Gene Summary

Gene:MYOD1; myogenic differentiation 1
Aliases: PUM, MYF3, MYOD, bHLHc1
Summary:This gene encodes a nuclear protein that belongs to the basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors and the myogenic factors subfamily. It regulates muscle cell differentiation by inducing cell cycle arrest, a prerequisite for myogenic initiation. The protein is also involved in muscle regeneration. It activates its own transcription which may stabilize commitment to myogenesis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:myoblast determination protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 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 27 February 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 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: MYOD1 (cancer-related)

Miles WO, Korenjak M, Griffiths LM, et al.
Post-transcriptional gene expression control by NANOS is up-regulated and functionally important in pRb-deficient cells.
EMBO J. 2014; 33(19):2201-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Inactivation of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor (pRb) is a common oncogenic event that alters the expression of genes important for cell cycle progression, senescence, and apoptosis. However, in many contexts, the properties of pRb-deficient cells are similar to wild-type cells suggesting there may be processes that counterbalance the transcriptional changes associated with pRb inactivation. Therefore, we have looked for sets of evolutionary conserved, functionally related genes that are direct targets of pRb/E2F proteins. We show that the expression of NANOS, a key facilitator of the Pumilio (PUM) post-transcriptional repressor complex, is directly repressed by pRb/E2F in flies and humans. In both species, NANOS expression increases following inactivation of pRb/RBF1 and becomes important for tissue homeostasis. By analyzing datasets from normal retinal tissue and pRb-null retinoblastomas, we find a strong enrichment for putative PUM substrates among genes de-regulated in tumors. These include pro-apoptotic genes that are transcriptionally down-regulated upon pRb loss, and we characterize two such candidates, MAP2K3 and MAP3K1, as direct PUM substrates. Our data suggest that NANOS increases in importance in pRb-deficient cells and helps to maintain homeostasis by repressing the translation of transcripts containing PUM Regulatory Elements (PRE).

Tremblay AM, Missiaglia E, Galli GG, et al.
The Hippo transducer YAP1 transforms activated satellite cells and is a potent effector of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma formation.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(2):273-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of the Hippo pathway effector YAP1 in soft tissue sarcomas is poorly defined. Here we report that YAP1 activity is elevated in human embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS). In mice, sustained YAP1 hyperactivity in activated, but not quiescent, satellite cells induces ERMS with high penetrance and short latency. Via its transcriptional program with TEAD1, YAP1 directly regulates several major hallmarks of ERMS. YAP1-TEAD1 upregulate pro-proliferative and oncogenic genes and maintain the ERMS differentiation block by interfering with MYOD1 and MEF2 pro-differentiation activities. Normalization of YAP1 expression reduces tumor burden in human ERMS xenografts and allows YAP1-driven ERMS to differentiate in situ. Collectively, our results identify YAP1 as a potent ERMS oncogenic driver and a promising target for differentiation therapy.

Chen D, Goswami CP, Burnett RM, et al.
Cancer affects microRNA expression, release, and function in cardiac and skeletal muscle.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(16):4270-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Circulating microRNAs (miRNA) are emerging as important biomarkers of various diseases, including cancer. Intriguingly, circulating levels of several miRNAs are lower in patients with cancer compared with healthy individuals. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a circulating miRNA might serve as a surrogate of the effects of cancer on miRNA expression or release in distant organs. Here we report that circulating levels of the muscle-enriched miR486 is lower in patients with breast cancer compared with healthy individuals and that this difference is replicated faithfully in MMTV-PyMT and MMTV-Her2 transgenic mouse models of breast cancer. In tumor-bearing mice, levels of miR486 were relatively reduced in muscle, where there was elevated expression of the miR486 target genes PTEN and FOXO1A and dampened signaling through the PI3K/AKT pathway. Skeletal muscle expressed lower levels of the transcription factor MyoD, which controls miR486 expression. Conditioned media (CM) obtained from MMTV-PyMT and MMTV-Her2/Neu tumor cells cultured in vitro were sufficient to elicit reduced levels of miR486 and increased PTEN and FOXO1A expression in C2C12 murine myoblasts. Cytokine analysis implicated tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and four additional cytokines as mediators of miR486 expression in CM-treated cells. Because miR486 is a potent modulator of PI3K/AKT signaling and the muscle-enriched transcription factor network in cardiac/skeletal muscle, our findings implicated TNFα-dependent miRNA circuitry in muscle differentiation and survival pathways in cancer.

Mirecka A, Paszkowska-Szczur K, Scott RJ, et al.
Common variants of xeroderma pigmentosum genes and prostate cancer risk.
Gene. 2014; 546(2):156-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
The genetic basis of prostate cancer (PC) is complex and appears to involve multiple susceptibility genes. A number of studies have evaluated a possible correlation between several NER gene polymorphisms and PC risk, but most of them evaluated only single SNPs among XP genes and the results remain inconsistent. Out of 94 SNPs located in seven XP genes (XPA-XPG) a total of 15 SNPs were assayed in 720 unselected patients with PC and compared to 1121 healthy adults. An increased risk of disease was associated with the XPD SNP, rs1799793 (Asp312Asn) AG genotype (OR=2.60; p<0.001) and with the AA genotype (OR=531; p<0.0001) compared to the control population. Haplotype analysis of XPD revealed one protective haplotype and four associated with an increased disease risk, which showed that the A allele (XPD rs1799793) appeared to drive the main effect on promoting prostate cancer risk. Polymorphism in XPD gene appears to be associated with the risk of prostate cancer.

