Gene Summary

Gene:ETS2; v-ets avian erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2
Aliases: ETS2IT1
Summary:This gene encodes a transcription factor which regulates genes involved in development and apoptosis. The encoded protein is also a protooncogene and shown to be involved in regulation of telomerase. A pseudogene of this gene is located on the X chromosome. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2012]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein C-ets-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 20 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 20 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 20 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

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: ETS2 (cancer-related)

Xiong S, Tu H, Kollareddy M, et al.
Pla2g16 phospholipase mediates gain-of-function activities of mutant p53.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(30):11145-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
p53(R172H/+) mice inherit a p53 mutation found in Li-Fraumeni syndrome and develop metastatic tumors at much higher frequency than p53(+/-) mice. To explore the mutant p53 metastatic phenotype, we used expression arrays to compare primary osteosarcomas from p53(R172H/+) mice with metastasis to osteosarcomas from p53(+/-) mice lacking metastasis. For this study, 213 genes were differentially expressed with a P value <0.05. Of particular interest, Pla2g16, which encodes a phospholipase that catalyzes phosphatidic acid into lysophosphatidic acid and free fatty acid (both implicated in metastasis), was increased in p53(R172H/+) osteosarcomas. Functional analyses showed that Pla2g16 knockdown decreased migration and invasion in mutant p53-expressing cells, and vice versa: overexpression of Pla2g16 increased the invasion of p53-null cells. Furthermore, Pla2g16 levels were increased upon expression of mutant p53 in both mouse and human osteosarcoma cell lines, indicating that Pla2g16 is a downstream target of the mutant p53 protein. ChIP analysis revealed that several mutant p53 proteins bind the Pla2g16 promoter at E26 transformation-specific (ETS) binding motifs and knockdown of ETS2 suppressed mutant p53 induction of Pla2g16. Thus, our study identifies a phospholipase as a transcriptional target of mutant p53 that is required for metastasis.

Kabbout M, Dakhlallah D, Sharma S, et al.
MicroRNA 17-92 cluster mediates ETS1 and ETS2-dependent RAS-oncogenic transformation.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e100693 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ETS-family transcription factors Ets1 and Ets2 are evolutionarily conserved effectors of the RAS/ERK signaling pathway, but their function in Ras cellular transformation and biology remains unclear. Taking advantage of Ets1 and Ets2 mouse models to generate Ets1/Ets2 double knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we demonstrate that deletion of both Ets1 and Ets2 was necessary to inhibit HrasG12V induced transformation both in vitro and in vivo. HrasG12V expression in mouse embryonic fibroblasts increased ETS1 and ETS2 expression and binding to cis-regulatory elements on the c-Myc proximal promoter, and consequently induced a robust increase in MYC expression. The expression of the oncogenic microRNA 17-92 cluster was increased in HrasG12V transformed cells, but was significantly reduced when ETS1 and ETS2 were absent. MYC and ETS1 or ETS2 collaborated to increase expression of the oncogenic microRNA 17-92 cluster in HrasG12V transformed cells. Enforced expression of exogenous MYC or microRNA 17-92 rescued HrasG12V transformation in Ets1/Ets2-null cells, revealing a direct function for MYC and microRNA 17-92 in ETS1/ETS2-dependent HrasG12V transformation.

Fancy SP, Harrington EP, Baranzini SE, et al.
Parallel states of pathological Wnt signaling in neonatal brain injury and colon cancer.
Nat Neurosci. 2014; 17(4):506-12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In colon cancer, mutation of the Wnt repressor APC (encoding adenomatous polyposis coli) leads to a state of aberrant and unrestricted high-activity signaling. However, the relevance of high Wnt tone in non-genetic human disease is unknown. Here we demonstrate that distinct functional states of Wnt activity determine oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) differentiation and myelination. Mouse OPCs with genetic Wnt dysregulation (high tone) express multiple genes in common with colon cancer, including Lef1, Sp5, Ets2, Rnf43 and Dusp4. Surprisingly, we found that OPCs in lesions of hypoxic human neonatal white matter injury upregulated markers of high Wnt activity and lacked expression of APC. We also found that lack of Wnt repressor tone promoted permanent white matter injury after mild hypoxic insult. These findings suggest a state of pathological high-activity Wnt signaling in human disease tissues that lack predisposing genetic mutation.

Bilsland AE, Stevenson K, Liu Y, et al.
Mathematical model of a telomerase transcriptional regulatory network developed by cell-based screening: analysis of inhibitor effects and telomerase expression mechanisms.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2014; 10(2):e1003448 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer cells depend on transcription of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). Many transcription factors affect TERT, though regulation occurs in context of a broader network. Network effects on telomerase regulation have not been investigated, though deeper understanding of TERT transcription requires a systems view. However, control over individual interactions in complex networks is not easily achievable. Mathematical modelling provides an attractive approach for analysis of complex systems and some models may prove useful in systems pharmacology approaches to drug discovery. In this report, we used transfection screening to test interactions among 14 TERT regulatory transcription factors and their respective promoters in ovarian cancer cells. The results were used to generate a network model of TERT transcription and to implement a dynamic Boolean model whose steady states were analysed. Modelled effects of signal transduction inhibitors successfully predicted TERT repression by Src-family inhibitor SU6656 and lack of repression by ERK inhibitor FR180204, results confirmed by RT-QPCR analysis of endogenous TERT expression in treated cells. Modelled effects of GSK3 inhibitor 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime (BIO) predicted unstable TERT repression dependent on noise and expression of JUN, corresponding with observations from a previous study. MYC expression is critical in TERT activation in the model, consistent with its well known function in endogenous TERT regulation. Loss of MYC caused complete TERT suppression in our model, substantially rescued only by co-suppression of AR. Interestingly expression was easily rescued under modelled Ets-factor gain of function, as occurs in TERT promoter mutation. RNAi targeting AR, JUN, MXD1, SP3, or TP53, showed that AR suppression does rescue endogenous TERT expression following MYC knockdown in these cells and SP3 or TP53 siRNA also cause partial recovery. The model therefore successfully predicted several aspects of TERT regulation including previously unknown mechanisms. An extrapolation suggests that a dominant stimulatory system may programme TERT for transcriptional stability.

