Gene Summary

Gene:POT1; protection of telomeres 1
Aliases: GLM9, CMM10, HPOT1
Summary:This gene is a member of the telombin family and encodes a nuclear protein involved in telomere maintenance. Specifically, this protein functions as a member of a multi-protein complex that binds to the TTAGGG repeats of telomeres, regulating telomere length and protecting chromosome ends from illegitimate recombination, catastrophic chromosome instability, and abnormal chromosome segregation. Increased transcriptional expression of this gene is associated with stomach carcinogenesis and its progression. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protection of telomeres protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (20)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 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 31 August, 2019 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.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Melanoma, FamilialPOT1 and Predisposition to Familial Melanoma
Large genome-wide sequencing studies have identified missense mutations in POT1 as a risk factor for hereditary melanoma families and not present in unaffected controls (Robles-Espinoza CD et al, 2014 and Shi J et al 2014). Theses POT1 mutations included families without CDKN2A or CDK4 mutations, suggesting it may be a frequently mutated gene in hereditary melanoma.
View Publications19
Breast CancerPOT1 and Breast Cancer View Publications9
Chronic Lymphocytic LeukemiaPOT1 and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia View Publications11
Stomach CancerPOT1 and Stomach Cancer View Publications5
Thyroid CancerPOT1 and Thyroid Cancer View Publications2
Parathyroid CancerPOT1 and Parathyroid Cancer View Publications2

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

Latest Publications: POT1 (cancer-related)

Potjer TP, Bollen S, Grimbergen AJEM, et al.
Multigene panel sequencing of established and candidate melanoma susceptibility genes in a large cohort of Dutch non-CDKN2A/CDK4 melanoma families.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(10):2453-2464 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Germline mutations in the major melanoma susceptibility gene CDKN2A explain genetic predisposition in only 10-40% of melanoma-prone families. In our study we comprehensively characterized 488 melanoma cases from 451 non-CDKN2A/CDK4 families for mutations in 30 established and candidate melanoma susceptibility genes using a custom-designed targeted gene panel approach. We identified (likely) pathogenic variants in established melanoma susceptibility genes in 18 families (n = 3 BAP1, n = 15 MITF p.E318K; diagnostic yield 4.0%). Among the three identified BAP1-families, there were no reported diagnoses of uveal melanoma or malignant mesothelioma. We additionally identified two potentially deleterious missense variants in the telomere maintenance genes ACD and TERF2IP, but none in the POT1 gene. MC1R risk variants were strongly enriched in our familial melanoma cohort compared to healthy controls (R variants: OR 3.67, 95% CI 2.88-4.68, p <0.001). Several variants of interest were also identified in candidate melanoma susceptibility genes, in particular rare (pathogenic) variants in the albinism gene OCA2 were repeatedly found. We conclude that multigene panel testing for familial melanoma is appropriate considering the additional 4% diagnostic yield in non-CDKN2A/CDK4 families. Our study shows that BAP1 and MITF are important genes to be included in such a diagnostic test.

Tamura R, Nakaoka H, Yoshihara K, et al.
Novel MXD4-NUTM1 fusion transcript identified in primary ovarian undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(11):557-563 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Primary ovarian sarcomas are extremely rare tumors, and their genomic and transcriptomic alterations remain to be elucidated. We performed whole exome sequencing of primary tumor and matched normal blood samples derived from one patient with ovarian undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma. We identified 8 nonsynonymous somatic mutations, and all mutations were missense or nonsense changes. Next, we performed RNA sequencing of the tumor sample and identified two in-frame fusion transcripts: MXD4-NUTM1 and ARL6-POT1. Most NUTM1 exons were retained in the MXD4-NUTM1 fusion transcript, and we confirmed an increase in NUTM1 mRNA and protein expression in tumor tissue. Further genomic and transcriptomic analyses might lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies based on the molecular characteristics of ovarian undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma.

Wang H, Ni J, Guo X, et al.
Shelterin differentially respond to oxidative stress induced by TiO
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 503(2):697-702 [PubMed] Related Publications
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO

Aljarbou F, Almousa N, Bazzi M, et al.
The expression of telomere-related proteins and DNA damage response and their association with telomere length in colorectal cancer in Saudi patients.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(6):e0197154 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Saudi Arabia. Cancer has a multifactorial nature and can be described as a disease of altered gene expression. The profiling of gene expression has been used to identify cancer subtypes and to predict patients' responsiveness. Telomere-associated proteins that regulate telomere biology are essential molecules in cancer development. Thus, the present study examined their contributions to colorectal cancer progression in Saudi patients.
METHODS: The expression of hTERT, TRF1, TRF2, POT1, ATR, ATM, Chk1 and Chk2 were measured via real-time PCR in matched cancerous and adjacent tissues of CRC patients. The protein level of hTERT, TRF1, TRF2, ATR, ATM, Chk1 and Chk2 were measured using immunohistochemistry. A region of hTERT core promoter was sequenced via Sanger sequencing. Methylation of CTCF binding site was examined via methylation-specific PCR. Finally, the length of telomere was estimated using q-PCR.
RESULTS: Our results showed that POT1, ATR, Chk1 and Chk2 show increased expression in CRC relative to the adjacent mucosa. The expression levels of each gene were associated with clinicopathological characteristics of patients with CRC. There was a positive correlation between the age of the patients and hTERT expression. Regarding tumor site, telomere length, ATR, ATM and Chk1 were shown to be altered. No somatic mutation was detected in hTERT core promoter, and no differences in methylation patterns at CTCF binding site in the promoter between normal and cancer tissues.
CONCLUSION: Analysis of targeted genes expression in colorectal cancer based on the clinical variables revealed that tumor location and age could have a role in gene expression and telomere length variations and this could be taken under consideration during CRC diagnosis and therapy. Other epigenetic mechanisms could influence hTERT expression in cancers. Our findings warrant further validation through experiments involving a larger number of patients.