Fahrenbach JP, Andrade J, McNally EM
The CO-Regulation Database (CORD): a tool to identify coordinately expressed genes.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e90408 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Meta-analysis of gene expression array databases has the potential to reveal information about gene function. The identification of gene-gene interactions may be inferred from gene expression information but such meta-analysis is often limited to a single microarray platform. To address this limitation, we developed a gene-centered approach to analyze differential expression across thousands of gene expression experiments and created the CO-Regulation Database (CORD) to determine which genes are correlated with a queried gene.
RESULTS: Using the GEO and ArrayExpress database, we analyzed over 120,000 group by group experiments from gene microarrays to determine the correlating genes for over 30,000 different genes or hypothesized genes. CORD output data is presented for sample queries with focus on genes with well-known interaction networks including p16 (CDKN2A), vimentin (VIM), MyoD (MYOD1). CDKN2A, VIM, and MYOD1 all displayed gene correlations consistent with known interacting genes.
CONCLUSIONS: We developed a facile, web-enabled program to determine gene-gene correlations across different gene expression microarray platforms. Using well-characterized genes, we illustrate how CORD's identification of co-expressed genes contributes to a better understanding a gene's potential function. The website is found at

Riuzzi F, Sorci G, Sagheddu R, et al.
RAGE signaling deficiency in rhabdomyosarcoma cells causes upregulation of PAX7 and uncontrolled proliferation.
J Cell Sci. 2014; 127(Pt 8):1699-711 [PubMed] Related Publications
Embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas (ERMSs) show elevated levels of PAX7, a transcription factor that marks quiescent adult muscle stem (satellite) cells and is important for proliferation and survival of activated satellite cells and whose timely repression is required for myogenic differentiation. However, the mechanism of PAX7 accumulation in ERMSs and whether high PAX7 causes uncontrolled proliferation in ERMS remains to be elucidated. The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE, encoded by AGER) transduces a myogenic and anti-proliferative signal in myoblasts, and stable transfection of the ERMS cell line TE671, which does not express RAGE, with AGER results in reduced proliferation and formation of tumor masses in vivo, and enhanced apoptosis and myogenic differentiation. Herein, we show that RAGE expression is low or absent in human ERMSs. We also show that in ERMS cells (1) PAX7 accumulates owing to absent or low RAGE signaling; (2) elevated PAX7 levels reduce RAGE expression and levels of MyoD and myogenin, muscle-specific transcription factors required for myoblast proliferation arrest and differentiation, respectively; (3) PAX7 supports myoblast proliferation by reducing the levels of MyoD, primarily by promoting its degradation; and (4), when ectopically expressed in ERMS cells, that RAGE upregulates myogenin which upregulates MyoD and downregulates PAX7, with consequent inhibition of proliferation and stimulation of differentiation. Thus, failure to express RAGE and, hence, MyoD and myogenin above a critical level in ERMS cells might result in deregulated PAX7 expression leading to uncontrolled proliferation and, potentially, to rhabdomyosarcomagenesis.

Zhu B, Zhang M, Byrum SD, et al.
TBX2 blocks myogenesis and promotes proliferation in rhabdomyosarcoma cells.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(4):785-97 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMSs) are the most frequent soft tissue sarcomas in children that share many features of developing skeletal muscle. We have discovered that a T-box family member, TBX2, is highly upregulated in tumor cells of both major RMS subtypes. TBX2 is a repressor that is often overexpressed in cancer cells and is thought to function in bypassing cell growth control, including repression of p14 and p21. The cell cycle regulator p21 is required for the terminal differentiation of skeletal muscle cells and is silenced in RMS cells. We have found that TBX2 interacts with the myogenic regulatory factors MyoD and myogenin and inhibits the activity of these factors. TBX2 is expressed in primary myoblasts and C2C12 cells, but is strongly downregulated upon differentiation. TBX2 recruits the histone deacetylase HDAC1 and is a potent inhibitor of the expression of muscle-specific genes and the cell cycle regulators, p21 and p14. TBX2 promotes the proliferation of RMS cells and either depletions of TBX2 or dominant negative TBX2 upregulate p21- and muscle-specific genes. Significantly, depletion or interference with TBX2 completely inhibits tumor growth in a xenograft assay, highlighting the oncogenic role of TBX2 in RMS cells. Thus, the data demonstrate that elevated expression of TBX2 contributes to the pathology of RMS cells by promoting proliferation and repressing differentiation-specific gene expression. These results show that deregulated TBX2 serves as an oncogene in RMS, suggesting that TBX2 may serve as a new diagnostic marker or therapeutic target for RMS tumors.

Zin A, Bertorelle R, Dall'Igna P, et al.
Epithelioid rhabdomyosarcoma: a clinicopathologic and molecular study.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2014; 38(2):273-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma and is mostly represented by the embryonal (ERMS) and alveolar (ARMS) histotypes. Whereas ERMS shows variable genetic alterations including TP53, RB1, and RAS mutations, ARMS carries a gene fusion between PAX3 or PAX7 and FOXO1. Epithelioid RMS is a morphologic variant of RMS recently described in adults. Five cases of epithelioid RMS were identified after histologic review of 85 cases of ARMS enrolled in Italian therapeutic protocols. Immunostaining analyses (muscle-specific actin, desmin, myogenin, AP-2β, EMA, cytokeratins, INI-1) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays to detect MyoD1, myogenin, and PAX3/7-FOXO1 transcripts were performed. In 4 cases DNA sequencing of TP53 was performed; and RB1 allelic imbalance and homozygous deletion were analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Histologically, epithelioid RMS displayed sheets of large cells without rhabdomyoblastic differentiation or anaplasia in 3 and prominent rhabdoid cells in 2; necrosis was evident in 4, often with a geographic pattern. Immunostainings for INI, desmin, myogenin (scattered cells in 4, diffuse in 1) were positive in all; EMA and MNF116 were positive in 2; AP-2β was negative. PAX3/7-FOXO1 transcripts were absent. In all cases RB1 was wild type, and a TP53 mutation at R273H codon was found in 1. All patients are in complete remission, with a median follow-up of 6 years. Epithelioid RMS may occur in children and is probably related to ERMS, as suggested by lack of fusion transcripts, weak staining for myogenin, negative AP-2β, evidence of TP53 mutation (although only in 1 case), and a favorable clinical course.