Rachakonda PS, Hosen I, de Verdier PJ, et al.
TERT promoter mutations in bladder cancer affect patient survival and disease recurrence through modification by a common polymorphism.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(43):17426-31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter, an important element of telomerase expression, has emerged as a target of cancer-specific mutations. Originally described in melanoma, the mutations in TERT promoter have been shown to be common in certain other tumor types that include glioblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and bladder cancer. To fully define the occurrence and effect of the TERT promoter mutations, we investigated tumors from a well-characterized series of 327 patients with urothelial cell carcinoma of bladder. The somatic mutations, mainly at positions -124 and -146 bp from ATG start site that create binding motifs for E-twenty six/ternary complex factors (Ets/TCF), affected 65.4% of the tumors, with even distribution across different stages and grades. Our data showed that a common polymorphism rs2853669, within a preexisting Ets2 binding site in the TERT promoter, acts as a modifier of the effect of the mutations on survival and tumor recurrence. The patients with the mutations showed poor survival in the absence [hazard ratio (HR) 2.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-4.70] but not in the presence (HR 0.42, 95% CI 0.18-1.01) of the variant allele of the polymorphism. The mutations in the absence of the variant allele were highly associated with the disease recurrence in patients with Tis, Ta, and T1 tumors (HR 1.85, 95% CI 1.11-3.08). The TERT promoter mutations are the most common somatic lesions in bladder cancer with clinical implications. The association of the mutations with patient survival and disease recurrence, subject to modification by a common polymorphism, can be a unique putative marker with individualized prognostic potential.

Wallace JA, Li F, Balakrishnan S, et al.
Ets2 in tumor fibroblasts promotes angiogenesis in breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e71533 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor fibroblasts are active partners in tumor progression, but the genes and pathways that mediate this collaboration are ill-defined. Previous work demonstrates that Ets2 function in stromal cells significantly contributes to breast tumor progression. Conditional mouse models were used to study the function of Ets2 in both mammary stromal fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Conditional inactivation of Ets2 in stromal fibroblasts in PyMT and ErbB2 driven tumors significantly reduced tumor growth, however deletion of Ets2 in epithelial cells in the PyMT model had no significant effect. Analysis of gene expression in fibroblasts revealed a tumor- and Ets2-dependent gene signature that was enriched in genes important for ECM remodeling, cell migration, and angiogenesis in both PyMT and ErbB2 driven-tumors. Consistent with these results, PyMT and ErbB2 tumors lacking Ets2 in fibroblasts had fewer functional blood vessels, and Ets2 in fibroblasts elicited changes in gene expression in tumor endothelial cells consistent with this phenotype. An in vivo angiogenesis assay revealed the ability of Ets2 in fibroblasts to promote blood vessel formation in the absence of tumor cells. Importantly, the Ets2-dependent gene expression signatures from both mouse models were able to distinguish human breast tumor stroma from normal stroma, and correlated with patient outcomes in two whole tumor breast cancer data sets. The data reveals a key function for Ets2 in tumor fibroblasts in signaling to endothelial cells to promote tumor angiogenesis. The results highlight the collaborative networks that orchestrate communication between stromal cells and tumor cells, and suggest that targeting tumor fibroblasts may be an effective strategy for developing novel anti-angiogenic therapies.

Takeda S, Liu H, Sasagawa S, et al.
HGF-MET signals via the MLL-ETS2 complex in hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(7):3154-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
HGF signals through its cognate receptor, MET, to orchestrate diverse biological processes, including cell proliferation, cell fate specification, organogenesis, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL), an epigenetic regulator, plays critical roles in cell fate, stem cell, and cell cycle decisions. Here, we describe a role for MLL in the HGF-MET signaling pathway. We found a shared phenotype among Mll(-/-), Hgf(-/-), and Met(-/-) mice with common cranial nerve XII (CNXII) outgrowth and myoblast migration defects. Phenotypic analysis demonstrated that MLL was required for HGF-induced invasion and metastatic growth of hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. HGF-MET signaling resulted in the accumulation of ETS2, which interacted with MLL to transactivate MMP1 and MMP3. ChIP assays demonstrated that activation of the HGF-MET pathway resulted in increased occupancy of the MLL-ETS2 complex on MMP1 and MMP3 promoters, where MLL trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4), activating transcription. Our results present an epigenetic link between MLL and the HGF-MET signaling pathway, which may suggest new strategies for therapeutic intervention.