Ojha J, Dyagil I, Finch SC, et al.
Genomic characterization of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in radiation-exposed Chornobyl cleanup workers.
Environ Health. 2018; 17(1):43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was the predominant leukemia in a recent study of Chornobyl cleanup workers from Ukraine exposed to radiation (UR-CLL). Radiation risks of CLL significantly increased with increasing bone marrow radiation doses. Current analysis aimed to clarify whether the increased risks were due to radiation or to genetic mutations in the Ukrainian population.
METHODS: A detailed characterization of the genomic landscape was performed in a unique sample of 16 UR-CLL patients and age- and sex-matched unexposed general population Ukrainian-CLL (UN-CLL) and Western-CLL (W-CLL) patients (n = 28 and 100, respectively).
RESULTS: Mutations in telomere-maintenance pathway genes POT1 and ATM were more frequent in UR-CLL compared to UN-CLL and W-CLL (both p < 0.05). No significant enrichment in copy-number abnormalities at del13q14, del11q, del17p or trisomy12 was identified in UR-CLL compared to other groups. Type of work performed in the Chornobyl zone, age at exposure and at diagnosis, calendar time, and Rai stage were significant predictors of total genetic lesions (all p < 0.05). Tumor telomere length was significantly longer in UR-CLL than in UN-CLL (p = 0.009) and was associated with the POT1 mutation and survival.
CONCLUSIONS: No significant enrichment in copy-number abnormalities at CLL-associated genes was identified in UR-CLL compared to other groups. The novel associations between radiation exposure, telomere maintenance and CLL prognosis identified in this unique case series provide suggestive, though limited data and merit further investigation.

McMaster ML, Sun C, Landi MT, et al.
Germline mutations in Protection of Telomeres 1 in two families with Hodgkin lymphoma.
Br J Haematol. 2018; 181(3):372-377 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In a previous whole exome sequencing of patients from 41 families with Hodgkin lymphoma, we identified two families with distinct heterozygous rare coding variants in POT1 (D224N and Y36H), both in a highly conserved region of the gene. POT1 D224N mutant did not bind to a single-stranded telomere oligonucleotide in vitro suggesting the mutation perturbs POT1's ability to bind to the telomeric G-rich overhang. Human HT1080 cells expressing POT1 D224N and lymphoblastoid cells carrying Y36H both showed increased telomere length and fragility in comparison to wild type cells. This strongly suggests that mutant POT1 causes chromosome instability and may play a role in lymphomagenesis in these families.

Zhou H, Mondal A, Dakic A, et al.
Time-Dependent Effects of POT1 Knockdown on Proliferation, Tumorigenicity, and HDACi Response of SK-OV3 Ovarian Cancer Cells.
Biomed Res Int. 2018; 2018:7184253 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The roles of protection of telomeres 1 (POT1) in human ovarian cancer have not been fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the impact of POT1 knockdown (POT1-KD) on in vitro cell proliferation, tumorigenesis, and histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) response in human ovarian cancer-derived SK-OV3 cells. The POT1 gene was knocked down by infection with POT1 lenti-shRNA. POT1, c-Myc, and hTERT mRNA levels and relative telomere length were determined by qRT-PCR; POT1 protein levels were determined by western blot. The relative telomerase activity levels were detected using qTRAP; cell proliferation was assessed using cumulative population doubling (cPD) experiments. Cell tumorigenicity was evaluated by anchorage-independent cell growth assays, and cell response to HDACi was determined by luminescence cell viability assays. Results indicate that lenti-shRNA-mediated POT1-KD significantly reduced POT1 mRNA and protein expression. POT1-KD immediately downregulated c-Myc expression, which led to the inhibition of cell proliferation, tumorigenesis, and HDACi response. However, after brief suppression, c-Myc expression increased in the medium term, which resulted in enhanced cell proliferation, tumorigenesis, and HDACi response in the POT1-KD cells. Furthermore, we discovered that c-Myc regulated cell proliferation and tumorigenesis via hTERT/telomerase/telomere pathway.

Müller C, Krunic M, Wendt J, et al.
Germline Variants in the POT1-Gene in High-Risk Melanoma Patients in Austria.
G3 (Bethesda). 2018; 8(5):1475-1480 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Risk of melanoma is in part determined by genetic factors. Currently the only established high penetrance familial melanoma genes are CDKN2A and CDK4. Recent studies reported germline variants in POT1 in melanoma families. In the present study, we sequenced the entire POT1 gene in 694 patients from the M3-study. Patients with multiple primary melanomas (n = 163) or with a positive family history (n = 133) were classified as high-risk melanoma patients. Additionally, 200 single primary melanoma patients and 198 non-melanoma controls were sequenced. For prediction analysis 10 different tools were used.In total 53 different variants were found, of which 8 were detected in high-risk melanoma patients, only. Two out of these 8 variants were located in exons and were non-synonymous: g.124510982 G>A (p.R80C) and g.124491977 T>G (p.N300H). While g.124491977 T>G was predicted to be neutral, 80% of the prediction tools classified g.124510982 G>A as deleterious. The variant, g.124467236 T>C, which possibly causes a change in the splice site was identified in a case with a positive family history in the present study. Another variant in the 5-UTR, g.124537261 A>G, was found in 2 high-risk patients. So, in conclusion, melanoma associated POT1 germline variants seem to be rare. Further studies are required to evaluate the role of POT1 for genetic counseling.