Corrêa ZM, Augsburger JJ
Relationship between rate of posterior uveal melanoma flattening following plaque radiotherapy and gene expression profile class of tumor cells.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014; 55(1):556-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate the relationship between rate of flattening of posterior uveal melanomas (PUMs) over the first 6 months following I-125 plaque radiotherapy and gene expression profile (GEP) class of tumor cells obtained by fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) prior to treatment.
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of relationship between GEP of PUM cells obtained by FNAB at or prior to treatment and rate of tumor flattening following I-125 plaque radiotherapy. Impact of initial tumor thickness was minimized by pairing cases so baseline tumor thickness in subgroups was matched to within ± 0.5 mm. Paired t-testing compared mean tumor thickness in GEP subgroups at 3- and 6-months post treatment assessments.
RESULTS: Our initial group consisted of 269 patients. Seventy-seven tumors (28.6%) were GEP class 2. Twenty-seven of these were treated by I-125 plaque radiotherapy post-FNAB and returned for post treatment evaluations at 3 and 6 months. A matched GEP class 1 tumor was identified for 25 class 2 cases. Matched tumor pairs ranged in thickness from 2.5 to 11.5 mm at baseline. Mean tumor thickness at baseline in the GEP 1 subgroup was 5.8 and 5.9 mm in the GEP 2 subgroup. Three-months post plaque, mean tumor thickness was 4.5 mm in class 1 cases and 4.6 mm in class 2 cases (paired t = 0.31, P = 0.76). The 6-month post-plaque, mean tumor thickness was 4.0 mm in each subgroup (paired t = 0.25, P = 0.81).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed a lack of association between the GEP class and the rate of flattening of posterior uveal melanomas following I-125 plaque radiotherapy of PUMs.

Sabater-Marco V, Zapater Latorre E, Martorell Cebollada M
Postradiation cutaneous pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma with extracellular collagen deposits reminiscent of so-called amianthoid fibers.
J Cutan Pathol. 2014; 41(3):316-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm that rarely presents as primary skin tumor. So-called amianthoid fibers are hyalinized collagen mats that have been described in myofibroblastic tumors but not in rhabdomyosarcoma. A 65-year-old male developed a submandibular nodule 9 years after an oral squamous cell carcinoma, which had been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Histological examination of the nodule revealed a pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma with extracellular collagen deposits reminiscent of so-called amianthoid fibers. By immunohistochemistry, the tumor cells were positive for vimentin, desmin, smooth muscle actin (SMA), muscle-specific actin (MSA), CD10, CD56, CD99, β-catenin and D2-40. However, only 15-20% of the tumor cells were positive for myoglobin, MyoD1 and myf-4/myogenin. We describe first so-called amianthoid fibers harboring blood capillaries in a rhabdomyosarcoma, suggesting that they are rigid collagen structures that lead to tumor vascularization. The low expression for myogenic regulatory proteins and strong expression for other markers may be misleading and do not contribute to the diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma.

Melson J, Li Y, Cassinotti E, et al.
Commonality and differences of methylation signatures in the plasma of patients with pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 134(11):2656-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Profiling of DNA methylation status of specific genes is a way to screen for colorectal cancer (CRC) and pancreatic cancer (PC) in blood. The commonality of methylation status of cancer-related tumor suppressor genes between CRC and PC is largely unknown. Methylation status of 56 cancer-related genes was compared in plasma of patients in the following cohorts: CRC, PC and healthy controls. Cross validation determined the best model by area under ROC curve (AUC) to differentiate cancer methylation profiles from controls. Optimal preferential gene methylation signatures were derived to differentiate either cancer (CRC or PC) from controls. For CRC alone, a three gene signature (CYCD2, HIC and VHL) had an AUC 0.9310, sensitivity (Sens) = 0.826, specificity (Spec) = 0.9383. For PC alone, an optimal signature consisted of five genes (VHL, MYF3, TMS, GPC3 and SRBC), AUC 0.848; Sens = 0.807, Spec = 0.666. Combined PC and CRC signature or "combined cancer signature" was derived to differentiate either CRC and PC from controls (MDR1, SRBC, VHL, MUC2, RB1, SYK and GPC3) AUC = 0.8177, Sens = 0.6316 Spec = 0.840. In a validation cohort, N = 10 CRC patients, the optimal CRC signature (CYCD2, HIC and VHL) had AUC 0.900. In all derived signatures (CRC, PC and combined cancer signature) the optimal panel used preferential VHL methylation. In conclusion, CRC and PC differ in specific genes methylated in plasma other than VHL. Preferential methylation of VHL is shared in the optimal signature for CRC alone, PC alone and combined PC and CRC. Future investigations may identify additional methylation markers informative for the presence of both CRC and PC.