Marquardt JU, Thorgeirsson SS
Linking MLL and the HGF-MET signaling pathway in liver cancer.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(7):2780-3 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL; also known as myeloid/lymphoid), the human homolog of trithorax in Drosophila, is a transcriptional coactivator that plays an essential role during early development and hematopoiesis. Furthermore, MLL is critically involved in the epigenetic regulation of cell cycle, senescence, DNA damage, and stem cell self-renewal. Chromosomal aberrations of MLL in acute leukemias are well documented, but the role of this gene in solid malignancies remains unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Takeda et al. describe a novel epigenetic link between MLL and the HGF-MET signaling pathway conferring invasive and metastatic properties to hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

Kabbout M, Garcia MM, Fujimoto J, et al.
ETS2 mediated tumor suppressive function and MET oncogene inhibition in human non-small cell lung cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 19(13):3383-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The ETS2 transcription factor is an evolutionarily conserved gene that is deregulated in cancer. We analyzed the transcriptome of lung adenocarcinomas and normal lung tissue by expression profiling and found that ETS2 was significantly downregulated in adenocarcinomas. In this study, we probed the yet unknown functional role of ETS2 in lung cancer pathogenesis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Lung adenocarcinomas (n = 80) and normal lung tissues (n = 30) were profiled using the Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST platform. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis was conducted to determine ETS2 protein expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) histologic tissue specimens (n = 201). Patient clinical outcome, based on ETS2 IHC expression, was statistically assessed using the log-rank and Kaplan-Meier tests. RNA interference and overexpression strategies were used to assess the effects of ETS2 expression on the transcriptome and on various malignant phenotypes.
RESULTS: ETS2 expression was significantly reduced in lung adenocarcinomas compared with normal lung (P < 0.001). Low ETS2 IHC expression was a significant predictor of shorter time to recurrence in NSCLC (P = 0.009, HR = 1.89) and adenocarcinoma (P = 0.03, HR = 1.86). Moreover, ETS2 was found to significantly inhibit lung cancer cell growth, migration, and invasion (P < 0.05), and microarray and pathways analysis revealed significant (P < 0.001) activation of the HGF pathway following ETS2 knockdown. In addition, ETS2 was found to suppress MET phosphorylation and knockdown of MET expression significantly attenuated (P < 0.05) cell invasion mediated by ETS2-specific siRNA. Furthermore, knockdown of ETS2 augmented HGF-induced MET phosphorylation, cell migration, and invasion.
CONCLUSION(S): Our findings point to a tumor suppressor role for ETS2 in human NSCLC pathogenesis through inhibition of the MET proto-oncogene.

Gai X, Zhao P, Pan Y, et al.
Hepatitis B virus core protein enhances human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression and hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation in a c-Ets2-dependent manner.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2013; 45(7):1174-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatitis B virus core protein can regulate viral replication and host gene expression. However, it is unclear whether and how hepatitis B virus core protein regulates hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation. Induction of hepatitis B virus core protein over-expression significantly enhanced the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma cells, while knockdown of hepatitis B virus core protein expression inhibited the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Altered hepatitis B virus core protein expression significantly changed the growth of implanted hepatocellular carcinoma in vivo. Microarray analysis indicated that hepatitis B virus core protein up-regulated human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression, which was further validated by over-expression and knockdown assays in vitro. Furthermore, knockdown of human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression mitigated the hepatitis B virus core protein-enhanced hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation and clone formation in vitro. Luciferase assays indicated that hepatitis B virus core protein enhanced the promoter activity of human telomerase reverse transcriptase, which was dependent on the binding of c-Ets2 to the promoter region between -192 and -187. In addition, hepatitis B virus core protein enhanced human telomerase reverse transcriptase transcription in HepG2 cells, but not in the c-Ets2-silencing HepG2 cells. Moreover, hepatitis B virus core protein promoted c-Ets2 nuclear translocation. Finally, significantly higher levels of human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression and nuclear c-Ets2 accumulation were detected in hepatitis B virus core protein-positive hepatocellular carcinoma samples. Our findings demonstrate that hepatitis B virus core protein promotes hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation by up-regulating the c-Ets2-dependent expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase.

Zhu X, Zhang J, Fan W, et al.
The rs391957 variant cis-regulating oncogene GRP78 expression contributes to the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(6):1273-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) is one of the most important responders to disease-related stress. We assessed the association of the promoter polymorphisms of GRP78 with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and GRP78 expression in a Chinese population. We examined 1007 patients undergoing diagnostic HCC and 810 unrelated healthy controls. Mechanisms by which the GRP78 promoter polymorphism modulates HCC risk and GRP78 levels were analyzed. The promoter haplotype and diplotype carrying rs391957 (-415bp) allele G and genotype GG was strongly associated with HCC risk. Luciferase reporter assays indicated that the promoter carrying rs391957 allele G (haplotype GCCd) showed increased activity in HepG2 cells and Hela cells. rs391957 was also shown to increase the affinity of the transcriptional activator Ets-2, the resistance to apoptosis, as well as cell instability in stressful microenvironment. Furthermore, compared with allele A, rs391957 allele G was associated with higher levels of GRP78 mRNA and protein in HCC tissues. These findings provided new insights into the pathogenesis of HCC and an unexpected effect of the interaction between rs391957 and Ets-2 on hepatocarcinogenesis, and especially supported the hypothesis that stress-related and evolutionarily conserved genetic variant(s) influencing transcriptional regulation could predict susceptibilities.