Chhabra G, Wojdyla L, Frakes M, et al.
Mechanism of Action of G-Quadruplex-Forming Oligonucleotide Homologous to the Telomere Overhang in Melanoma.
J Invest Dermatol. 2018; 138(4):903-910 [PubMed] Related Publications
T-oligo, a guanine-rich oligonucleotide homologous to the 3'-telomeric overhang of telomeres, elicits potent DNA-damage responses in melanoma cells; however, its mechanism of action is largely unknown. Guanine-rich oligonucleotides can form G-quadruplexes (G4), which are stabilized by the hydrogen bonding of guanine residues. In this study, we confirmed the G4-forming capabilities of T-oligo using nondenaturing PAGE, nuclear magnetic resonance, and immunofluorescence. Using an anti-G-quadruplex antibody, we showed that T-oligo can form G4 in the nuclei of melanoma cells. Furthermore, using DNase I in a nuclease degradation assay, G4-T-oligo was found to be more stable than single-stranded T-oligo. G4-T-oligo had decreased antiproliferative effects compared with single-stranded T-oligo. However, G4-T-oligo has similar cellular uptake as single-stranded T-oligo, as shown by FACS analysis. Inhibition of JNK, which causes DNA damage-induced apoptosis, partially reversed the antiproliferative activity of T-oligo. T-oligo also inhibited mRNA expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase, a catalytic subunit of telomerase that was reversed by JNK inhibition. Furthermore, two shelterin complex proteins TRF2/POT1 were found to be up-regulated and bound by T-oligo, suggesting that T-oligo may mediate dissociation of these proteins from the telomere overhang. These studies show that T-oligo can form a G-quadruplex and that the antitumor effects of T-oligo may be mediated through POT1/TRF2 and via human telomerase reverse transcriptase inhibition through JNK activation.

Calvete O, Garcia-Pavia P, Domínguez F, et al.
The wide spectrum of POT1 gene variants correlates with multiple cancer types.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2017; 25(11):1278-1281 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The POT1 protein binds and protects telomeres. Germline variants in the POT1 gene have recently been shown to be associated with risk of developing tumors in different tissues such as familial chronic lymphocytic leukemia, colorectal, glioma and melanoma tumors. Recently, we uncovered a variant in the POT1 gene (p.R117C) as causative of familial cardiac angiosarcomas (CAS) in Li-Fraumeni-like (LFL) syndrome families. Our in silico studies predicted that this protein had lost the ability to interact with TPP1 and single-stranded DNA. In vitro studies corroborated this prediction and showed that this lack of function leads to abnormally long telomeres. To better understand the POT1 gene and its role with tumorigenesis, we extended the study to LFL (with and without members affected with angiosarcomas (AS)) and sporadic AS and cardiac sarcomas. We found POT1 variants in the 20% of the families with members affected with AS and 10% of sporadic AS and sarcomas. In silico studies predicted that these new variants were damaging in the same manner as previously described for the POT1 p.R117C variants. The wide spectrum of variants in the POT1 gene leading to tumorigenesis in different tissues demonstrates its general importance. Study of the POT1 gene should be considered as routine diagnostic in these cancers.

Poojary SS, Mishra G, Singh TD, et al.
Telomere length variation and expression analysis of shelterin complex genes during gallbladder carcinogenesis.
J Cancer Res Ther. 2017 Apr-Jun; 13(2):235-239 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Telomeres, which are bound with shelterin protein complex, play an important role in maintaining genomic stability and its dysfunction may lead to carcinogenesis. Here, we aimed to analyze whether shelterin complex gene expression and telomere length variation, play any role in gallbladder carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Telomere length analysis was carried out by monochrome multiplex qPCR, whereas expression analysis of shelterin genes was carried out using RT-qPCR. Statistical analysis was carried out using SigmaPlot 11 software.
RESULTS: We found significantly reduced telomere length in tumor tissues, and this reduction was seen in both, tumors with or without gallstones in comparison to adjacent non tumor and gallstone (chronic calculous cholecystitis: Inflamed) tissues. Inflamed tissues showed increased telomere length as compared to both adjacent non tumor and tumor tissues. Expression analysis of five shelterin genes showed significant downregulation of TERF1, POT1, and TINF2 genes in inflamed tissues as compared to non tumor and tumor tissues. POT1 was also found to be significantly upregulated in tumor tissues and specifically in tumor tissues with gallstones compared to inflamed tissues.
CONCLUSION: This study, thus, suggests that, gallstone does not affect telomere length and even after having increased telomere length, decreased expression of some shelterin genes in inflamed tissue might cause telomeres to cap improperly, possibly leading to telomere dysfunction and further, gallbladder carcinogenesis. Also, increased expression of POT1 in tumor tissues with gallstones could act as a diagnostic marker in patients with gallstones.

