Gene Summary

Gene:RAG2; recombination activating gene 2
Aliases: RAG-2
Summary:This gene encodes a protein that is involved in the initiation of V(D)J recombination during B and T cell development. This protein forms a complex with the product of the adjacent recombination activating gene 1, and this complex can form double-strand breaks by cleaving DNA at conserved recombination signal sequences. The recombination activating gene 1 component is thought to contain most of the catalytic activity, while the N-terminal of the recombination activating gene 2 component is thought to form a six-bladed propeller in the active core that serves as a binding scaffold for the tight association of the complex with DNA. A C-terminal plant homeodomain finger-like motif in this protein is necessary for interactions with chromatin components, specifically with histone H3 that is trimethylated at lysine 4. Mutations in this gene cause Omenn syndrome, a form of severe combined immunodeficiency associated with autoimmune-like symptoms. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:V(D)J recombination-activating protein 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (21)

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.

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Leukaemia
  • Gene Expression
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA Primers
  • Apoptosis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • T-Cell Lymphoma
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Tumor Markers
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Genes, RAG-1
  • Cell Line
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Transfection
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Breast Cancer
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Knockout Mice
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Base Sequence
  • Genetic Recombination
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Chromosome 11
  • Adult T-Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Lung Cancer
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: RAG2 (cancer-related)

Daudigeos-Dubus E, LE Dret L, Rouffiac V, et al.
Establishment and characterization of new orthotopic and metastatic neuroblastoma models.
In Vivo. 2014 Jul-Aug; 28(4):425-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Treatment of metastatic neuroblastoma remains a challenge in pediatric oncology. Relevant preclinical models may improve exploration of oncogenesis and new therapies. We developed new orthotopic and metastatic models derived from stage 4 neuroblastoma.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Orthotopic and systemic models were established in BalbC Rag2(-/-)gammaC(-/-) mice following adrenal and intravenous injection of luciferase-transfected IMR-32 and IGR-N91 cells, respectively.
RESULTS: All four models exhibited 100% tumor take rate. Metastatic spread of orthotopic IMR-32-Luc cells was observed mainly to the lung, liver and bone; that of IGR-N91-Luc cells to liver, spleen and adrenals. Interestingly, systemic IMR-32-Luc cells metastasized rather to the lung, liver and bone, and IGR-N91-Luc to liver, lung, spleen and adrenals. Feasibility of non-invasive, real-time antitumor response evaluation was validated in the systemic models.
CONCLUSION: These neuroblastoma models with distinct patterns of metastatic spread represent relevant tools for exploring local and metastatic tumor cell tropism, mechanisms of spread and evaluating new cancer therapeutics.

Goto H, Kojima Y, Matsuda K, et al.
Efficacy of anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis with macrophages against primary effusion lymphoma.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(10):1836-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recently, the critical role of CD47 on the surface of resistant cancer cells has been proposed in their evasion of immunosurveillance. Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a subtype of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma that shows serous lymphomatous effusion in body cavities, especially in advanced acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). PEL is resistant to conventional chemotherapy and has a poor prognosis. In this study, we evaluated the effect of anti-CD47 antibody (Ab) on PEL in vitro and in vivo.
METHODS: Surface CD47 of PEL cell lines was examined by flow cytometry. Efficacy of knocking down CD47 or anti-CD47 Ab-mediated phagocytosis against PEL was evaluated using mouse peritoneal macrophages and human macrophages in vitro. Primary PEL cells were injected intraperitoneally into NOD/Rag-2/Jak3 double-deficient (NRJ) mice to establish a direct xenograft mouse model.
RESULTS: Surface CD47 of PEL cell lines was highly expressed. Knocking down CD47 and anti-CD47 Ab promoted phagocytic activities of macrophages in a CD47 expression-dependent manner in vitro. Treatment with anti-CD47 Ab inhibited ascite formation and organ invasion completely in vivo compared with control IgG-treated mice.
CONCLUSION: CD47 plays the pivotal role in the immune evasion of PEL cells in body cavities. Therapeutic antibody targeting of CD47 could be an effective therapy for PEL.

Decker S, Finter J, Forde AJ, et al.
PIM kinases are essential for chronic lymphocytic leukemia cell survival (PIM2/3) and CXCR4-mediated microenvironmental interactions (PIM1).
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(5):1231-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of the CXCR4 receptor is a hallmark of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and is important for CLL cell survival, migration, and interaction with their protective microenvironment. In acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), PIM1 was shown to regulate the surface expression of the CXCR4 receptor. Here, we show that PIM (proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus) kinases 1-3 are overexpressed and that the CXCR4 receptor is hyperphosphorylated on Ser339 in CLL compared with normal lymphocytes. Furthermore, CXCR4 phosphorylation correlates with PIM1 protein expression and PIM1 transcript levels in CLL. PIM kinase inhibition with three different PIM kinase inhibitors induced apoptosis in CLL cells independent of the presence of protective stromal cells. In addition, PIM inhibition caused dephosphorylation of the CXCR4 receptor on Ser339, resulting in enhanced ligand-dependent CXCR4 internalization and reduced re-externalization after withdrawal of CXCL12. Furthermore, PIM inhibition in CLL cells blocked CXCR4 functions, such as migration toward CXCL12- or CXCL12-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. In concordance, pretreatment of CLL cells with PIM kinase inhibitors strongly reduced homing of CLL cells toward the bone marrow and the spleen of Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice in vivo. Interestingly, the knockdown of PIM kinases in CLL cells demonstrated diverging functions, with PIM1 regulating CXCR4 surface expression and PIM2 and PIM3 as important for the survival of CLL cells. Our results show that PIM kinase inhibitors are an effective therapeutic option for CLL, not only by impairing PIM2/3-mediated CLL cell survival, but also by blocking the PIM1/CXCR4-mediated interaction of CLL cells with their protective microenvironment.