Chatterjee A, Dutta S, Mukherjee S, et al.
Potential contribution of SIM2 and ETS2 functional polymorphisms in Down syndrome associated malignancies.
BMC Med Genet. 2013; 14:12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Proper expression and functioning of transcription factors (TFs) are essential for regulation of different traits and thus could be crucial for the development of complex diseases. Subjects with Down syndrome (DS) have a higher incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) while solid tumors, like breast cancer (BC) and oral cancer (OC), show rare incidences. Triplication of the human chromosome 21 in DS is associated with altered genetic dosage of different TFs. V-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2 (ETS2) and Single Minded 2 (SIM2) are two such TFs that regulate several downstream genes involved in developmental and neurological pathways. Here we studied functional genetic polymorphisms (fSNP) in ETS2 and SIM2 encoding genes in a group of patients and control subjects to better understand association of these variants with DS phenotypes.
METHODS: We employed an in silico approach to identify potential target pathways of ETS2 and SIM2. fSNPs in genes encoding for these two TFs were identified using available databases. Selected sites were genotyped in individuals with DS, their parents, ALL, BC, OC as well as ethnically matched control individuals. We further analyzed these data by population-based statistical methods.
RESULTS: Allelic/genotypic association analysis showed significant (P < 0.03) differences of rs2070530, rs1051476, rs11254, rs711 for DS subjects compared to control. rs711 also exhibited significantly different genotypic distribution pattern in parents of DS probands (P < 0.02) and BC patients (P < 0.02). Interaction analysis revealed independent main effect of rs711 in all the groups, while rs11254 exhibited independent main effect in DS subjects only. High entropy values were noticed for rs461155 in the solid tumor groups. Significant interactive effects of rs2070531 with rs1051475, rs1051476, rs11254 were observed in all the groups except DS.
CONCLUSIONS: We infer from the present investigation that the difference in frequencies of fSNPs and their independent as well as interactive effects may be the cause for altered expression of SIM2 and ETS2 in DS and malignant groups, which affects different downstream biological pathways. Thus, altered expression of SIM2 and ETS2 could be one of the reasons for variable occurrence of different malignant conditions in DS.

Rueda N, Flórez J, Martínez-Cué C
Apoptosis in Down's syndrome: lessons from studies of human and mouse models.
Apoptosis. 2013; 18(2):121-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Down syndrome (DS) is the most common chromosomal abnormality in humans. DS is characterized by a number of phenotypes, including the development of Alzheimer's disease-like pathology and immunological, hematological and cardiovascular alterations. Apoptosis or programmed cell death is physiologically involved in development and aging, as well as in numerous pathological processes. Altered apoptosis has been proposed as a putative mechanism underlying many DS phenotypes. Evidence from human and animal studies indicates that apoptosis does not have a prominent role in the disturbances found in brain development in trisomy 21. However, alterations in apoptosis have been associated with neurodegeneration in the aging DS brain, with impairments in general growth and with immunological, cardiovascular and oncological alterations. Altered apoptosis in DS is likely to be the result of the interplay between several chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and non-Hsa21 genes. The interplay between these genes may affect physiological programmed cell death either directly, by modifying the activity of the apoptotic pathways, or indirectly, by inducing degeneration and rendering the cell more vulnerable to apoptosis-inducing factors.

Kaushal M, Mishra AK, Sharma J, et al.
Genomic alterations in breast cancer patients in betel quid and non betel quid chewers.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(8):e43789 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Betel Quid (BQ) chewing independently contributes to oral, hepatic and esophageal carcinomas. Strong association of breast cancer risk with BQ chewing in Northeast Indian population has been reported where this habit is prodigal. We investigated genomic alterations in breast cancer patients with and without BQ chewing exposure. Twenty six BQ chewers (BQC) and 17 non BQ chewer (NBQC) breast cancer patients from Northeast India were analyzed for genomic alterations and pathway networks using SNP array and IPA. BQC tumors showed significantly (P<0.01) higher total number of alterations, as compared with NBQC tumors, 48 ± 17% versus 32 ± 25 respectively. Incidence of gain in fragile sites in BQC tumors were significantly (P<0.001) higher as compared with NBQC tumors, 34 versus 23% respectively. Two chromosomal regions (7q33 and 21q22.13) were significantly (p<0.05) associated with BQC tumors while two regions (19p13.3-19p12 and 20q11.22) were significantly associated with NBQC tumors. GO terms oxidoreductase and aldo-keto reductase activity in BQC tumors in contrast to G-protein coupled receptor protein signaling pathway and cell surface receptor linked signal transduction in NBQC tumors were enriched in DAVID. One network "Drug Metabolism, Molecular Transport, Nucleic Acid Metabolism" including genes AKR1B1, AKR1B10, ETS2 etc in BQC and two networks "Molecular Transport, Nucleic Acid Metabolism, Small Molecule Biochemistry" and "Cellular Development, Embryonic Development, Organismal Development" including genes RPN2, EMR3, VAV1, NNAT and MUC16 etc were seen in NBQC. Common alterations (>30%) were seen in 27 regions. Three networks were significant in common regions with key roles of PTK2, RPN2, EMR3, VAV1, NNAT, MUC16, MYC and YWHAZ genes. These data show that breast cancer arising by environmental carcinogens exemplifies genetic alterations differing from those observed in the non exposed ones. A number of genetic changes are shared in both tumor groups considered as crucial in breast cancer progression.