Wijaya AB, Hidayatullah F, Setyabudhi VV, et al.
Profile of POT1 as telomerase shelterin component discriminatesbetween cervical cancer and normal cervical cells.
Turk J Med Sci. 2017; 47(2):417-423 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Telomerase activity is influenced by hTERT transcriptional regulation, shelterin, and posttranscriptional alternative splicing. Telomerase shelterin such as POT1 is highly correlated with various cancers. However, the profile of POT1 in cervical cancer has not been clearly identified. Therefore, it is important to identify its profile in cervical cancer biopsy tissue and normal cervical smears.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Biopsy tissue of cervical cancer patients and normal cervical smears were characterized using SDS-PAGE and western blot. Sixteen biopsy tissues of cervical cancer patients and 15 normal cervical smears were measured for POT1 level using ELISA.
RESULTS: The inline band at 70 kDa indicated that all samples had protein that was identified as POT1. Western blot showed that telomerase antibody only recognized POT1 in biopsy tissue of cervical cancer patients. There was a significant difference (P = 0.01) in POT1 level between biopsy tissue of cervical cancer patients and normal cervical smears.
CONCLUSION: POT1 was identified at 70 kDa in biopsy tissue of cervical cancer patients and its level was higher than that in normal cervical smears. The high level of POT1 in the biopsy tissue of cervical cancer patients showed the influence of this shelterin component in cervical carcinogenesis and also cell immortalization.

Wilson TL, Hattangady N, Lerario AM, et al.
A new POT1 germline mutation-expanding the spectrum of POT1-associated cancers.
Fam Cancer. 2017; 16(4):561-566 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melanomas are associated with several hereditary conditions. We present a large family with several family members affected with primary melanomas and dysplastic nevi as well as thyroid cancer and other malignant tumors. Clinical work-up did not reveal a mutation in any of the genes usually considered with evaluation for predisposition to melanoma (BRCA1/2, CDKN2A, CDK4, PTEN, TP53). Whole exome sequencing of five affected family members showed a new variant in POT1. POT1 is associated with the telomere shelterin complex that regulates telomere protection and telomerase access. Germline mutations in POT1 were recently shown to be associated with hereditary predisposition to melanoma. Our findings support a role of POT1 germline mutations in cancer predisposition beyond melanoma development, suggesting a broader phenotype of the POT1-associated tumor predisposition syndrome that might also include thyroid cancer as well as possibly other malignant tumors.

Leachman SA, Lucero OM, Sampson JE, et al.
Identification, genetic testing, and management of hereditary melanoma.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2017; 36(1):77-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several distinct melanoma syndromes have been defined, and genetic tests are available for the associated causative genes. Guidelines for melanoma genetic testing have been published as an informal "rule of twos and threes," but these guidelines apply to CDKN2A testing and are not intended for the more recently described non-CDKN2A melanoma syndromes. In order to develop an approach for the full spectrum of hereditary melanoma patients, we have separated melanoma syndromes into two types: "melanoma dominant" and "melanoma subordinate." Syndromes in which melanoma is a predominant cancer type are considered melanoma dominant, although other cancers, such as mesothelioma or pancreatic cancers, may also be observed. These syndromes are associated with defects in CDKN2A, CDK4, BAP1, MITF, and POT1. Melanoma-subordinate syndromes have an increased but lower risk of melanoma than that of other cancer(s) seen in the syndrome, such as breast and ovarian cancer or Cowden syndrome. Many of these melanoma-subordinate syndromes are associated with well-established predisposition genes (e.g., BRCA1/2, PTEN). It is likely that these predisposition genes are responsible for the increased susceptibility to melanoma as well but with lower penetrance than that observed for the dominant cancer(s) in those syndromes. In this review, we describe our extension of the "rule of twos and threes" for melanoma genetic testing. This algorithm incorporates an understanding of the spectrum of cancers and genes seen in association with melanoma to create a more comprehensive and tailored approach to genetic testing.

Pellegrini C, Maturo MG, Martorelli C, et al.
Characterization of melanoma susceptibility genes in high-risk patients from Central Italy.
Melanoma Res. 2017; 27(3):258-267 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic susceptibility to cutaneous melanoma has been investigated in Italian high-risk melanoma patients from different geographical regions. CDKN2A, CDK4, and MC1R genes have been screened in most studies, MITF and POT1 were screened in only one study, and none analyzed the TERT promoter. We carried out a mutational analysis of CDKN2A, CDK4 exon 2, POT1 p.S270N, MITF exon 10, MC1R, and the TERT promoter in 106 high-risk patients with familial melanoma (FM) and sporadic multiple primary melanoma (spMPM) from Central Italy and evaluated mutations according to the clinicopathological characteristics of patients and lesions. In FM, CDKN2A mutations were detected in 8.3% of the families, including one undescribed exon 1β mutation (p.T31M), and their prevalence increased with the number of affected relatives within the family. MC1R variants were identified in 65% of the patients and the TERT rs2853669 promoter polymorphism was identified in 58% of the patients. A novel synonymous mutation detected in MITF exon 10 (c.861A>G, p.E287E), although predicted as a splice site mutation by computational tools, could not functionally be confirmed to alter splicing. For spMPM, 3% carried CDKN2A mutations, 79% carried MC1R variants, and 47% carried the TERT rs2853669 promoter polymorphism. MC1R variants were associated with fair skin type and light hair color both in FM and in spMPM, and with a reduction of age at diagnosis in FM patients. Mutations in CDK4 exon 2 and the POT1 p.S270N mutation were not detected. A low frequency of CDKN2A mutations and a high prevalence of MC1R variants characterize high-risk melanoma patients from Central Italy.