Lu Y, Wu Y, Feng X, et al.
CDK4 deficiency promotes genomic instability and enhances Myc-driven lymphomagenesis.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(4):1672-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The G1 kinase CDK4 is amplified or overexpressed in some human tumors and promotes tumorigenesis by inhibiting known tumor suppressors. Here, we report that CDK4 deficiency markedly accelerated lymphoma development in the Eμ-Myc transgenic mouse model of B lymphoma and that silencing or loss of CDK4 augmented the tumorigenic potential of Myc-driven mouse and human B cell lymphoma in transplant models. Accelerated disease in CDK4-deficient Eμ-Myc transgenic mice was associated with rampant genomic instability that was provoked by dysregulation of a FOXO1/RAG1/RAG2 pathway. Specifically, CDK4 phosphorylated and inactivated FOXO1, which prevented FOXO1-dependent induction of Rag1 and Rag2 transcription. CDK4-deficient Eμ-Myc B cells had high levels of the active form of FOXO1 and elevated RAG1 and RAG2. Furthermore, overexpression of RAG1 and RAG2 accelerated lymphoma development in a transplant model, with RAG1/2-expressing tumors exhibiting hallmarks of genomic instability. Evaluation of human tumor samples revealed that CDK4 expression was markedly suppressed, while FOXO1 expression was elevated, in several subtypes of human non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma. Collectively, these findings establish a context-specific tumor suppressor function for CDK4 that prevents genomic instability, which contributes to B cell lymphoma. Furthermore, our data suggest that targeting CDK4 may increase the risk for the development and/or progression of lymphoma.

Keerthivasan S, Aghajani K, Dose M, et al.
β-Catenin promotes colitis and colon cancer through imprinting of proinflammatory properties in T cells.
Sci Transl Med. 2014; 6(225):225ra28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The density and type of lymphocytes that infiltrate colon tumors are predictive of the clinical outcome of colon cancer. High densities of T helper 17 (T(H)17) cells and inflammation predict poor outcome, whereas infiltration by T regulatory cells (Tregs) that naturally suppress inflammation is associated with longer patient survival. However, the role of Tregs in cancer remains controversial. We recently reported that Tregs in colon cancer patients can become proinflammatory and tumor-promoting. These properties were directly linked with their expression of RORγt (retinoic acid-related orphan receptor-γt), the signature transcription factor of T(H)17 cells. We report that Wnt/β-catenin signaling in T cells promotes expression of RORγt. Expression of β-catenin was elevated in T cells, including Tregs, of patients with colon cancer. Genetically engineered activation of β-catenin in mouse T cells resulted in enhanced chromatin accessibility in the proximity of T cell factor-1 (Tcf-1) binding sites genome-wide, induced expression of T(H)17 signature genes including RORγt, and promoted T(H)17-mediated inflammation. Strikingly, the mice had inflammation of small intestine and colon and developed lesions indistinguishable from colitis-induced cancer. Activation of β-catenin only in Tregs was sufficient to produce inflammation and initiate cancer. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in effector T cells and/or Tregs is causatively linked with the imprinting of proinflammatory properties and the promotion of colon cancer.

Truong HH, Xiong J, Ghotra VP, et al.
β1 integrin inhibition elicits a prometastatic switch through the TGFβ-miR-200-ZEB network in E-cadherin-positive triple-negative breast cancer.
Sci Signal. 2014; 7(312):ra15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) through integrin adhesion receptors provide cancer cells with physical and chemical cues that act together with growth factors to support survival and proliferation. Antagonists that target integrins containing the β1 subunit inhibit tumor growth and sensitize cells to irradiation or cytotoxic chemotherapy in preclinical breast cancer models and are under clinical investigation. We found that the loss of β1 integrins attenuated breast tumor growth but markedly enhanced tumor cell dissemination to the lungs. When cultured in three-dimensional ECM scaffolds, antibodies that blocked β1 integrin function or knockdown of β1 switched the migratory behavior of human and mouse E-cadherin-positive triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells from collective to single cell movement. This switch involved activation of the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signaling network that led to a shift in the balance between miR-200 microRNAs and the transcription factor zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2), resulting in suppressed transcription of the gene encoding E-cadherin. Reducing the abundance of a TGFβ receptor, restoring the ZEB/miR-200 balance, or increasing the abundance of E-cadherin reestablished cohesion in β1 integrin-deficient cells and reduced dissemination to the lungs without affecting growth of the primary tumor. These findings reveal that β1 integrins control a signaling network that promotes an epithelial phenotype and suppresses dissemination and indicate that targeting β1 integrins may have undesirable effects in TNBC.

Kijima N, Hosen N, Kagawa N, et al.
Wilms' tumor 1 is involved in tumorigenicity of glioblastoma by regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(1):61-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The prognosis for patients with glioblastoma is very poor, despite intensive treatment, including surgery and chemoradiotherapy. Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1) is expressed in most glioblastoma samples, and immunotherapy targeting WT1 has proven to be effective in recurrent glioblastoma. However, the functional roles of WT1 in glioblastoma are not clear. To examine the functional roles of WT1 in glioblastoma, glioblastoma cell lines with reduced WT1 expression were generated using short hairpin RNA(shRNA)-expressing lentivirus. Proliferation of WT1-knockdown glioblastoma cells was significantly slower than control cells with high WT1 expression. In addition, apoptosis was increased in WT1-knockdown glioblastoma cells. Furthermore, WT1-knockdown glioblastoma cells, and control glioblastoma cells were intra-cranially injected into immunodeficient mice. In vivo tumor growth of WT1-knockdown glioblastoma cells was significantly reduced compared to control glioblastoma cells. These results show that WT1 is involved in glioblastoma cell proliferation and apoptosis and that this protein has oncogenic roles in glioblastoma.