Shaikhibrahim Z, Ochsenfahrt J, Fuchs K, et al.
ERG is specifically associated with ETS-2 and ETV-4, but not with ETS-1, in prostate cancer.
Int J Mol Med. 2012; 30(5):1029-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The erythroblast transformation-specific (ETS) family of transcription factors plays important roles in both physiological and pathological conditions. Even though many studies have focused on single ETS factors within a single tissue and within the context of specific promoters, the functional impact of multiple ETS members present within a specific cell type has not yet been investigated, especially in prostate cancer (PCa). As the most prominent gene rearrangement in PCa leads to the overexpression of the ETS-related gene (ERG), the aim of this study was to investigate whether ERG is part of a complex integrated transcriptional network that involves other ETS factors. More specifically, as the ETS family consists of 27 members, we focused our efforts initially on investigating whether ERG is associated with the three family members, ETS-1, ETS-2 and ETS variant gene‑4 (ETV‑4), in PCa as a proof of principle. Using western blot analysis, we show that ERG, ETS-1, ETS-2 and ETV-4 are expressed in PC3 cell nuclear extracts and in protein lysates prepared from human PCa prostatectomy specimens. Immunoprecipitations using an anti-ERG antibody were used with PC3 cell nuclear extracts as well as with a pooled protein lysate sample prepared from the PCa tissue samples of five patients. Importantly, our results revealed that ERG is specifically associated with ETS-2 and ETV-4, but not with ETS-1, in PC3 cell nuclear extracts and PCa tissue protein lysates. Our findings strongly support the notion that ERG is part of a complex integrated transcriptional network that involves other ETS factors, which are likely to cooperate or influence the activity of ERG in PCa. The functional impact of multiple ETS factors being associated with ERG in PCa requires further study, as it may provide insights into the mechanism by which ERG exerts its influence in PCa and may subsequently contribute to our understanding of the molecular basis of PCa.

Grasso CS, Wu YM, Robinson DR, et al.
The mutational landscape of lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Nature. 2012; 487(7406):239-43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Characterization of the prostate cancer transcriptome and genome has identified chromosomal rearrangements and copy number gains and losses, including ETS gene family fusions, PTEN loss and androgen receptor (AR) amplification, which drive prostate cancer development and progression to lethal, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, less is known about the role of mutations. Here we sequenced the exomes of 50 lethal, heavily pre-treated metastatic CRPCs obtained at rapid autopsy (including three different foci from the same patient) and 11 treatment-naive, high-grade localized prostate cancers. We identified low overall mutation rates even in heavily treated CRPCs (2.00 per megabase) and confirmed the monoclonal origin of lethal CRPC. Integrating exome copy number analysis identified disruptions of CHD1 that define a subtype of ETS gene family fusion-negative prostate cancer. Similarly, we demonstrate that ETS2, which is deleted in approximately one-third of CRPCs (commonly through TMPRSS2:ERG fusions), is also deregulated through mutation. Furthermore, we identified recurrent mutations in multiple chromatin- and histone-modifying genes, including MLL2 (mutated in 8.6% of prostate cancers), and demonstrate interaction of the MLL complex with the AR, which is required for AR-mediated signalling. We also identified novel recurrent mutations in the AR collaborating factor FOXA1, which is mutated in 5 of 147 (3.4%) prostate cancers (both untreated localized prostate cancer and CRPC), and showed that mutated FOXA1 represses androgen signalling and increases tumour growth. Proteins that physically interact with the AR, such as the ERG gene fusion product, FOXA1, MLL2, UTX (also known as KDM6A) and ASXL1 were found to be mutated in CRPC. In summary, we describe the mutational landscape of a heavily treated metastatic cancer, identify novel mechanisms of AR signalling deregulated in prostate cancer, and prioritize candidates for future study.

Piazza R, Pirola A, Spinelli R, et al.
FusionAnalyser: a new graphical, event-driven tool for fusion rearrangements discovery.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2012; 40(16):e123 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gene fusions are common driver events in leukaemias and solid tumours; here we present FusionAnalyser, a tool dedicated to the identification of driver fusion rearrangements in human cancer through the analysis of paired-end high-throughput transcriptome sequencing data. We initially tested FusionAnalyser by using a set of in silico randomly generated sequencing data from 20 known human translocations occurring in cancer and subsequently using transcriptome data from three chronic and three acute myeloid leukaemia samples. in all the cases our tool was invariably able to detect the presence of the correct driver fusion event(s) with high specificity. In one of the acute myeloid leukaemia samples, FusionAnalyser identified a novel, cryptic, in-frame ETS2-ERG fusion. A fully event-driven graphical interface and a flexible filtering system allow complex analyses to be run in the absence of any a priori programming or scripting knowledge. Therefore, we propose FusionAnalyser as an efficient and robust graphical tool for the identification of functional rearrangements in the context of high-throughput transcriptome sequencing data.

Do PM, Varanasi L, Fan S, et al.
Mutant p53 cooperates with ETS2 to promote etoposide resistance.
Genes Dev. 2012; 26(8):830-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutant p53 (mtp53) promotes chemotherapy resistance through multiple mechanisms, including disabling proapoptotic proteins and regulating gene expression. Comparison of genome wide analysis of mtp53 binding revealed that the ETS-binding site motif (EBS) is prevalent within predicted mtp53-binding sites. We demonstrate that mtp53 regulates gene expression through EBS in promoters and that ETS2 mediates the interaction with this motif. Importantly, we identified TDP2, a 5'-tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase involved in the repair of DNA damage caused by etoposide, as a transcriptional target of mtp53. We demonstrate that suppression of TDP2 sensitizes mtp53-expressing cells to etoposide and that mtp53 and TDP2 are frequently overexpressed in human lung cancer; thus, our analysis identifies a potentially "druggable" component of mtp53's gain-of-function activity.