Kim JA, Hwang B, Park SN, et al.
Genomic Profile of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Korea Identified by Targeted Sequencing.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(12):e0167641 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is extremely rare in Asian countries and there has been one report on genetic changes for 5 genes (TP53, SF3B1, NOTCH1, MYD88, and BIRC3) by Sanger sequencing in Chinese CLL. Yet studies of CLL in Asian countries using Next generation sequencing have not been reported. We aimed to characterize the genomic profiles of Korean CLL and to find out ethnic differences in somatic mutations with prognostic implications. We performed targeted sequencing for 87 gene panel using next-generation sequencing along with G-banding and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) for chromosome 12, 13q14.3 deletion, 17p13 deletion, and 11q22 deletion. Overall, 36 out of 48 patients (75%) harbored at least one mutation and mean number of mutation per patient was 1.6 (range 0-6). Aberrant karyotypes were observed in 30.4% by G-banding and 66.7% by FISH. Most recurrent mutation (>10% frequency) was ATM (20.8%) followed by TP53 (14.6%), SF3B1 (10.4%), KLHL6 (8.3%), and BCOR (6.25%). Mutations of MYD88 was associated with moderate adverse prognosis by multiple comparisons (P = 0.055). Mutation frequencies of MYD88, SAMHD1, EGR2, DDX3X, ZMYM3, and MED12 showed similar incidence with Caucasians, while mutation frequencies of ATM, TP53, KLHL6, BCOR and CDKN2A tend to be higher in Koreans than in Caucasians. Especially, ATM mutation showed 1.5 fold higher incidence than Caucasians, while mutation frequencies of SF3B1, NOTCH1, CHD2 and POT1 tend to be lower in Koreans than in Caucasians. However, mutation frequencies between Caucasians and Koreans were not significantly different statistically, probably due to low number of patients. Collectively, mutational profile and adverse prognostic genes in Korean CLL were different from those of Caucasians, suggesting an ethnic difference, while profile of cytogenetic aberrations was similar to those of Caucasians.

Wu M, Lin Z, Li X, et al.
HULC cooperates with MALAT1 to aggravate liver cancer stem cells growth through telomere repeat-binding factor 2.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:36045 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The dysregulation of lncRNAs has increasingly been linked to many human diseases, especially in cancers. Our results demonstrate HULC, MALAT1 and TRF2 are highly expressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma tissues, and HULC plus MALAT1 overexpression drastically promotes the growth of liver cancer stem cells. Mechanistically, both HULC and MALAT1 overexpression enhanced RNA polII, P300, CREPT to load on the promoter region of telomere repeat-binding factor 2(TRF2), triggering the overexpression, phosphorylation and SUMOylation of TRF2. Strikingly, the excessive TRF2 interacts with HULC or MALAT1 to form the complex that loads on the telomeric region, replacing the CST/AAF and recruiting POT1, pPOT1, ExoI, SNM1B, HP1 α. Accordingly, the telomere is greatly protected and enlonged. Furthermore, the excessive HULC plus MALAT1 reduced the methylation of the TERC promoter dependent on TRF2, increasing the TERC expression that causes the increase of interplay between TRET and TERC. Ultimately, the interaction between RFC and PCNA or between CDK2 and CyclinE, the telomerase activity and the microsatellite instability (MSI) are significantly increased in the liver cancer stem cells. Our demonstrations suggest that haploinsufficiency of HULC/MALAT1 plays an important role in malignant growth of liver cancer stem cell.

De Summa S, Guida M, Tommasi S, et al.
Genetic profiling of a rare condition: co-occurrence of albinism and multiple primary melanoma in a Caucasian family.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(18):29751-29759 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple primary melanoma (MPM) is a rare condition, whose genetic basis has not yet been clarified. Only 8-12% of MPM are due to germline mutations of CDKN2A. However, other genes (POT1, BRCA1/2, MC1R, MGMT) have been demonstrated to be involved in predisposition to this pathology.To our knowledge, this is the first family study based on two siblings with the rare coexistence of MPM and oculocutaneous albinism (OCA), an autosomal recessive disease characterized by the absence or decrease in pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes.In this study, we evaluated genes involved in melanoma predisposition (CDKN2A, CDK4, MC1R, MITF, POT1, RB1, MGMT, BRCA1, BRCA2), pathogenesis (BRAF, NRAS, PIK3CA, KIT, PTEN), skin/hair pigmentation (MC1R, MITF) and in immune pathways (CTLA4) to individuate alterations able to explain the rare onset of MPM and OCA in indexes and the transmission in their pedigree.From the analysis of the pedigree, we were able to identify a "protective" haplotype with respect to MPM, including MGMT p.I174V alteration. The second generation offspring is under strict follow up as some of them have a higher risk of developing MPM according to our model.