Zhang M, Truscott J, Davie J
Loss of MEF2D expression inhibits differentiation and contributes to oncogenesis in rhabdomyosarcoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12(1):150 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a highly malignant pediatric cancer that is the most common form of soft tissue tumors in children. RMS cells have many features of skeletal muscle cells, yet do not differentiate. Thus, our studies have focused on the defects present in these cells that block myogenesis.
METHODS: Protein and RNA analysis identified the loss of MEF2D in RMS cells. MEF2D was expressed in RD and RH30 cells by transient transfection and selection of stable cell lines, respectively, to demonstrate the rescue of muscle differentiation observed. A combination of techniques such as proliferation assays, scratch assays and soft agar assays were used with RH30 cells expressing MEF2D to demonstrate the loss of oncogenic growth in vitro and xenograft assays were used to confirm the loss of tumor growth in vivo.
RESULTS: Here, we show that one member of the MEF2 family of proteins required for normal myogenesis, MEF2D, is largely absent in RMS cell lines representing both major subtypes of RMS as well as primary cells derived from an embryonal RMS model. We show that the down regulation of MEF2D is a major cause for the failure of RMS cells to differentiate. We find that MyoD and myogenin are bound with their dimerization partner, the E proteins, to the promoters of muscle specific genes in RMS cells. However, we cannot detect MEF2D binding at any promoter tested. We find that exogenous MEF2D expression can activate muscle specific luciferase constructs, up regulate p21 expression and increase muscle specific gene expression including the expression of myosin heavy chain, a marker for skeletal muscle differentiation. Restoring expression of MEF2D also inhibits proliferation, cell motility and anchorage independent growth in vitro. We have confirmed the inhibition of tumorigenicity by MEF2D in a tumor xenograft model, with a complete regression of tumor growth.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that the oncogenic properties of RMS cells can be partially attributed to the loss of MEF2D expression and that restoration of MEF2D may represent a useful therapeutic strategy to decrease tumorigenicity.

Szuhai K, de Jong D, Leung WY, et al.
Transactivating mutation of the MYOD1 gene is a frequent event in adult spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma.
J Pathol. 2014; 232(3):300-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children and adolescents, being characterized by expression of genes and morphological and ultrastructural features of sarcomeric differentiation. The spindle cell variant of rhabdomyosarcoma (spindle cell RMS) in adults has been defined as an entity, separated from embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS), with unfavourable clinical outcome. So far, no recurrent genetic alteration has been identified in the adult form of spindle cell RMS. We studied a case of adult spindle cell RMS using next-generation sequencing (NGS) after exome capture. Using this approach, we identified 31 tumour-specific somatic alterations and selected four genes with predicted functional relevance to muscle differentiation and growth. MYOD1, KIF18A, NOTCH1, and EML5 were further tested for mutations using Sanger sequencing on DNA from FFPE samples from 16 additional, adult spindle cell RMS samples. The highly conserved sequence homology of MYOD1 with other myogenic transcription factors prompted us to screen the basic DNA-binding domains of MYF5, MYF6 and MYOG for mutations. From the investigated 17 samples, seven (41%) showed homozygous mutation of MYOD1, indicating a critical role in this rare subtype of adult spindle cell RMS, while no mutations were found in any of the other genes involved in myogenic differentiation. The p.L122R mutation occurs in the conserved DNA binding domain in MYOD1 and leads to transactivation and MYC-like functions. MYOD1 homozygous mutations are frequent, recurrent and pathognomonic events in adult-type spindle cell RMS.

Diao Y, Guo X, Jiang L, et al.
miR-203, a tumor suppressor frequently down-regulated by promoter hypermethylation in rhabdomyosarcoma.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(1):529-39 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma found in children and young adults. It is characterized by the expression of a number of skeletal muscle-specific proteins, including MyoD and muscle α-actin. However, unlike normal myoblasts, RMS cells differentiate poorly both in vivo and in culture. As microRNAs are known to regulate tumorigenesis, intensive efforts have been made to identify microRNAs that are involved in RMS development. In this work, we found that miR-203 was frequently down-regulated by promoter hypermethylation in both RMS cell lines and RMS biopsies and could be reactivated by DNA-demethylating agents. Re-expression of miR-203 in RMS cells inhibited their migration and proliferation and promoted terminal myogenic differentiation. Mechanistically, miR-203 exerts its tumor-suppressive effect by directly targeting p63 and leukemia inhibitory factor receptor in RMS cells, which promotes myogenic differentiation by inhibiting the Notch and the JAK1/STAT1/STAT3 pathways, respectively. Our work reveals that miR-203 functions as a tumor suppressor in RMS development.

Ikeda R, Nishizawa Y, Tajitsu Y, et al.
Regulation of major vault protein expression by upstream stimulating factor 1 in SW620 human colon cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(1):197-201 [PubMed] Related Publications
Major vault protein (MVP) is the main constituent of the vault ribonucleoprotein particle and is identical to lung resistance-related protein (LRP). Although MVP is also expressed in several types of normal tissues, little is known about its physiological role. In the present study, we identified the crucial MVP promoter elements that regulate MVP expression. An examination of tissue expression profiles revealed that MVP was expressed in the heart, placenta, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. Elements of the MVP promoter contain binding sites for transcription factors, STAT, p53, Sp1, E-box, GATA, MyoD and Y-box. By deletion analysis, a conserved proximal E-box binding site was demonstrated to be important for human MVP promoter transactivation. Introduction of siRNA against upstream stimulating factor (USF) 1, which is known to bind the E-box binding site, decreased the expression of MVP in SW620 and ACHN cells. Using a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, USF1 bound the MVP promoter in SW620 cells. These findings suggest that USF1 binding to an E-box element may be critical for basal MVP promoter activation. The results of the present study are useful in understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating MVP gene expression, and may aid in elucidating the physiological functions of MVP.