Gupta R, Ezashi T, Roberts RM
Squelching of ETS2 transactivation by POU5F1 silences the human chorionic gonadotropin CGA subunit gene in human choriocarcinoma and embryonic stem cells.
Mol Endocrinol. 2012; 26(5):859-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The subunit genes encoding human chorionic gonadotropin, CGA, and CGB, are up-regulated in human trophoblast. However, they are effectively silenced in choriocarcinoma cells by ectopically expressed POU domain class 5 transcription factor 1 (POU5F1). Here we show that POU5F1 represses activity of the CGA promoter through its interactions with ETS2, a transcription factor required for both placental development and human chorionic gonadotropin subunit gene expression, by forming a complex that precludes ETS2 from interacting with the CGA promoter. Mutation of a POU5F1 binding site proximal to the ETS2 binding site does not alter the ability of POU5F1 to act as a repressor but causes a drop in basal promoter activity due to overlap with the binding site for DLX3. DLX3 has only a modest ability to raise basal CGA promoter activity, but its coexpression with ETS2 can up-regulate it 100-fold or more. The two factors form a complex, and both must bind to the promoter for the combination to be transcriptionally effective, a synergy compromised by POU5F1. Similarly, in human embryonic stem cells, which express ETS2 but not CGA, ETS2 does not occupy its binding site on the CGA promoter but is found instead as a soluble complex with POU5F1. When human embryonic stem cells differentiate in response to bone morphogenetic protein-4 and concentrations of POU5F1 fall and hCG and DLX3 rise, ETS2 then occupies its binding site on the CGA promoter. Hence, a squelching mechanism underpins the transcriptional silencing of CGA by POU5F1 and could have general relevance to how pluripotency is maintained and how the trophoblast lineage emerges from pluripotent precursor cells.

Liao YL, Hu LY, Tsai KW, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of miR-196b by ETS2 in gastric cancer cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2012; 33(4):760-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
E26 transformation-specific sequence (ETS)-2 is a transcriptional modulator located on chromosome 21, alterations in its expression have been implicated with a reduced incidence of solid tumors in Down syndrome patients. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are thought to participate in diverse biological functions; however, the regulation of miRNAs is not well characterized. Recently, we reported that miR-196b is highly expressed in gastric cancers. Herein, we demonstrate that miR-196b expression was significantly repressed by ETS2 during gastric cancer oncogenesis. We demonstrate that knockdown of endogenous ETS2 expression increases miR-196b expression. A genomic region between -751 and -824 bp upstream of the miR-196b transcriptional start site was found to be critical for the repression activity. This putative regulatory promoter region contains three potential ETS2-binding motifs. Mutations within the ETS2 binding sites blocked the repression activity of ETS2. Furthermore, knockdown of ETS2 or overexpression of miR-196b significantly induced migration and invasion in gastric cancer cells. In addition, alterations in ETS2 and miR-196b expression in gastric cancer cell lines affected the expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related genes. The levels of vimentin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP9 were drastically induced, but levels of E-cadherin were decreased in shETS2- or miR-196b-transfected cells. Our data indicate that ETS2 plays a key role in controlling the expression of miR-196b, and miR-196b may mediate the tumor suppressor effects of ETS2. We demonstrated that miR-196b was transcriptionally regulated by ETS2 and there was an inverse expression profile between miR-196b and ETS2 in clinical samples. This finding could be beneficial for the development of effective cancer diagnostic and alternative therapeutic strategies.

Luo Z, Zhang L, Li Z, et al.
An in silico analysis of dynamic changes in microRNA expression profiles in stepwise development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
BMC Med Genomics. 2012; 5:3 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that participate in the spatiotemporal regulation of messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein synthesis. Recent studies have shown that some miRNAs are involved in the progression of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, the aberrant miRNAs implicated in different clinical stages of NPC remain unknown and their functions have not been systematically studied.
METHODS: In this study, miRNA microarray assay was performed on biopsies from different clinical stages of NPC. TargetScan was used to predict the target genes of the miRNAs. The target gene list was narrowed down by searching the data from the UniGene database to identify the nasopharyngeal-specific genes. The data reduction strategy was used to overlay with nasopharyngeal-specifically expressed miRNA target genes and complementary DNA (cDNA) expression data. The selected target genes were analyzed in the Gene Ontology (GO) biological process and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) biological pathway. The microRNA-Gene-Network was build based on the interactions of miRNAs and target genes. miRNA promoters were analyzed for the transcription factor (TF) binding sites. UCSC Genome database was used to construct the TF-miRNAs interaction networks.
RESULTS: Forty-eight miRNAs with significant change were obtained by Multi-Class Dif. The most enriched GO terms in the predicted target genes of miRNA were cell proliferation, cell migration and cell matrix adhesion. KEGG analysis showed that target genes were significantly involved in adherens junction, cell adhesion molecules, p53 signalling pathway et al. Comprehensive analysis of the coordinate expression of miRNAs and mRNAs reveals that miR-29a/c, miR-34b, miR-34c-3p, miR-34c-5p, miR-429, miR-203, miR-222, miR-1/206, miR-141, miR-18a/b, miR-544, miR-205 and miR-149 may play important roles on the development of NPC. We proposed an integrative strategy for identifying the miRNA-mRNA regulatory modules and TF-miRNA regulatory networks. TF including ETS2, MYB, Sp1, KLF6, NFE2, PCBP1 and TMEM54 exert regulatory functions on the miRNA expression.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides perspective on the microRNA expression during the development of NPC. It revealed the global trends in miRNA interactome in NPC. It concluded that miRNAs might play important regulatory roles through the target genes and transcription factors in the stepwise development of NPC.

Canzonetta C, Hoischen A, Giarin E, et al.
Amplified segment in the 'Down syndrome critical region' on HSA21 shared between Down syndrome and euploid AML-M0 excludes RUNX1, ERG and ETS2.
Br J Haematol. 2012; 157(2):197-200 [PubMed] Related Publications
Children with Down syndrome have a 20- to 50-fold increased risk of acute lymphocytic or myeloid leukaemia. Whole or partial gains of chromosome 21 have been described in multiple childhood leukaemias, and have recently been reported as a likely primary event in B-precursor-acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. It is unclear which amplified gene(s) on chromosome 21 play a key role in leukaemia progression. We describe a minimal amplified segment within the so-called 'Down syndrome critical region' shared between two cases of AML-M0; a Down syndrome, and a constitutionally normal individual. Interestingly, the amplified region does not include the oncogenes RUNX1, ETS2 and ERG.