El Behi M, Krumeich S, Lodillinsky C, et al.
An essential role for decorin in bladder cancer invasiveness.
EMBO Mol Med. 2013; 5(12):1835-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Muscle-invasive forms of urothelial carcinomas are responsible for most mortality in bladder cancer. Finding new treatments for invasive bladder tumours requires adequate animal models to decipher the mechanisms of progression, in particular the way tumours interact with their microenvironment. Herein, using the murine bladder tumour cell line MB49 and its more aggressive variant MB49-I, we demonstrate that the adaptive immune system efficiently limits progression of MB49, whereas MB49-I has lost tumour antigens and is insensitive to adaptive immune responses. Furthermore, we unravel a parallel mechanism developed by MB49-I to subvert its environment: de novo secretion of the proteoglycan decorin. We show that decorin overexpression in the MB49/MB49-I model is required for efficient progression, by promoting angiogenesis and tumour cell invasiveness. Finally, we show that these results are relevant to muscle-invasive human bladder carcinomas, which overexpress decorin together with angiogenesis- and adhesion/migration-related genes, and that decorin overexpression in the human bladder carcinoma cell line TCCSUP is required for efficient invasiveness in vitro. We thus propose decorin as a new therapeutic target for these aggressive tumours.

Gilmour AM, Abdulkhalek S, Cheng TS, et al.
A novel epidermal growth factor receptor-signaling platform and its targeted translation in pancreatic cancer.
Cell Signal. 2013; 25(12):2587-603 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced EGFR tyrosine kinase receptor activation in cancer cell survival responses has become a strategic molecular-targeting clinical therapeutic intent, but the failures of these targeted approaches in the clinical setting demand alternate strategies. Here, we uncover a novel neuraminidase-1 (Neu1) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) cross-talk in alliance with GPCR neuromedin B, which is essential for EGF-induced receptor activation and cellular signaling. Neu1 and MMP-9 form a complex with EGFR on the cell surface. Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), anti-Neu1 antibodies, broad range MMP inhibitor galardin (GM6001), neuromedin B GPCR specific antagonist BIM-23127, the selective inhibitor of whole heterotrimeric G-protein complex BIM-46174 and MMP-9 specific inhibitor dose-dependently inhibited Neu1 activity associated with EGF stimulated 3T3-hEGFR cells. Tamiflu, anti-Neu1 antibodies and MMP9i attenuated EGFR phosphorylation associated with EGF-stimulated cells. Preclinical data provide the proof-of-evidence for a therapeutic targeting of Neu1 with Tamiflu in impeding human pancreatic cancer growth and metastatic spread in heterotopic xenografts of eGFP-MiaPaCa-2 tumors growing in RAGxCγ double mutant mice. Tamiflu-treated cohort exhibited a reduction of phosphorylation of EGFR-Tyr1173, Stat1-Tyr701, Akt-Thr308, PDGFRα-Tyr754 and NFκBp65-Ser311 but an increase in phospho-Smad2-Ser465/467 and -VEGFR2-Tyr1175 in the tumor lysates from the xenografts of human eGFP-MiaPaCa-2 tumor-bearing mice. The findings identify a novel promising alternate therapeutic treatment of human pancreatic cancer.

Thong AE, Zhao H, Ingels A, et al.
Tissue slice grafts of human renal cell carcinoma: an authentic preclinical model with high engraftment rate and metastatic potential.
Urol Oncol. 2014; 32(1):43.e23-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Discovery of curative therapies for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is hampered by lack of authentic preclinical models. Tumorgrafts, generated by direct implantation of patient-derived tissues into mice, have demonstrated superior ability to predict therapeutic response. We evaluated "tissue slice grafts" (TSGs) as an improved tumorgraft model of RCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cores of fresh RCC were precision-cut at 300 µm and implanted under the renal capsule of RAG2(-/-)γC(-/-) mice. Engraftment rate, histology, biomarker expression, genetic fidelity, and metastatic potential were evaluated. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was tested as a noninvasive method to measure tumor volume, and response to a targeted therapy was determined.
RESULTS: All 13 cases of RCC engrafted and displayed characteristic histology and biomarkers. TSG volume quantified noninvasively by MRI highly correlated with graft weights, providing a unique tool for monitoring orthotopic growth. Moreover, in 2 cases, cancer cells from TSGs metastasized to clinically relevant sites, including bone. Microarray analysis and DNA sequencing demonstrated a high degree of correlation of global gene expression and von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) status between TSGs and parental tumors. Treatment of TSGs with sunitinib significantly decreased graft weight and mean vessel density compared with controls.
CONCLUSION: The TSG model of RCC faithfully recapitulates tumor pathology, gene expression, genetic mutation, and drug response. The high engraftment rate and metastatic potential of this authentic model, in conjunction with the ability to generate large first-generation animal cohorts and to quantitate tumor volume at the orthotopic site by MRI, proffer significant advantages compared with other preclinical platforms.

Storer NY, White RM, Uong A, et al.
Zebrafish rhabdomyosarcoma reflects the developmental stage of oncogene expression during myogenesis.
Development. 2013; 140(14):3040-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a pediatric malignancy thought to arise from the uncontrolled proliferation of myogenic cells. Here, we have generated models of rhabdomyosarcoma in the zebrafish by inducing oncogenic KRAS(G12D) expression at different stages during muscle development. Several zebrafish promoters were used, including the cdh15 and rag2 promoters, which drive gene expression in early muscle progenitors, and the mylz2 promoter, which is expressed in differentiating myoblasts. The tumors that developed differed in their ability to recapitulate normal myogenesis. cdh15:KRAS(G12D) and rag2:KRAS(G12D) fish developed tumors that displayed an inability to complete muscle differentiation as determined by histological appearance and gene expression analyses. By contrast, mylz2:KRAS(G12D) tumors more closely resembled mature skeletal muscle and were most similar to well-differentiated human rhabdomyosarcoma in terms of gene expression. mylz2:KRAS(G12D) fish showed significantly improved survival compared with cdh15:KRAS(G12D) and rag2:KRAS(G12D) fish. Tumor-propagating activity was enriched in myf5-expressing cell populations within all of the tumor types. Our results demonstrate that oncogenic KRAS(G12D) expression at different stages during muscle development has profound effects on the ability of tumor cells to recapitulate normal myogenesis, altering the tumorigenic capability of these cells.