Hanks J, Ayed I, Kukreja N, et al.
The association between MTHFR 677C>T genotype and folate status and genomic and gene-specific DNA methylation in the colon of individuals without colorectal neoplasia.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2013; 98(6):1564-74 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Decreased genomic and increased gene-specific DNA methylation predispose to colorectal cancer. Dietary folate intake and the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphism (MTHFR 677C>T) may influence risk by modifying DNA methylation.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the associations between MTHFR 677C>T genotype, folate status, and DNA methylation in the colon.
DESIGN: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 336 men and women (age 19-92 y) in the United Kingdom without colorectal neoplasia. We obtained blood samples for measurement of serum and red blood cell folate, plasma homocysteine, and MTHFR 677C>T genotype and colonic tissue biopsies for measurement of colonic tissue folate and DNA methylation (genomic- and gene-specific, estrogen receptor 1, ESR1; myoblast determination protein 1, MYOD1; insulin-like growth factor II, IGF2; tumor suppressor candidate 33, N33; adenomatous polyposis coli, APC; mut-L homolog 1, MLH1; and O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase, MGMT) by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and pyrosequencing, respectively.
RESULTS: Of the 336 subjects recruited, 185 (55%) carried the CC, 119 (35%) the CT, and 32 (10%) the TT alleles. No significant differences in systemic markers of folate status and colonic tissue folate between genotypes were found. The MTHFR TT genotype was not associated with genomic or gene-specific DNA methylation. Biomarkers of folate status were not associated with genomic DNA methylation. Relations between biomarkers of folate status and gene-specific methylation were inconsistent. However, low serum folate was associated with high MGMT methylation (P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: MTHFR 677C>T genotype and folate status were generally not associated with DNA methylation in the colon of a folate-replete population without neoplasia.

Dey J, Dubuc AM, Pedro KD, et al.
MyoD is a tumor suppressor gene in medulloblastoma.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(22):6828-37 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
While medulloblastoma, a pediatric tumor of the cerebellum, is characterized by aberrations in developmental pathways, the majority of genetic determinants remain unknown. An unbiased Sleeping Beauty transposon screen revealed MyoD as a putative medulloblastoma tumor suppressor. This was unexpected, as MyoD is a muscle differentiation factor and not previously known to be expressed in cerebellum or medulloblastoma. In response to deletion of one allele of MyoD, two other Sonic hedgehog-driven mouse medulloblastoma models showed accelerated tumor formation and death, confirming MyoD as a tumor suppressor in these models. In normal cerebellum, MyoD was expressed in the proliferating granule neuron progenitors that are thought to be precursors to medulloblastoma. Similar to some other tumor suppressors that are induced in cancer, MyoD was expressed in proliferating medulloblastoma cells in three mouse models and in human medulloblastoma cases. This suggests that although expression of MyoD in a proliferating tumor is insufficient to prevent tumor progression, its expression in the cerebellum hinders medulloblastoma genesis.

Yuan H, Qin F, Movassagh M, et al.
A chimeric RNA characteristic of rhabdomyosarcoma in normal myogenesis process.
Cancer Discov. 2013; 3(12):1394-403 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Gene fusions and their chimeric products are common features of neoplasia. Given that many cancers arise by the dysregulated recapitulation of processes in normal development, we hypothesized that comparable chimeric gene products may exist in normal cells. Here, we show that a chimeric RNA, PAX3-FOXO1, identical to that found in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, is transiently present in cells undergoing differentiation from pluripotent cells into skeletal muscle. Unlike cells of rhabdomyosarcoma, these cells do not seem to harbor the t(2;13) chromosomal translocation. Importantly, both PAX3-FOXO1 RNA and protein could be detected in the samples of normal fetal muscle. Overexpression of the chimera led to continuous expression of MYOD and MYOG-two myogenic markers that are overexpressed in rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Our results are consistent with a developmental role of a specific chimeric RNA generated in normal cells without the corresponding chromosomal rearrangement at the DNA level seen in neoplastic cells presumably of the same lineage.
SIGNIFICANCE: A chimeric fusion RNA, PAX3-FOXO1, associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, is also present in normal non-cancer cells and tissues. Its transient expression nature and the absence of t(2;13) chromosomal translocation are consistent with a posttranscriptional mechanism. When constantly expressed, PAX3-FOXO1 interfered with the muscle differentiation process, which presumably contributes to tumorigenesis.

He WA, Berardi E, Cardillo VM, et al.
NF-κB-mediated Pax7 dysregulation in the muscle microenvironment promotes cancer cachexia.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(11):4821-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Cachexia is a debilitating condition characterized by extreme skeletal muscle wasting that contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Efforts to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of muscle loss have predominantly focused on events intrinsic to the myofiber. In contrast, less regard has been given to potential contributory factors outside the fiber within the muscle microenvironment. In tumor-bearing mice and patients with pancreatic cancer, we found that cachexia was associated with a type of muscle damage resulting in activation of both satellite and nonsatellite muscle progenitor cells. These muscle progenitors committed to a myogenic program, but were inhibited from completing differentiation by an event linked with persistent expression of the self-renewing factor Pax7. Overexpression of Pax7 was sufficient to induce atrophy in normal muscle, while under tumor conditions, the reduction of Pax7 or exogenous addition of its downstream target, MyoD, reversed wasting by restoring cell differentiation and fusion with injured fibers. Furthermore, Pax7 was induced by serum factors from cachectic mice and patients, in an NF-κB-dependent manner, both in vitro and in vivo. Together, these results suggest that Pax7 responds to NF-κB by impairing the regenerative capacity of myogenic cells in the muscle microenvironment to drive muscle wasting in cancer.