Speedy HE, Kinnersley B, Chubb D, et al.
Germ line mutations in shelterin complex genes are associated with familial chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Blood. 2016; 128(19):2319-2326 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be familial; however, thus far no rare germ line disruptive alleles for CLL have been identified. We performed whole-exome sequencing of 66 CLL families, identifying 4 families where loss-of-function mutations in protection of telomeres 1 (

Guièze R, Pages M, Véronèse L, et al.
Telomere status in chronic lymphocytic leukemia with TP53 disruption.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(35):56976-56985 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), telomere dysfunction is associated with poor outcomes. TP53 is involved in cellular responses to dysfunctional telomeres, and its inactivation is the strongest adverse prognostic factor for CLL. Given the biological relationship between TP53 and telomeres, and their prognostic value, it is important to improve our understanding of the impact of TP53 alterations on telomeres. We performed a comprehensive study of the deletions and mutations of the TP53 gene and telomere parameters, including hTERT and the shelterin complex, in 115 CLL patients. We found that any type of TP53 alteration was associated with very short telomeres and high hTERT expression, independently of other biological CLL features. Patients with disrupted TP53 showed telomere deletions and chromosomal end-to-end fusions in cells with complex karyotypes. TP53 disruption was characterized by downregulation of shelterin genes. Interestingly, low expression of POT1, TPP1 and TIN2 was also found in some patients with wild-type TP53 and had an adverse impact on progression-free survival after standard genotoxic therapy. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that patients with disrupted TP53 have severe telomere dysfunction and high genomic instability. Thus, the telomeric profile could be tested as a biomarker in CLL patients treated with new therapeutic agents.

Karami S, Han Y, Pande M, et al.
Telomere structure and maintenance gene variants and risk of five cancer types.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 139(12):2655-2670 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomeres cap chromosome ends, protecting them from degradation, double-strand breaks, and end-to-end fusions. Telomeres are maintained by telomerase, a reverse transcriptase encoded by TERT, and an RNA template encoded by TERC. Loci in the TERT and adjoining CLPTM1L region are associated with risk of multiple cancers. We therefore investigated associations between variants in 22 telomere structure and maintenance gene regions and colorectal, breast, prostate, ovarian, and lung cancer risk. We performed subset-based meta-analyses of 204,993 directly-measured and imputed SNPs among 61,851 cancer cases and 74,457 controls of European descent. Independent associations for SNP minor alleles were identified using sequential conditional analysis (with gene-level p value cutoffs ≤3.08 × 10

An J, Wu M, Xin X, et al.
Inflammatory related gene IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ cooperates to determine liver cancer stem cells progression by altering telomere via heterochromatin protein 1-HOTAIR axis.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(31):50131-50149 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer stem cells are associated with tumor recurrence. IKK is a protein kinase that is composed of IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ. Herein, we demonstrate that IKKα plus IKKβ promoted and IKKγ inhibited liver cancer stem cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, IKKα plus IKKβ enhanced and IKKγ inhibited the interplay among HP1α, HP1β and HP1γ that competes for the interaction among HP1α, SUZ12, HEZ2. Therefore, IKKα plus IKKβ inhibited and IKKγ enhanced the activity of H3K27 methyltransferase SUZ12 and EZH2, which methylates H3K27 immediately sites on HOTAIR promoter region. Therefore, IKKα plus IKKβ increased and IKKγ decreased the HOTAIR expression. Strikingly, IKKα plus IKKβ decreases and IKKγ increases the HP1α interplays with DNA methyltransferase DNMT3b, which increases or decreases TERRA promoter DNA methylation. Thus IKKα plus IKKβ reduces and IKKγ increases to recruit TRF1 and RNA polymerase II deposition and elongation on the TERRA promoter locus, which increases or decreases TERRA expression. Furthermore, IKKα plus IKKβ decreases/increases and IKKγ increases/decreases the interplay between TERT and TRRRA/between TERT and TREC. Ultimately, IKKα plus IKKβ increases and IKKγ decreases the telomerase activity. On the other hand, at the telomere locus, IKKα plus IKKβ increases/drcreases and IKKγ decreases/increases TRF2, POT1, pPOT1, Exo1, pExo1, SNM1B, pSNM1B/CST-AAF binding, which keep active telomere regulatory genes and poised for telomere length. Strikingly, HOTAIR is required for IKKα plus IKKβ and IKKγ to control telomerase activity and telomere length. These observations suggest that HOTAIR operates the action of IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ in liver cancer stem cells. This study provides a novel basis to elucidate the oncogenic action of IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ and prompts that IKKα, IKKβ, IKKγ cooperate to HOTAR to be used as a novel therapeutic targets for liver cancer.

Chubb D, Broderick P, Dobbins SE, et al.
Rare disruptive mutations and their contribution to the heritable risk of colorectal cancer.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:11883 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) displays a complex pattern of inheritance. It is postulated that much of the missing heritability of CRC is enshrined in high-impact rare alleles, which are mechanistically and clinically important. In this study, we assay the impact of rare germline mutations on CRC, analysing high-coverage exome sequencing data on 1,006 early-onset familial CRC cases and 1,609 healthy controls, with additional sequencing and array data on up to 5,552 cases and 6,792 controls. We identify highly penetrant rare mutations in 16% of familial CRC. Although the majority of these reside in known genes, we identify POT1, POLE2 and MRE11 as candidate CRC genes. We did not identify any coding low-frequency alleles (1-5%) with moderate effect. Our study clarifies the genetic architecture of CRC and probably discounts the existence of further major high-penetrance susceptibility genes, which individually account for >1% of the familial risk. Our results inform future study design and provide a resource for contextualizing the impact of new CRC genes.