Richter GH, Fasan A, Hauer K, et al.
G-Protein coupled receptor 64 promotes invasiveness and metastasis in Ewing sarcomas through PGF and MMP1.
J Pathol. 2013; 230(1):70-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastatic spread in Ewing sarcomas (ES) is frequent and haematogenous. G-protein coupled receptor 64 (GPR64), an orphan receptor with normal expression restricted to human epididymis is specifically over-expressed in ES among sarcoma, but also up-regulated in a number of carcinomas derived from prostate, kidney or lung. Inhibition of GPR64 expression in ES by RNA interference impaired colony formation in vitro and suppressed local tumour growth and metastasis in Rag2(-/-) γC (-/-) mice. Microarray analysis after GPR64 knock down revealed a GPR64-mediated repression of genes involved in neuronal development like SLIT, drosophila, homolog of, 2 (SLIT2), and genes regulating transcription including pre-B cell leukemia homeobox 2 (PBX2). Concurrently, the suppression of GPR64 increased ES susceptibility to TRAIL induced apoptosis. Moreover, a GPR64-mediated induction of placental growth factor (PGF) in ES was observed. PGF suppression by RNA interference resulted in a reduction of metastatic growth similar to that observed after GPR64 knock down. Importantly, inhibition of GPR64 as well as PGF expression was associated with a reduced expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 1 and invasiveness in vitro. Furthermore, MMP1 knock down abrogated lung metastasis in Rag2(-/-) γC (-/-) mice. Thus, GPR64 expression in ES maintains an immature phenotype that is less sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis and via its up-regulation of PGF and MMP1 orchestrates and promotes invasiveness and metastatic spread.

Beghini A, Corlazzoli F, Del Giacco L, et al.
Regeneration-associated WNT signaling is activated in long-term reconstituting AC133bright acute myeloid leukemia cells.
Neoplasia. 2012; 14(12):1236-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous clonal disorder characterized by two molecularly distinct self-renewing leukemic stem cell (LSC) populations most closely related to normal progenitors and organized as a hierarchy. A requirement for WNT/β-catenin signaling in the pathogenesis of AML has recently been suggested by a mouse model. However, its relationship to a specific molecular function promoting retention of self-renewing leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) in human remains elusive. To identify transcriptional programs involved in the maintenance of a self-renewing state in LICs, we performed the expression profiling in normal (n = 10) and leukemic (n = 33) human long-term reconstituting AC133(+) cells, which represent an expanded cell population in most AML patients. This study reveals the ligand-dependent WNT pathway activation in AC133(bright) AML cells and shows a diffuse expression and release of WNT10B, a hematopoietic stem cell regenerative-associated molecule. The establishment of a primary AC133(+) AML cell culture (A46) demonstrated that leukemia cells synthesize and secrete WNT ligands, increasing the levels of dephosphorylated β-catenin in vivo. We tested the LSC functional activity in AC133(+) cells and found significant levels of engraftment upon transplantation of A46 cells into irradiated Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice. Owing to the link between hematopoietic regeneration and developmental signaling, we transplanted A46 cells into developing zebrafish. This system revealed the formation of ectopic structures by activating dorsal organizer markers that act downstream of the WNT pathway. In conclusion, our findings suggest that AC133(bright) LSCs are promoted by misappropriating homeostatic WNT programs that control hematopoietic regeneration.

Nichele I, Zamò A, Bertolaso A, et al.
VR09 cell line: an EBV-positive lymphoblastoid cell line with in vivo characteristics of diffuse large B cell lymphoma of activated B-cell type.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(12):e52811 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: small B-cell neoplasms can show plasmacytic differentiation and may potentially progress to aggressive lymphoma (DLBCL). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection may cause the transformation of malignant cells in vitro.
DESIGN AND METHOD: we established VR09 cell line with plasmacytic differentiation, obtained from a case of atypical, non-CLL B-cell chronic lymphoproliferative disease with plasmacytic features. We used flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction, cytogenetic analysis and florescence in situ hybridization in the attempt at thoroughly characterizing the cell line. We showed VR09 tumorigenic potential in vivo, leading to the development of activated DLBCL with plasmacytic features.
RESULTS: VR09 cells displayed plasmacytic appearance and grew as spherical tumors when inoculated subcutaneously into immunodeficient Rag2(-/-) γ-chain(-/-) mice. VR09 cell line and tumors displayed the phenotype of activated stage of B cell maturation, with secretory differentiation (CD19+ CD20+ CD79a+ CD79b+/- CD138+ cyclin D1- Ki67 80% IgM+ IgD+ MUM1+ MNDA+ CD10- CD22+ CD23+ CD43+ K+, λ- Bcl2+ Bcl6-) and they presented episomal EBV genome, chromosome 12 trisomy, lack of c-MYC rearrangement and Myd88 gene mutation, presence of somatic hypermutation in the VH region, and wild-type p53.
CONCLUSION: This new EBV-positive cell line may be useful to further characterize in vivo activated DLBCL with plasmacytic features.

Nishana M, Raghavan SC
A non-B DNA can replace heptamer of V(D)J recombination when present along with a nonamer: implications in chromosomal translocations and cancer.
Biochem J. 2012; 448(1):115-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
The RAG (recombination-activating gene) complex is responsible for the generation of antigen receptor diversity by acting as a sequence-specific nuclease. Recent studies have shown that it also acts as a structure-specific nuclease. However, little is known about the factors regulating this activity at the genomic level. We show in the present study that the proximity of a V(D)J nonamer to heteroduplex DNA significantly increases RAG cleavage and binding efficiencies at physiological concentrations of MgCl(2). The position of the nonamer with respect to heteroduplex DNA was important, but not orientation. A spacer length of 18 bp between the nonamer and mismatch was optimal for RAG-mediated DNA cleavage. Mutations to the sequence of the nonamer and deletion of the nonamer-binding domain of RAG1 reinforced the role of the nonamer in the enhancement in RAG cleavage. Interestingly, partial mutation of the nonamer did not significantly reduce RAG cleavage on heteroduplex DNA, suggesting that even cryptic nonamers were sufficient to enhance RAG cleavage. More importantly, we show that the fragile region involved in chromosomal translocations associated with BCL2 (B-cell lymphoma 2) can be cleaved by RAGs following a nonamer-dependent mechanism. Hence our results from the present study suggest that a non-B DNA can replace the heptamer of RSS (recombination signal sequence) when present adjacent to nonamers, explaining the generation of certain chromosomal translocations in lymphoid malignancies.