Bronisz A, Godlewski J, Wallace JA, et al.
Reprogramming of the tumour microenvironment by stromal PTEN-regulated miR-320.
Nat Cell Biol. 2012; 14(2):159-67 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PTEN (Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) expression in stromal fibroblasts suppresses epithelial mammary tumours, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Using proteomic and expression profiling, we show that Pten loss from mammary stromal fibroblasts activates an oncogenic secretome that orchestrates the transcriptional reprogramming of other cell types in the microenvironment. Downregulation of miR-320 and upregulation of one of its direct targets, ETS2 (v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2) are critical events in Pten-deleted stromal fibroblasts responsible for inducing this oncogenic secretome, which in turn promotes tumour angiogenesis and tumour-cell invasion. Expression of the Pten-miR-320-Ets2-regulated secretome distinguished human normal breast stroma from tumour stroma and robustly correlated with recurrence in breast cancer patients. This work reveals miR-320 as a critical component of the Pten tumour-suppressor axis that acts in stromal fibroblasts to reprogramme the tumour microenvironment and curtail tumour progression.

Bai J, Hu S
Transcriptome network analysis reveals potential candidate genes for squamous lung cancer.
Int J Mol Med. 2012; 29(1):95-101 [PubMed] Related Publications
Squamous lung cancer is a common type of lung cancer; however, its mechanism of oncogenesis is still unknown. The aim of this study was to screen candidate genes of squamous lung cancer using a bioinformatics strategy and elucidate the mechanism of squamous lung cancer. Published microarray data of the GSE3268 series was obtained from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO). Significance analysis of microarrays was performed using the software R, and differentially expressed genes by R analysis were harvested. The relationship between transcription factors and target genes in cancer were collected from the Transcriptional regulatory element database. A transcriptome network analysis method was used to construct gene regulation networks and select the candidate genes for squamous lung cancer. SPI1, FLI1, FOS, ETS2, EGR1 and PPARG were defined as candidate genes for squamous lung cancer by the transcriptome network analysis method. Among them, 5 genes had been reported to be involved in lung cancer, except SPI1 and FLI1. Effective recall on previous knowledge conferred strong confidence in these methods. It is demonstrated that transcriptome network analysis is useful in the identification of candidate genes in disease.

Flavin P, Redmond A, McBryan J, et al.
RuvBl2 cooperates with Ets2 to transcriptionally regulate hTERT in colon cancer.
FEBS Lett. 2011; 585(15):2537-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human cancers utilise telomerase to maintain telomeres and prohibit cell senescence. Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), an essential component of this complex, is regulated at the level of gene transcription. Using SILAC-proteomic analysis and molecular studies, we identified the AAA+ ATPase, RuvBl2 as a transcriptional regulator of hTERT and established that this regulation is through cooperation with Ets-2. In colon cancer patients, nuclear expression of RuvBl2 associated with nuclear expression of hTERT, pEts2 and advanced nodal disease (P<0.01, P=0.05 and P=0.03 respectively, n=170). These data firmly implicate RuvBl2 in Ets2 mediated regulation of hTERT in colon cancer which has functional and clinical consequences.

Wu YH, Hu TF, Chen YC, et al.
The manipulation of miRNA-gene regulatory networks by KSHV induces endothelial cell motility.
Blood. 2011; 118(10):2896-905 [PubMed] Related Publications
miRNAs have emerged as master regulators of cancer-related events. miRNA dysregulation also occurs in Kaposi sarcoma (KS). Exploring the roles of KS-associated miRNAs should help to identify novel angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis pathways. In the present study, we show that Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), the etiological agent of KS, induces global miRNA changes in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). Specifically, the miR-221/miR-222 cluster is down-regulated, whereas miR-31 is up-regulated. Both latent nuclear antigen (LANA) and Kaposin B repress the expression of the miR-221/miR-222 cluster, which results in an increase of endothelial cell (EC) migration. In contrast, miR-31 stimulates EC migration, so depletion of miR-31 in KSHV-transformed ECs reduces cell motility. Analysis of the putative miRNA targets among KSHV-affected genes showed that ETS2 and ETS1 are the downstream targets of miR-221 and miR-222, respectively. FAT4 is one of the direct targets of miR-31. Overexpression of ETS1 or ETS2 alone is sufficient to induce EC migration, whereas a reduction in FAT4 enhances EC motility. Our results show that KSHV regulates multiple miRNA-mRNA networks to enhance EC motility, which eventually contributes to KS progression by promoting the spread of malignant KS progenitor cells. Targeting KSHV-regulated miRNAs or genes might allow the development of novel therapeutic strategies that induce angiogenesis or allow the treatment of pathogenic (lymph)angiogenesis.