Herling CD, Klaumünzer M, Rocha CK, et al.
Complex karyotypes and KRAS and POT1 mutations impact outcome in CLL after chlorambucil-based chemotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy.
Blood. 2016; 128(3):395-404 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic instability is a feature of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with adverse prognosis. We hypothesized that chromosomal translocations or complex karyotypes and distinct somatic mutations may impact outcome after first-line chemoimmunotherapy of CLL patients. We performed metaphase karyotyping and next-generation sequencing (NGS) of 85 genes in pretreatment blood samples obtained from 161 patients registered for CLL11, a 3-arm phase 3 trial comparing frontline chlorambucil (Clb) vs Clb plus rituximab (Clb-R) or Clb plus obinutuzumab in CLL patients with significant comorbidity. Chromosomal aberrations as assessed by karyotyping were observed in 68.8% of 154 patients, 31.2% carried translocations, and 19.5% showed complex karyotypes. NGS revealed 198 missense/nonsense mutations and 76 small indels in 76.4% of patients. The most frequently mutated genes were NOTCH1, SF3B1, ATM, TP53, BIRC3, POT1, XPO1, and KRAS Sole chemotherapy, treatment with Clb-R, or genetic lesions in TP53 (9.9% of patients) and KRAS (6.2% of patients) were significantly associated with nonresponse to study therapy. In multivariate models, complex karyotypes and POT1 mutations (8.1% of patients) represented significant prognostic factors for an unfavorable survival, independently of IGHV mutation status, Binet stage, and serum β-2-microglobuline. Patients with the copresence of complex karyotypes and deletions/mutations involving TP53 demonstrated a particularly short survival. In summary, this is the first prospective, controlled study in CLL patients that shows a role of complex karyotype aberrations as an independent prognostic factor for survival after front-line therapy. Moreover, the study identifies mutations in KRAS and POT1 as novel determinants of outcome after chemoimmunotherapy using chlorambucil and anti-CD20 treatment.

Betti M, Aspesi A, Biasi A, et al.
CDKN2A and BAP1 germline mutations predispose to melanoma and mesothelioma.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 378(2):120-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
BAP1 germline mutations predispose to a cancer predisposition syndrome that includes mesothelioma, cutaneous melanoma, uveal melanoma and other cancers. This co-occurrence suggests that these tumors share a common carcinogenic pathway. To evaluate this hypothesis, we studied 40 Italian families with mesothelioma and/or melanoma. The probands were sequenced for BAP1 and for the most common melanoma predisposition genes (i.e. CDKN2A, CDK4, TERT, MITF and POT1) to investigate if these genes may also confer susceptibility to mesothelioma. In two out of six families with both mesothelioma and melanoma we identified either a germline nonsense mutation (c.1153C > T, p.Arg385*) in BAP1 or a recurrent pathogenic germline mutation (c.301G > T, p.Gly101Trp) in CDKN2A. Our study suggests that CDKN2A, in addition to BAP1, could be involved in the melanoma and mesothelioma susceptibility, leading to the rare familial cancer syndromes. It also suggests that these tumors share key steps that drive carcinogenesis and that other genes may be involved in inherited predisposition to malignant mesothelioma and melanoma.

Kim E, Ilic N, Shrestha Y, et al.
Systematic Functional Interrogation of Rare Cancer Variants Identifies Oncogenic Alleles.
Cancer Discov. 2016; 6(7):714-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Cancer genome characterization efforts now provide an initial view of the somatic alterations in primary tumors. However, most point mutations occur at low frequency, and the function of these alleles remains undefined. We have developed a scalable systematic approach to interrogate the function of cancer-associated gene variants. We subjected 474 mutant alleles curated from 5,338 tumors to pooled in vivo tumor formation assays and gene expression profiling. We identified 12 transforming alleles, including two in genes (PIK3CB, POT1) that have not been shown to be tumorigenic. One rare KRAS allele, D33E, displayed tumorigenicity and constitutive activation of known RAS effector pathways. By comparing gene expression changes induced upon expression of wild-type and mutant alleles, we inferred the activity of specific alleles. Because alleles found to be mutated only once in 5,338 tumors rendered cells tumorigenic, these observations underscore the value of integrating genomic information with functional studies.
SIGNIFICANCE: Experimentally inferring the functional status of cancer-associated mutations facilitates the interpretation of genomic information in cancer. Pooled in vivo screen and gene expression profiling identified functional variants and demonstrated that expression of rare variants induced tumorigenesis. Variant phenotyping through functional studies will facilitate defining key somatic events in cancer. Cancer Discov; 6(7); 714-26. ©2016 AACR.See related commentary by Cho and Collisson, p. 694This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 681.