Groen RW, Noort WA, Raymakers RA, et al.
Reconstructing the human hematopoietic niche in immunodeficient mice: opportunities for studying primary multiple myeloma.
Blood. 2012; 120(3):e9-e16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interactions within the hematopoietic niche in the BM microenvironment are essential for maintenance of the stem cell pool. In addition, this niche is thought to serve as a sanctuary site for malignant progenitors during chemotherapy. Therapy resistance induced by interactions with the BM microenvironment is a major drawback in the treatment of hematologic malignancies and bone-metastasizing solid tumors. To date, studying these interactions was hampered by the lack of adequate in vivo models that simulate the human situation. In the present study, we describe a unique human-mouse hybrid model that allows engraftment and outgrowth of normal and malignant hematopoietic progenitors by implementing a technology for generating a human bone environment. Using luciferase gene marking of patient-derived multiple myeloma cells and bioluminescent imaging, we were able to follow pMM cells outgrowth and to visualize the effect of treatment. Therapeutic interventions in this model resulted in equivalent drug responses as observed in the corresponding patients. This novel human-mouse hybrid model creates unprecedented opportunities to investigate species-specific microenvironmental influences on normal and malignant hematopoietic development, and to develop and personalize cancer treatment strategies.

Zhao X, Liu Z, Yu L, et al.
Global gene expression profiling confirms the molecular fidelity of primary tumor-based orthotopic xenograft mouse models of medulloblastoma.
Neuro Oncol. 2012; 14(5):574-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We previously showed that primary tumor-based orthotopic xenograft mouse models of medulloblastoma replicated the histopathological phenotypes of patients' original tumors. Here, we performed global gene expression profiling of 11 patient-specific xenograft models to further determine whether the xenograft tumors were molecularly accurate during serial subtransplantations in mouse brains and whether they represented all the molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma that were recently described. Analysis of the transcriptomes of 9 pairs of matched passage I xenografts and patients' tumors revealed high correlation coefficients (r(2) > 0.95 in 5 models, > 0.9 in 3 models, and > 0.85 in 1 model) and only identified 69 genes in which expressions were altered (FDR = 0.0023). Subsequent pair-wise comparisons between passage I, III, and V xenografts from the 11 models further showed that no dramatic alterations were introduced (r(2) > 0.9 in 8 models and > 0.8 in 3 models). The genetic abnormalities of each model were then identified through comparison with control RNAs from 5 normal cerebella and 2 fetal brains. Hierarchical clustering using 3 previously published molecular signatures showed that our models span the whole spectrum of molecular subtypes, including SHH (n = 2), WNT (n = 2), and the most recently identified group C (n = 4) and group D (n = 3). In conclusion, we demonstrated that the 11 orthotopic medulloblastoma xenograft models were molecularly faithful to the primary tumors, and our comprehensive collection of molecularly distinct animal models should serve as a valuable resource for the development of new targeted therapies for medulloblastoma.

Waanders E, Scheijen B, van der Meer LT, et al.
The origin and nature of tightly clustered BTG1 deletions in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia support a model of multiclonal evolution.
PLoS Genet. 2012; 8(2):e1002533 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recurrent submicroscopic deletions in genes affecting key cellular pathways are a hallmark of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). To gain more insight into the mechanism underlying these deletions, we have studied the occurrence and nature of abnormalities in one of these genes, the B-cell translocation gene 1 (BTG1), in a large cohort of pediatric ALL cases. BTG1 was found to be exclusively affected by genomic deletions, which were detected in 65 out of 722 B-cell precursor ALL (BCP-ALL) patient samples (9%), but not in 109 T-ALL cases. Eight different deletion sizes were identified, which all clustered at the telomeric site in a hotspot region within the second (and last) exon of the BTG1 gene, resulting in the expression of truncated BTG1 read-through transcripts. The presence of V(D)J recombination signal sequences at both sites of virtually all deletions strongly suggests illegitimate RAG1/RAG2-mediated recombination as the responsible mechanism. Moreover, high levels of histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3), which is known to tether the RAG enzyme complex to DNA, were found within the BTG1 gene body in BCP-ALL cells, but not T-ALL cells. BTG1 deletions were rarely found in hyperdiploid BCP-ALLs, but were predominant in other cytogenetic subgroups, including the ETV6-RUNX1 and BCR-ABL1 positive BCP-ALL subgroups. Through sensitive PCR-based screening, we identified multiple additional BTG1 deletions at the subclonal level in BCP-ALL, with equal cytogenetic distribution which, in some cases, grew out into the major clone at relapse. Taken together, our results indicate that BTG1 deletions may act as "drivers" of leukemogenesis in specific BCP-ALL subgroups, in which they can arise independently in multiple subclones at sites that are prone to aberrant RAG1/RAG2-mediated recombination events. These findings provide further evidence for a complex and multiclonal evolution of ALL.

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

Vilas-Zornoza A, Agirre X, Abizanda G, et al.
Preclinical activity of LBH589 alone or in combination with chemotherapy in a xenogeneic mouse model of human acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Leukemia. 2012; 26(7):1517-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) have been identified as therapeutic targets due to their regulatory function in chromatin structure and organization. Here, we analyzed the therapeutic effect of LBH589, a class I-II HDAC inhibitor, in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In vitro, LBH589 induced dose-dependent antiproliferative and apoptotic effects, which were associated with increased H3 and H4 histone acetylation. Intravenous administration of LBH589 in immunodeficient BALB/c-RAG2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice in which human-derived T and B-ALL cell lines were injected induced a significant reduction in tumor growth. Using primary ALL cells, a xenograft model of human leukemia in BALB/c-RAG2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice was established, allowing continuous passages of transplanted cells to several mouse generations. Treatment of mice engrafted with T or B-ALL cells with LBH589 induced an in vivo increase in the acetylation of H3 and H4, which was accompanied with prolonged survival of LBH589-treated mice in comparison with those receiving vincristine and dexamethasone. Notably, the therapeutic efficacy of LBH589 was significantly enhanced in combination with vincristine and dexamethasone. Our results show the therapeutic activity of LBH589 in combination with standard chemotherapy in pre-clinical models of ALL and suggest that this combination may be of clinical value in the treatment of patients with ALL.