Villaronga MA, López-Mateo I, Markert L, et al.
Identification and characterization of novel potentially oncogenic mutations in the human BAF57 gene in a breast cancer patient.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011; 128(3):891-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BAF57 is a core subunit present in all mammalian SWI/SNF ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, which regulates important biological processes including gene transcription, DNA recombination, DNA repair, and DNA replication. Among other functions, BAF57 mediates the recruitment of SWI/SNF to sequence-specific transcription factors. Thus, BAF57 plays a crucial role in regulating estrogen-dependent gene expression and proliferation in human cell lines derived from breast tumors. Increasing genetic and biochemical evidences suggest that mutations in BAF57 or alterations in its expression could play an oncogenic role in the mammary gland. Here, we describe two novel mutations in the BAF57 gene found in a breast cancer patient. Both mutations originate premature stop codons, leading to truncated proteins, structurally similar to another BAF57 mutant previously found in a human cell line derived from a breast tumor (BT-549). The expression of these novel BAF57 mutants has abnormally high estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) coactivating potential, suggesting that they might be involved in the aberrant estrogen-dependent proliferation that occur in the majority of breast tumors that retain ERα expression. In addition, the mutations in BAF57 affect its functional interaction with the androgen receptor and ETS2, two transcription factors that play an important role in breast cell biology. Therefore, mutations in BAF57 could impinge on several oncogenic signaling pathways contributing to the origin and/or development of breast cancer.

Zhang JS, Koenig A, Harrison A, et al.
Mutant K-Ras increases GSK-3β gene expression via an ETS-p300 transcriptional complex in pancreatic cancer.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(34):3705-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β) is overexpressed in a number of human malignancies and has been shown to contribute to tumor cell proliferation and survival. Although regulation of GSK-3β activity has been extensively studied, the mechanisms governing GSK-3β gene expression are still unknown. Using pancreatic cancer as a model, we find that constitutively active Ras signaling increases GSK-3β gene expression via the canonical mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. Analysis of the mechanism revealed that K-Ras regulates the expression of this kinase through two highly conserved E-twenty six (ETS) binding elements within the proximal region. Furthermore, we demonstrate that mutant K-Ras enhances ETS2 loading onto the promoter, and ETS requires its transcriptional activity to increase GSK-3β gene transcription in pancreatic cancer cells. Lastly, we show that ETS2 cooperates with p300 histone acetyltransferase to remodel chromatin and promote GSK-3β expression. Taken together, these results provide a general mechanism for increased expression of GSK-3β in pancreatic cancer and perhaps other cancers, where Ras signaling is deregulated.

Mole DJ, O'Neill C, Hamilton P, et al.
Expression of osteopontin coregulators in primary colorectal cancer and associated liver metastases.
Br J Cancer. 2011; 104(6):1007-12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A transcription regulatory complex (TRC) that includes Ets1, Ets2, PEA3 and β-catenin/T-cell factors regulates osteopontin (OPN) that is implicated in colorectal cancer (CRC) dissemination. The consistency of OPN transcriptional control between primary CRC and metastases is unclear. This study investigates expression and prognostic significance of the OPN-TRC in primary human CRC and associated colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).
METHODS: Osteopontin-TRC factors were assayed by digital microscopy in 38 primary CRCs and matched CRLM specimens and assessed against clinical prognosis.
RESULTS: In primary CRC, OPN expression intensity correlated with that of its co-activators, PEA3 (r=0.600; P<0.01), Ets1 (r=0.552; P<0.01), Ets2 (r=0.521; P<0.01) and had prognostic significance. Osteopontin intensity in primary CRC inversely correlated with the interval between diagnosis and resection of CRLM. Overall OPN intensity was lower in CRLM than primary CRC and correlations with co-activators were weaker, for example, Ets1 (P=0.047), PEA3 (P=0.022) or nonsignificant (Ets2). The ratio of OPN expression in CRLM vs primary CRC had prognostic significance.
CONCLUSION: This study supports transcriptional control of OPN by known coregulators in both primary and secondary CRC. Weaker associations in CRLM suggest involvement of other unknown factors possibly from the liver microenvironment or resulting from additional genetic or epigenetic changes that drive tumour metastatic capability in OPN transcriptional control.

Itzhar N, Dessen P, Toujani S, et al.
Chromosomal minimal critical regions in therapy-related leukemia appear different from those of de novo leukemia by high-resolution aCGH.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(2):e16623 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Therapy-related acute leukemia (t-AML), is a severe complication of cytotoxic therapy used for primary cancer treatment. The outcome of these patients is poor, compared to people who develop de novo acute leukemia (p-AML). Cytogenetic abnormalities in t-AML are similar to those found in p-AML but present more frequent unfavorable karyotypes depending on the inducting agent. Losses of chromosome 5 or 7 are observed after alkylating agents while balanced translocations are found after topoisomerase II inhibitors. This study compared t-AML to p-AML using high resolution array CGH in order to find copy number abnormalities (CNA) at a higher resolution than conventional cytogenetics. More CNAs were observed in 30 t-AML than in 36 p-AML: 104 CNAs were observed with 63 losses and 41 gains (mean number 3.46 per case) in t-AML, while in p-AML, 69 CNAs were observed with 32 losses and 37 gains (mean number of 1.9 per case). In primary leukemia with a previously "normal" karyotype, 18% exhibited a previously undetected CNA, whereas in the (few) t-AML with a normal karyotype, the rate was 50%. Several minimal critical regions (MCRs) were found in t-AML and p-AML. No common MCRs were found in the two groups. In t-AML a 40 kb deleted MCR pointed to RUNX1 on 21q22, a gene coding for a transcription factor implicated in frequent rearrangements in leukemia and in familial thrombocytopenia. In de novo AML, a 1 Mb MCR harboring ERG and ETS2 was observed from patients with complex aCGH profiles. High resolution cytogenomics obtained by aCGH and similar techniques already published allowed us to characterize numerous non random chromosome abnormalities. This work supports the hypothesis that they can be classified into several categories: abnormalities common to all AML; those more frequently found in t-AML and those specifically found in p-AML.

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