Annavarapu SR, Cialfi S, Dominici C, et al.
Characterization of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in rhabdomyosarcoma.
Lab Invest. 2013; 93(10):1090-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and accounts for about 5% of all malignant paediatric tumours. β-Catenin, a multifunctional nuclear transcription factor in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, is active in myogenesis and embryonal somite patterning. Dysregulation of Wnt signaling facilitates tumour invasion and metastasis. This study characterizes Wnt/β-catenin signaling and functional activity in paediatric embryonal and alveolar RMS. Immunohistochemical assessment of paraffin-embedded tissues from 44 RMS showed β-catenin expression in 26 cases with cytoplasmic/membranous expression in 9/14 cases of alveolar RMS, and 15/30 cases of embryonal RMS, whereas nuclear expression was only seen in 2 cases of embryonal RMS. The potential functional significance of β-catenin expression was tested in four RMS cell lines, two derived from embryonal (RD and RD18) RMS and two from alveolar (Rh4 and Rh30) RMS. Western blot analysis demonstrated the expression of Wnt-associated proteins including β-catenin, glycogen synthase kinase-3β, disheveled, axin-1, naked, LRP-6 and cadherins in all cell lines. Cell fractionation and immunofluorescence studies of the cell lines (after stimulation by human recombinant Wnt3a) showed reduced phosphorylation of β-catenin, stabilization of the active cytosolic form and nuclear translocation of β-catenin. Reporter gene assay demonstrated a T-cell factor/lymphoid-enhancing factor-mediated transactivation in these cells. In response to human recombinant Wnt3a, the alveolar RMS cells showed a significant decrease in proliferation rate and induction of myogenic differentiation (myogenin, MyoD1 and myf5). These data indicate that the central regulatory components of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling are expressed and that this pathway is functionally active in a significant subset of RMS tumours and might represent a novel therapeutic target.

Keller C, Guttridge DC
Mechanisms of impaired differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma.
FEBS J. 2013; 280(17):4323-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood, with presumed skeletal muscle origins, because of its myogenic phenotype. RMS is composed of two main subtypes, embryonal RMS (eRMS) and alveolar RMS (aRMS). Whereas eRMS histologically resembles embryonic skeletal muscle, the aRMS subtype is more aggressive and has a poorer prognosis. In addition, whereas the genetic profile of eRMS is not well established, aRMS is commonly associated with distinct chromosome translocations that fuse domains of the transcription factors Pax3 and Pax7 to the forkhead family member FOXO1A. Both eRMS and aRMS tumor cells express myogenic markers such as MyoD, but their ability to complete differentiation is impaired. How this impairment occurs is the subject of this review, which will focus on several themes, including signaling pathways that converge on Pax-forkhead gene targets, alterations in MyoD function, epigenetic modifications of myogenic promoters, and microRNAs whose expression patterns in RMS alter key regulatory circuits to help maintain tumor cells in an opportunistically less differentiated state.

Hettmer S, Teot LA, van Hummelen P, et al.
Mutations in Hedgehog pathway genes in fetal rhabdomyomas.
J Pathol. 2013; 231(1):44-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Ligand-independent, constitutive activation of Hedgehog signalling in mice expressing a mutant, activated SmoM2 allele results in the development of multifocal, highly differentiated tumours that express myogenic markers (including desmin, actin, MyoD and myogenin). The histopathology of these tumours, commonly classified as rhabdomyosarcomas, more closely resembles human fetal rhabdomyoma (FRM), a benign tumour that can be difficult to distinguish from highly differentiated rhabdomyosarcomas. We evaluated the spectrum of Hedgehog (HH) pathway gene mutations in a cohort of human FRM tumours by targeted Illumina sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization testing for PTCH1. Our studies identified functionally relevant aberrations at the PTCH1 locus in three of five FRM tumours surveyed, including a PTCH1 frameshift mutation in one tumour and homozygous deletions of PTCH1 in two tumours. These data suggest that activated Hedgehog signalling contributes to the biology of human FRM.

Ahn EH, Mercado GE, Laé M, Ladanyi M
Identification of target genes of PAX3-FOXO1 in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(2):968-78 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a soft tissue sarcoma categorized into two major subtypes: alveolar RMS (ARMS) and embryonal RMS (ERMS). Most ARMS express the PAX3-FOXO1 (P3F) fusion oncoprotein generated by the 2;13 chromosomal translocation. In the present study, the downstream target genes of P3F were identified by analyzing two independent sets of gene expression profiles: primary RMS tumors and RD ERMS cells transduced with inducible P3F constructs. We found 34 potential target genes (27 upregulated and 7 downregulated) that were significantly and differentially expressed between P3F-positive and P3F-negative categories, both in primary RMS tumors and in the inducible P3F cell culture system. Gene ontology analysis of microarray data of the inducible P3F cell culture system employed indicated apoptosis, cell death, development, and signal transduction as overrepresented significant functional categories found in both upregulated and downregulated genes. Therefore, among the 34 potential target genes, the expression of cell death‑related [Gremlin1, cysteine knot superfamily 1, BMP antagonist 1 (GREM1) and death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1)] and development‑related [myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1) and hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif 1 (HEY1)] genes were further investigated. The differential expression of GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1 was confirmed in independent tumors and inducible cell culture systems. The expression of GREM1, DAPK1 and MYOD1 were significantly upregulated; HEY1 was significantly downregulated in independent P3F-positive ARMS tumors and transcriptionally active P3F cells, compared to those in ERMS tumors and transcriptionally inactive P3F cells. This study identified target genes of P3F and suggested that four downstream targets (GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1) can contribute to the biological activities of P3F involved in growth suppression or cell death and myogenic differentiation.