Chan SR, Vermi W, Luo J, et al.
STAT1-deficient mice spontaneously develop estrogen receptor α-positive luminal mammary carcinomas.
Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(1):R16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Although breast cancers expressing estrogen receptor-α (ERα) and progesterone receptors (PR) are the most common form of mammary malignancy in humans, it has been difficult to develop a suitable mouse model showing similar steroid hormone responsiveness. STAT transcription factors play critical roles in mammary gland tumorigenesis, but the precise role of STAT1 remains unclear. Herein, we show that a subset of human breast cancers display reduced STAT1 expression and that mice lacking STAT1 surprisingly develop ERα+/PR+ mammary tumors.
METHODS: We used a combination of approaches, including histological examination, gene targeted mice, gene expression analysis, tumor transplantaion, and immunophenotyping, to pursue this study.
RESULTS: Forty-five percent (37/83) of human ERα+ and 22% (17/78) of ERα- breast cancers display undetectable or low levels of STAT1 expression in neoplastic cells. In contrast, STAT1 expression is elevated in epithelial cells of normal breast tissues adjacent to the malignant lesions, suggesting that STAT1 is selectively downregulated in the tumor cells during tumor progression. Interestingly, the expression levels of STAT1 in the tumor-infiltrating stromal cells remain elevated, indicating that single-cell resolution analysis of STAT1 level in primary breast cancer biopsies is necessary for accurate assessment. Female mice lacking functional STAT1 spontaneously develop mammary adenocarcinomas that comprise > 90% ERα+/PR+ tumor cells, and depend on estrogen for tumor engraftment and progression. Phenotypic marker analyses demonstrate that STAT1-/- mammary tumors arise from luminal epithelial cells, but not myoepithelial cells. In addition, the molecular signature of the STAT1-/- mammary tumors overlaps closely to that of human luminal breast cancers. Finally, introduction of wildtype STAT1, but not a STAT1 mutant lacking the critical Tyr701 residue, into STAT1-/- mammary tumor cells results in apoptosis, demonstrating that the tumor suppressor function of STAT1 is cell-autonomous and requires its transcriptional activity.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that STAT1 suppresses mammary tumor formation and its expression is frequently lost during breast cancer progression. Spontaneous mammary tumors that develop in STAT1-/- mice closely recapitulate the progression, ovarian hormone responsiveness, and molecular characteristics of human luminal breast cancer, the most common subtype of human breast neoplasms, and thus represent a valuable platform for testing novel treatments and detection modalities.

Mougiakakos D, Okita R, Ando T, et al.
High expression of GCLC is associated with malignant melanoma of low oxidative phenotype and predicts a better prognosis.
J Mol Med (Berl). 2012; 90(8):935-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are strongly implicated in melanoma development, and treatment with antioxidants has shown efficacy in suppressing malignant transition and progression. Here, we investigated the significance of the glutamate-L: -cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC) expression, a key regulator of glutathione synthesis, for malignant melanoma. A large set of melanoma cell lines (n = 36) was analyzed, and higher GCLC levels were associated with lower presence of intracellular ROS and interestingly also lower rates of cell proliferation. Moreover, treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine efficiently reduced the growth speed of several investigated malignant cells. In addition GCLC expression was significantly linked to a prominent set of cellular antioxidants, accounting for the observed lower basal levels of oxidative stress and higher antioxidative capacity. Key attributes defining the malignant phenotype of melanoma cells including survival, invasiveness, and switch from E-cadherin to N-cadherin expression were more prominent in cells with lower GCLC expression. Our findings were further corroborated by observations in Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-)mice, in which melanoma cells with lower GCLC expression depicted a dramatically stronger tumor growth. Furthermore, prognostic significance of GCLC expression was investigated in patients (n = 28) with advanced malignant melanoma. High tumor immunoreactivity for GCLC was a significant determinant for better 5-year overall survival. Conclusively, we show for the first time that GCLC may serve a dual role, as a surrogate marker for cellular redox state as well as malignant potential of melanoma cells. These promising results regarding its prognostic significance as well as its potential as a pharmacological target require further in-depth investigations.

Raheem O, Kulidjian AA, Wu C, et al.
A novel patient-derived intra-femoral xenograft model of bone metastatic prostate cancer that recapitulates mixed osteolytic and osteoblastic lesions.
J Transl Med. 2011; 9:185 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Prostate cancer metastasizes to bone in the majority of patients with advanced disease leading to painfully debilitating fractures, spinal compression and rapid decline. In addition, prostate cancer bone metastases often become resistant to standard therapies including androgen deprivation, radiation and chemotherapy. There are currently few models to elucidate mechanisms of interaction between the bone microenvironment and prostate cancer. It is, thus, essential to develop new patient-derived, orthotopic models. Here we report the development and characterization of PCSD1 (Prostate Cancer San Diego 1), a novel patient-derived intra-femoral xenograft model of prostate bone metastatic cancer that recapitulates mixed osteolytic and osteoblastic lesions.
METHODS: A femoral bone metastasis of prostate cancer was removed during hemiarthroplasty and transplanted into Rag2(-/-);γc(-/-) mice either intra-femorally or sub-cutaneously. Xenograft tumors that developed were analyzed for prostate cancer biomarker expression using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Osteoblastic, osteolytic and mixed lesion formation was measured using micro-computed tomography (microCT).
RESULTS: PCSD1 cells isolated directly from the patient formed tumors in all mice that were transplanted intra-femorally or sub-cutaneously into Rag2(-/-);γc(-/-) mice. Xenograft tumors expressed human prostate specific antigen (PSA) in RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analyses. PCSD1 tumors also expressed AR, NKX3.1, Keratins 8 and 18, and AMACR. Histologic and microCT analyses revealed that intra-femoral PCSD1 xenograft tumors formed mixed osteolytic and osteoblastic lesions. PCSD1 tumors have been serially passaged in mice as xenografts intra-femorally or sub-cutaneously as well as grown in culture.
CONCLUSIONS: PCSD1 xenografts tumors were characterized as advanced, luminal epithelial prostate cancer from a bone metastasis using RT-PCR and immunohistochemical biomarker analyses. PCSD1 intra-femoral xenografts formed mixed osteoblastic/osteolytic lesions that closely resembled the bone lesions in the patient. PCSD1 is a new primary prostate cancer bone metastasis-derived xenograft model to study metastatic disease in the bone and to develop novel therapies for inhibiting prostate cancer growth in the bone-niche.

