of bcl11b leads to chemoresistance accompanied by G1 accumulation.
PLoS One. 2010; 5(9) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The expression of BCL11B was reported in T-cells, neurons and keratinocytes. Aberrations of BCL11B locus leading to abnormal gene transcription were identified in human hematological disorders and corresponding animal models. Recently, the elevated levels of Bcl11b protein have been described in a subset of squameous cell carcinoma cases. Despite the rapidly accumulating knowledge concerning Bcl11b biology, the contribution of this protein to normal or transformed cell homeostasis remains open.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, by employing an overexpression strategy we revealed formerly unidentified features of Bcl11b. Two different T-cell lines were forced to express BCL11B at levels similar to those observed in primary T-cell leukemias. This resulted in markedly increased resistance to radiomimetic drugs while no influence on death-receptor apoptotic pathway was observed. Apoptosis resistance triggered by BCL11B overexpression was accompanied by a cell cycle delay caused by accumulation of cells at G1. This cell cycle restriction was associated with upregulation of CDKN1C (p57) and CDKN2C (p18) cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors. Moreover, p27 and p130 proteins accumulated and the SKP2 gene encoding a protein of the ubiquitin-binding complex responsible for their degradation was repressed. Furthermore, the expression of the MYCN oncogene was silenced which resulted in significant depletion of the protein in cells expressing high BCL11B levels. Both cell cycle restriction and resistance to DNA-damage-induced apoptosis coincided and required the histone deacetylase binding N-terminal domain of Bcl11b. The sensitivity to genotoxic stress could be restored by the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatine A.
CONCLUSIONS: The data presented here suggest a potential role of BCL11B in tumor survival and encourage developing Bcl11b-inhibitory approaches as a potential tool to specifically target chemoresistant tumor cells.

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