Taulli R, Foglizzo V, Morena D, et al.
Failure to downregulate the BAF53a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex contributes to the differentiation block in rhabdomyosarcoma.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(18):2354-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and young adults, is characterized by a partially differentiated myogenic phenotype. We have previously shown that the blocking of tumor growth and resumption of differentiation can be achieved by re-expression of miR-206, a muscle-enriched microRNA missing in RMS. In this work, we focused on BAF53a, one of the genes downregulated in miR-206-expressing RMS cells, which codes for a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Here we show that the BAF53a transcript is significantly higher in primary RMS tumors than in normal muscle, and is a direct target of miR-206. Sustained expression of BAF53a interferes with differentiation in myogenic cells, whereas its silencing in RMS cells increases expression of myogenic markers and inhibits proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Accordingly, BAF53a silencing also impairs embryonal RMS and alveolar RMS tumor growth, inducing their morphological and biochemical differentiation. These results indicate that failure to downregulate the BAF53a subunit may contribute to the pathogenesis of RMS, and suggest that BAF53a may represent a novel therapeutic target for this tumor.

Sharma V, Harafuji N, Belayew A, Chen YW
DUX4 differentially regulates transcriptomes of human rhabdomyosarcoma and mouse C2C12 cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e64691 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is linked to the deletion of the D4Z4 arrays at chromosome 4q35. Recent studies suggested that aberrant expression of double homeobox 4 (DUX4) from the last D4Z4 repeat causes FSHD. The aim of this study is to determine transcriptomic responses to ectopically expressed DUX4 in human and mouse cells of muscle lineage. We expression profiled human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells and mouse C2C12 cells transfected with expression vectors of DUX4 using the Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Arrays and Mouse Genome 430 2.0 Arrays, respectively. A total of 2267 and 150 transcripts were identified to be differentially expressed in the RD and C2C12 cells, respectively. Amongst the transcripts differentially expressed in the RD cells, MYOD and MYOG (2 fold, p<0.05), and six MYOD downstream targets were up-regulated in RD but not C2C12 cells. Furthermore, 13 transcripts involved in germline function were dramatically induced only in the RD cells expressing DUX4. The top 3 IPA canonical pathways affected by DUX4 were different between the RD (inflammation, BMP signaling and NRF-2 mediated oxidative stress) and the C2C12 cells (p53 signaling, cell cycle regulation and cellular energy metabolism). Amongst the 40 transcripts shared by the RD and C2C12 cells, UTS2 was significantly induced by 76 fold and 224 fold in the RD and C2C12 cells, respectively. The differential expression of MYOD, MYOG and UTS2 were validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. We further validated the differentially expressed genes in immortalized FSHD myoblasts and showed up-regulation of MYOD, MYOG, ZSCAN4 and UTS2. The results suggest that DUX4 regulates overlapped and distinct groups of genes and pathways in human and mouse cells as evident by the selective up-regulation of genes involved in myogenesis and gametogenesis in human RD and immortalized cells as well as the different molecular pathways identified in the cells.

Sun MM, Li JF, Guo LL, et al.
TGF-β1 suppression of microRNA-450b-5p expression: a novel mechanism for blocking myogenic differentiation of rhabdomyosarcoma.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(16):2075-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) is the most potent inhibitor of myogenic differentiation (MyoD) of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS); however, the underlying mechanisms of this inhibition remain unclear. In this study, we identified novel TGF-β1-related microRNAs (miRNAs); among these, miR-450b-5p is significantly regulated by TGF-β1. We provide evidence that TGF-β1 exerts it function by suppressing miR-450b-5p. Both in cultured cells and tumor implants, miR-450b-5p significantly arrested the growth of RMS and promoted its MyoD. Utilizing a bioinformatics approach, we identified miR-450b-5p target mRNAs. Among these candidates, only the expression of ecto-NOX disulfide-thiol exchanger 2 (ENOX2) and paired box 9 (PAX9) was augmented by miR-450b-5p knockdown examined by western blot; the engineered inhibition antagonized TGF-β1-mediated differentiation inhibition. Furthermore, we found that the Smad3 and Smad4 pathways, but not Smad2, are the principal mediator of TGF-β1 suppression of miR-450b-5p. Taken together, these results suggest that disrupting the TGF-β1 suppression of miR-450b-5p, or knockdown of ENOX2 and PAX9, are effective approaches in inducing RMS MyoD.