Villaudy J, Wencker M, Gadot N, et al.
HTLV-1 propels thymic human T cell development in "human immune system" Rag2⁻/⁻ gamma c⁻/⁻ mice.
PLoS Pathog. 2011; 7(9):e1002231 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alteration of early haematopoietic development is thought to be responsible for the onset of immature leukemias and lymphomas. We have previously demonstrated that Tax(HTLV-1) interferes with ß-selection, an important checkpoint of early thymopoiesis, indicating that human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection has the potential to perturb thymic human αβ T-cell development. To verify that inference and to clarify the impact of HTLV-1 infection on human T-cell development, we investigated the in vivo effects of HTLV-1 infection in a "Human Immune System" (HIS) Rag2⁻/⁻γ(c)⁻/⁻ mouse model. These mice were infected with HTLV-1, at a time when the three main subpopulations of human thymocytes have been detected. In all but two inoculated mice, the HTLV-1 provirus was found integrated in thymocytes; the proviral load increased with the length of the infection period. In the HTLV-1-infected mice we observed alterations in human T-cell development, the extent of which correlated with the proviral load. Thus, in the thymus of HTLV-1-infected HIS Rag2⁻/⁻γc⁻/⁻ mice, mature single-positive (SP) CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ cells were most numerous, at the expense of immature and double-positive (DP) thymocytes. These SP cells also accumulated in the spleen. Human lymphocytes from thymus and spleen were activated, as shown by the expression of CD25: this activation was correlated with the presence of tax mRNA and with increased expression of NF-kB dependent genes such as bfl-1, an anti-apoptotic gene, in thymocytes. Finally, hepato-splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy and lymphoma/thymoma, in which Tax was detected, were observed in HTLV-1-infected mice, several months after HTLV-1 infection. These results demonstrate the potential of the HIS Rag2⁻/⁻γ(c)⁻/⁻ animal model to elucidate the initial steps of the leukemogenic process induced by HTLV-1.

Qiu Y, Korteweg C, Chen Z, et al.
Immunoglobulin G expression and its colocalization with complement proteins in papillary thyroid cancer.
Mod Pathol. 2012; 25(1):36-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Except for the well-known immunoglobulin G (IgG) producing cell types, ie, mature B lymphocytes and plasma cells, various non-lymphoid cell types, including human cancer cells, neurons, and some specified epithelial cells, have been found to express IgG. In this study, we detected the expression of the heavy chain of IgG (IgGγ) and kappa light chain (Igκ) in papillary thyroid cancer cells. Using in situ hybridization, we detected the constant region of human IgG1 (IGHG1) in papillary thyroid cancer cells. With laser capture microdissection followed by RT-PCR, mRNA transcripts of IGHG1, Igκ, recombination activating gene 1 (RAG1), RAG2, and activation-induced cytidine deaminase genes were successfully amplified from isolated papillary thyroid cancer cells. We further confirmed IgG protein expression with immunohistochemistry and found that none of the IgG receptors was expressed in papillary thyroid cancer. Differences in the level of IgGγ expression between tumor size, between papillary thyroid cancer and normal thyroid tissue, as well as between papillary thyroid cancer with and without lymph node metastasis were significant. Taken together, these results indicate that IgG is produced by papillary thyroid cancer cells and that it might be positively related to the growth and metastasis of papillary thyroid cancer cells. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that IgGγ colocalized with complement proteins in the same cancer cells, which could indicate that immune complexes were formed. Such immune complexes might consist of IgG synthesized by the host against tumor surface antigens and locally produced anti-idiotypic IgG with specificity for the variable region of these 'primary' antibodies. The cancer cells might thus escape the host tumor-antigen-specific immune responses, hence promoting tumor progression.

Zhang L, Hu S, Korteweg C, et al.
Expression of immunoglobulin G in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas and its association with tumor grade and Ki67.
Hum Pathol. 2012; 43(3):423-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
We and other research groups have previously shown that various cancer types can express immunoglobulin G, but investigation on of immunoglobulin G expression in esophageal cancer, a highly malignant tumor, and its biological significance has been lacking. In this study, we examined immunoglobulin G protein and its messenger RNA, as well as the expressions of recombination-activating gene 1, recombination-activating gene 2, and activation-induced cytidine deaminase in 142 cases of esophageal cancer tissues, and 2 esophageal cancer cell lines (Eca109, SHEEC). We also compared their expressions with tumor grade and a proliferation marker, Ki67. We used immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, laser microdissection coupled with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot analysis. We detected transcripts of immunoglobulin G 1 heavy-chain constant region, immunoglobulin-κ and λ-light chains, immunoglobulin G variable region, and recombination-activating genes 1 and 2 in both esophageal cancer tissues and cell lines, whereas activation-induced cytidine deaminase was not detected. No immunoglobulin G receptor subtypes were detected. Statistic analysis revealed that immunoglobulin G expression correlated well with tumor grades (P < .001) and with the proliferation marker Ki67 (P < .001). Our results indicate that human esophageal cancer cells are capable of synthesizing immunoglobulin G, which is likely involved in the growth and proliferation of this highly malignant cancer and might also be used as a prognostic indicator in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas.