Woollard WJ, Pullabhatla V, Lorenc A, et al.
Candidate driver genes involved in genome maintenance and DNA repair in Sézary syndrome.
Blood. 2016; 127(26):3387-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sézary syndrome (SS) is a leukemic variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and represents an ideal model for study of T-cell transformation. We describe whole-exome and single-nucleotide polymorphism array-based copy number analyses of CD4(+) tumor cells from untreated patients at diagnosis and targeted resequencing of 101 SS cases. A total of 824 somatic nonsynonymous gene variants were identified including indels, stop-gain/loss, splice variants, and recurrent gene variants indicative of considerable molecular heterogeneity. Driver genes identified using MutSigCV include POT1, which has not been previously reported in CTCL; and TP53 and DNMT3A, which were also identified consistent with previous reports. Mutations in PLCG1 were detected in 11% of tumors including novel variants not previously described in SS. This study is also the first to show BRCA2 defects in a significant proportion (14%) of SS tumors. Aberrations in PRKCQ were found to occur in 20% of tumors highlighting selection for activation of T-cell receptor/NF-κB signaling. A complex but consistent pattern of copy number variants (CNVs) was detected and many CNVs involved genes identified as putative drivers. Frequent defects involving the POT1 and ATM genes responsible for telomere maintenance were detected and may contribute to genomic instability in SS. Genomic aberrations identified were enriched for genes implicated in cell survival and fate, specifically PDGFR, ERK, JAK STAT, MAPK, and TCR/NF-κB signaling; epigenetic regulation (DNMT3A, ASLX3, TET1-3); and homologous recombination (RAD51C, BRCA2, POLD1). This study now provides the basis for a detailed functional analysis of malignant transformation of mature T cells and improved patient stratification and treatment.

Amin NA, Seymour E, Saiya-Cork K, et al.
A Quantitative Analysis of Subclonal and Clonal Gene Mutations before and after Therapy in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(17):4525-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)-associated gene mutations that influence CLL cell fitness and chemotherapy resistance should increase in clonal representation when measured before therapy and at relapse.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To uncover mutations associated with CLL relapse, we have performed whole-exome sequencing in a discovery cohort of 61 relapsed CLL patients identifying 86 recurrently mutated genes. The variant allele fractions (VAF) of 19 genes with mutations in ≥3 of 61 cases were measured in 53 paired pre- and posttreatment CLL samples sorted to purity using panel-based deep resequencing or by droplet digital PCR.
RESULTS: We identify mutations in TP53 as the dominant subclonal gene driver of relapsed CLL often demonstrating substantial increases in VAFs. Subclonal mutations in SAMHD1 also recurrently demonstrated increased VAFs at relapse. Mutations in ATP10A, FAT3, FAM50A, and MGA, although infrequent, demonstrated enrichment in ≥2 cases each. In contrast, mutations in NOTCH1, SF3B1, POT1, FBXW7, MYD88, NXF1, XPO1, ZMYM3, or CHD2 were predominantly already clonal prior to therapy indicative of a pretreatment pathogenetic driver role in CLL. Quantitative analyses of clonal dynamics uncover rising, stable, and falling clones and subclones without clear evidence that gene mutations other than in TP53 and possibly SAMHD1 are frequently selected for at CLL relapse.
CONCLUSIONS: Data in aggregate support a provisional categorization of CLL-associated recurrently mutated genes into three classes (i) often subclonal before therapy and strongly enriched after therapy, or, (ii) mostly clonal before therapy or without further enrichments at relapse, or, (iii) subclonal before and after therapy and enriching only in sporadic cases. Clin Cancer Res; 22(17); 4525-35. ©2016 AACR.

Takai H, Jenkinson E, Kabir S, et al.
A POT1 mutation implicates defective telomere end fill-in and telomere truncations in Coats plus.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(7):812-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Coats plus (CP) can be caused by mutations in the CTC1 component of CST, which promotes polymerase α (polα)/primase-dependent fill-in throughout the genome and at telomeres. The cellular pathology relating to CP has not been established. We identified a homozygous POT1 S322L substitution (POT1(CP)) in two siblings with CP. POT1(CP)induced a proliferative arrest that could be bypassed by telomerase. POT1(CP)was expressed at normal levels, bound TPP1 and telomeres, and blocked ATR signaling. POT1(CP)was defective in regulating telomerase, leading to telomere elongation rather than the telomere shortening observed in other telomeropathies. POT1(CP)was also defective in the maintenance of the telomeric C strand, causing extended 3' overhangs and stochastic telomere truncations that could be healed by telomerase. Consistent with shortening of the telomeric C strand, metaphase chromosomes showed loss of telomeres synthesized by leading strand DNA synthesis. We propose that CP is caused by a defect in POT1/CST-dependent telomere fill-in. We further propose that deficiency in the fill-in step generates truncated telomeres that halt proliferation in cells lacking telomerase, whereas, in tissues expressing telomerase (e.g., bone marrow), the truncations are healed. The proposed etiology can explain why CP presents with features distinct from those associated with telomerase defects (e.g., dyskeratosis congenita).

Johansson G, Andersson U, Melin B
Recent developments in brain tumor predisposing syndromes.
Acta Oncol. 2016; 55(4):401-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The etiologies of brain tumors are in the most cases unknown, but improvements in genetics and DNA screening have helped to identify a wide range of brain tumor predisposition disorders. In this review we are discussing some of the most common predisposition disorders, namely: neurofibromatosis type 1 and 2, schwannomatosis, rhabdoid tumor predisposition disorder, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin), tuberous sclerosis complex, von Hippel-Lindau, Li-Fraumeni and Turcot syndromes. Recent findings from the GLIOGENE collaboration and the newly identified glioma causing gene POT1, will also be discussed. Genetics. We will describe these disorders from a genetic and clinical standpoint, focusing on the difference in clinical symptoms depending on the underlying gene or germline mutation. Central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Most of these disorders predispose the carriers to a wide range of symptoms. Herein, we will focus particularly on tumors affecting the CNS and discuss improvements of targeted therapy for the particular disorders.

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