Ahn EH
Regulation of target genes of PAX3-FOXO1 in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(5):2029-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The majority of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) are distinguished through the paired box 3-forkhead box protein O1 (PAX3-FOXO1) fusion oncoprotein, being generated by a 2;13 chromosomal translocation. This fusion-positive ARMS is the most clinically difficult type of rhabdomyosarcoma. The present study characterized four genes [gremlin 1 (GREM1), death-associated protein kinase-1 (DAPK1), myogenic differentiation-1 (MYOD1), and hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif-1 (HEY1)] as targets of PAX3-FOXO1.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression of the four genes, PAX3-FOXO1, and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral-related oncogene, neuroblastoma-derived (avian) (MYCN) was determined in various ARMS cell models and primary tumors. The roles of PAX3-FOXO1 and MYCN expression were examined.
RESULTS: Pulse-chase and cycloheximide experiments suggest that GREM1, DAPK1, and MYOD1 are directly regulated by PAX3-FOXO1. PAX3-FOXO1 appears to indirectly down-regulate HEY1 by up-regulating MYCN. Data reveal that the growth-suppressive activity of high PAX3-FOXO1 expression is closely-associated with up-regulation of the GREM1 and DAPK1 tumor-suppressor genes.
CONCLUSION: This study characterized four downstream targets of PAX3-FOXO1 that contribute to the biological activities of growth suppression and myogenic differentiation.

MacQuarrie KL, Yao Z, Fong AP, et al.
Comparison of genome-wide binding of MyoD in normal human myogenic cells and rhabdomyosarcomas identifies regional and local suppression of promyogenic transcription factors.
Mol Cell Biol. 2013; 33(4):773-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/08/2015 Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a pediatric tumor of skeletal muscle that expresses the myogenic basic helix-loop-helix protein MyoD but fails to undergo terminal differentiation. Prior work has determined that DNA binding by MyoD occurs in the tumor cells, but myogenic targets fail to activate. Using MyoD chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing and gene expression analysis in both primary human muscle cells and RD rhabdomyosarcoma cells, we demonstrate that MyoD binds in a similar genome-wide pattern in both tumor and normal cells but binds poorly at a subset of myogenic genes that fail to activate in the tumor cells. Binding differences are found both across genomic regions and locally at specific sites that are associated with binding motifs for RUNX1, MEF2C, JDP2, and NFIC. These factors are expressed at lower levels in RD cells than muscle cells and rescue myogenesis when expressed in RD cells. MEF2C is located in a genomic region that exhibits poor MyoD binding in RD cells, whereas JDP2 exhibits local DNA hypermethylation in its promoter in both RD cells and primary tumor samples. These results demonstrate that regional and local silencing of differentiation factors contributes to the differentiation defect in rhabdomyosarcomas.

Kurzawski M, Dziedziejko V, Post M, et al.
Expression of genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism and transport in end-stage liver disease: up-regulation of ABCC4 and CYP1B1.
Pharmacol Rep. 2012; 64(4):927-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters in liver is mainly regulated by a system of nuclear receptors. The aim of the current study was to investigate the expression of nuclear receptors, as well as these enzymes and transporters, in liver samples from patients suffering from end-stage liver disease of various etiologies (HCV infection, alcohol liver disease, and primary sclerosis cholangitis).
METHODS: Gene expression was measured using quantitative real-time PCR with surgical specimens from livers of patients with end-stage liver disease, and non-tumoral liver tissue that served as control.
RESULTS: Our study confirmed that the expression of most phase I enzymes is suppressed in end-stage liver disease, and is correlated with a decrease in NR1I2 and NR1I3, the main regulators of xenobiotic metabolism. While mRNA levels of phase II enzymes were generally unchanged, some ABC transporters were up-regulated. The most spectacular increases in expression were observed with ABCC4 (MRP4) - at the mRNA level, and CYP1B1 - at both the mRNA and protein levels. We also demonstrated that IL-6 can induce CYP1B1 expression independently of CYP1A1, in a human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line.
CONCLUSIONS: As CYP1B1 is an enzyme which converts various substrates into carcinogenous metabolites, its overexpression in liver may be one of the factors increasing the risk of hepatic cancers in patients with liver disease. CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 are often referred to as model AHR target genes, but CYP1A1 was down-regulated in diseased liver samples. This points to the existence of differences in regulation of these two genes.

Shum CK, Lau ST, Tsoi LL, et al.
Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) suppresses neuroblastoma cell growth and determines non-tumorigenic lineage differentiation.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(35):4086-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuroblastoma (NB) is an embryonal tumor and possesses a unique propensity to exhibit either a spontaneous regression or an unrestrained growth. However, the underlying mechanism for this paradoxical clinical outcome remains largely unclear. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis on 102 primary NB tumors revealed that lower Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) expression is frequently found in the unfavorable NB (Mann-Whitney test, P=0.027). In particular with the high-risk factors such as age of patient >1 year, MYCN amplification and low TRKA expression, the decreased expression of KLF4 was significantly associated with an unfavorable NB outcome. Despite knockdown of KLF4 alone is not sufficient to increase tumorigenicity of NB cells in vivo, stable expression of KLF4 short hairpin RNA in Be(2)-C cells significantly promoted growth of NB cells and inhibited cell differentiation toward fibromuscular lineage. In concordant with these observations, overexpression of KLF4 in SH-SY-5Y cells profoundly suppressed cell proliferation by direct upregulation of cell-cycle inhibitor protein p21(WAF1/CIP1), and knocking down p21(WAF1/CIP1) could partially rescue the suppressive effect of KLF4. Importantly, KLF4 overexpressing cells have lost their neuroblastic phenotypes, they were epithelial-like, strongly substrate-adherent, expressing smooth muscle marker and became non-tumorigenic, suggesting that KLF4 expression is crucial for lineage determination of NB cells, probably, favoring spontaneous tumor regression. Subsequent global gene expression profiling further revealed that transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) and cell-cycle pathways are highly dysregulated upon KLF4 overexpression, and myogenic modulators, MEF2A and MYOD1 were found significantly upregulated. Taken together, we have demonstrated that KLF4 contributes to the favorable disease outcome by directly mediating the growth and lineage determination of NB cells.

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