Giordano Attianese GM, Marin V, Hoyos V, et al.
In vitro and in vivo model of a novel immunotherapy approach for chronic lymphocytic leukemia by anti-CD23 chimeric antigen receptor.
Blood. 2011; 117(18):4736-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by an accumulation of mature CD19(+)CD5(+)CD20(dim) B lymphocytes that typically express the B-cell activation marker CD23. In the present study, we cloned and expressed in T lymphocytes a novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting the CD23 antigen (CD23.CAR). CD23.CAR(+) T cells showed specific cytotoxic activity against CD23(+) tumor cell lines (average lysis 42%) and primary CD23(+) CLL cells (average lysis 58%). This effect was obtained without significant toxicity against normal B lymphocytes, in contrast to CARs targeting CD19 or CD20 antigens, which are also expressed physiologically by normal B lymphocytes. Moreover, CLL-derived CD23.CAR(+) T cells released inflammatory cytokines (1445-fold more TNF-β, 20-fold more TNF-α, and 4-fold more IFN-γ). IL-2 was also produced (average release 2681 pg/mL) and sustained the antigen-dependent proliferation of CD23.CAR(+) T cells. Redirected T cells were also effective in vivo in a CLL Rag2(-/-)γ(c)(-/-) xenograft mouse model. Compared with mice treated with control T cells, the infusion of CD23.CAR(+) T cells resulted in a significant delay in the growth of the MEC-1 CLL cell line. These data suggest that CD23.CAR(+) T cells represent a selective immunotherapy for the elimination of CD23(+) leukemic cells in patients with CLL.

Basu I, Locker J, Cassera MB, et al.
Growth and metastases of human lung cancer are inhibited in mouse xenografts by a transition state analogue of 5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase.
J Biol Chem. 2011; 286(6):4902-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) salvage enzyme 5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) has been implicated as both a cancer target and a tumor suppressor. We tested these hypotheses in mouse xenografts of human lung cancers. AdoMet recycling from 5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA) was blocked by inhibition of MTAP with methylthio-DADMe-Immucillin-A (MTDIA), an orally available, nontoxic, picomolar transition state analogue. Blood, urine, and tumor levels of MTA increased in response to MTDIA treatment. MTDIA treatment inhibited A549 (human non-small cell lung carcinoma) and H358 (human bronchioloalveolar non-small cell lung carcinoma cells) xenograft tumor growth in immunodeficient Rag2(-/-)γC(-/-) and NCr-nu mice. Systemic MTA accumulation is implicated as the tumor-suppressive metabolite because MTDIA is effective for in vivo treatment of A549 MTAP(-/-) and H358 MTAP(+/+) tumors. Tumors from treated mice showed increased MTA and decreased polyamines but little alteration in AdoMet, methionine, or adenine levels. Gene expression profiles of A549 tumors from treated and untreated mice revealed only modest alterations with 62 up-regulated and 63 down-regulated mRNAs (≥ 3-fold). MTDIA antitumor activity in xenografts supports MTAP as a target for lung cancer therapy.

Ashworth TD, Pear WS, Chiang MY, et al.
Deletion-based mechanisms of Notch1 activation in T-ALL: key roles for RAG recombinase and a conserved internal translational start site in Notch1.
Blood. 2010; 116(25):5455-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Point mutations that trigger ligand-independent proteolysis of the Notch1 ectodomain occur frequently in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) but are rare in murine T-ALL, suggesting that other mechanisms account for Notch1 activation in murine tumors. Here we show that most murine T-ALLs harbor Notch1 deletions that fall into 2 types, both leading to ligand-independent Notch1 activation. Type 1 deletions remove exon 1 and the proximal promoter, appear to be RAG-mediated, and are associated with mRNA transcripts that initiate from 3' regions of Notch1. In line with the RAG dependency of these rearrangements, RAG2 binds to the 5' end of Notch1 in normal thymocytes near the deletion breakpoints. Type 2 deletions remove sequences between exon 1 and exons 26 to 28 of Notch1, appear to be RAG-independent, and are associated with transcripts in which exon 1 is spliced out of frame to 3' Notch1 exons. Translation of both types of transcripts initiates at a conserved methionine residue, M1727, which lies within the Notch1 transmembrane domain. Polypeptides initiating at M1727 insert into membranes and are subject to constitutive cleavage by γ-secretase. Thus, like human T-ALL, murine T-ALL is often associated with acquired mutations that cause ligand-independent Notch1 activation.

Richter-Larrea JA, Robles EF, Fresquet V, et al.
Reversion of epigenetically mediated BIM silencing overcomes chemoresistance in Burkitt lymphoma.
Blood. 2010; 116(14):2531-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
In Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia (BL), achievement of complete remission with first-line chemotherapy remains a challenging issue, as most patients who respond remain disease-free, whereas those refractory have few options of being rescued with salvage therapies. The mechanisms underlying BL chemoresistance and how it can be circumvented remain undetermined. We previously reported the frequent inactivation of the proapoptotic BIM gene in B-cell lymphomas. Here we show that BIM epigenetic silencing by concurrent promoter hypermethylation and deacetylation occurs frequently in primary BL samples and BL-derived cell lines. Remarkably, patients with BL with hypermethylated BIM presented lower complete remission rate (24% vs 79%; P = .002) and shorter overall survival (P = .007) than those with BIM-expressing lymphomas, indicating that BIM transcriptional repression may mediate tumor chemoresistance. Accordingly, by combining in vitro and in vivo studies of human BL-xenografts grown in immunodeficient RAG2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice and of murine B220(+)IgM(+) B-cell lymphomas generated in Eμ-MYC and Eμ-MYC-BIM(+/-) transgenes, we demonstrate that lymphoma chemoresistance is dictated by BIM gene dosage and is reversible on BIM reactivation by genetic manipulation or after treatment with histone-deacetylase inhibitors. We suggest that the combination of histone-deacetylase inhibitors and high-dose chemotherapy may overcome chemoresistance, achieve durable remission, and improve survival of patients with BL.

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