Gene Summary

Gene:SUZ12; SUZ12 polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit
Aliases: CHET9, JJAZ1
Summary:This zinc finger gene has been identified at the breakpoints of a recurrent chromosomal translocation reported in endometrial stromal sarcoma. Recombination of these breakpoints results in the fusion of this gene and JAZF1. The protein encoded by this gene contains a zinc finger domain in the C terminus of the coding region. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2009]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:polycomb protein SUZ12
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (14)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (1)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 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.

  • DNA Sequence Analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Histones
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • Chromosome 17
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Translocation
  • Transcriptome
  • Disease Progression
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • SUZ12
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Sulfites
  • Apoptosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Methylation
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transfection
  • Promoter Regions
  • Sequence Homology
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • S-Adenosylmethionine
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 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: SUZ12 (cancer-related)

Wassef M, Luscan A, Aflaki S, et al.
EZH1/2 function mostly within canonical PRC2 and exhibit proliferation-dependent redundancy that shapes mutational signatures in cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019; 116(13):6075-6080 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 26/09/2019 Related Publications
Genetic mutations affecting chromatin modifiers are widespread in cancers. In malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), which plays a crucial role in gene silencing, is inactivated through recurrent mutations in core subunits embryonic ectoderm development (EED) and suppressor of zeste 12 homolog (SUZ12), but mutations in PRC2's main catalytic subunit enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) have never been found. This is in contrast to myeloid and lymphoid malignancies, which harbor frequent loss-of-function mutations in EZH2. Here, we investigated whether the absence of EZH2 mutations in MPNST is due to a PRC2-independent (i.e., noncanonical) function of the enzyme or to redundancy with EZH1. We show that, in the absence of SUZ12, EZH2 remains bound to EED but loses its interaction with all other core and accessory PRC2 subunits. Through genetic and pharmacological analyses, we unambiguously establish that EZH2 is functionally inert in this context, thereby excluding a PRC2-independent function. Instead, we show that EZH1 and EZH2 are functionally redundant in the slowly proliferating MPNST precursors. We provide evidence that the compensatory function of EZH1 is alleviated upon higher proliferation. This work reveals how context-dependent redundancies can shape tumor-type specific mutation patterns in chromatin regulators.

Song Y, Wang R, Li LW, et al.
Long non-coding RNA HOTAIR mediates the switching of histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation to methylation to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in gastric cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(1):77-86 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 26/09/2019 Related Publications
HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA (HOTAIR), a well‑known long non‑coding RNA, plays an important role in the regulation of epithelial‑to‑mesenchymal transition (EMT). In this study, we propose a novel mechanism through which HOTAIR promotes EMT by switching histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation to methylation at the E‑cadherin promoter, which induces the transcriptional inhibition of E‑cadherin. HOTAIR recruits polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) to catalyze H3K27me3; however, whether HOTAIR is associated with the acetylation of histone H3 lysine 27, a marker of transcriptional activation, and the mechanisms through which HOTAIR triggers the metastasis of gastric cancer (GC) by epigenetic regulation remain largely unknown. In this study, HOTAIR knockdown significantly reversed EMT by increasing the expression of E‑cadherin in GC cells. Additionally, the loss of PRC2 activity induced by HOTAIR knockdown resulted in a global decrease in H3K27 methylation and an increase in H3K27 acetylation. Furthermore, HOTAIR recruits PRC2 (which consists of H3K27 methyltransferase EZH2, SUZ12 and EED), which may inhibit the reaction between the acetyltransferase CBP and H3K27 acetylation. On the whole, the findings of this study suggested that the HOTAIR‑mediated acetylation to methylation switch was associated with the transcriptional inhibition of E‑cadherin. HOTAIR can promote the development of GC through the epigenetic regulation of E‑cadherin, switching the state of the E‑cadherin promoter from the transcriptionally active to the transcriptionally repressive state.

Xu M, Wang S, Wang Y, et al.
Role of p38γ MAPK in regulation of EMT and cancer stem cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018; 1864(11):3605-3617 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
p38γ is a member of p38 MAPK family which contains four isoforms p38α, p38β, p38γ, and p38δ. p38γ MAPK has unique function and is less investigated. Recent studies revealed that p38γ MAPK may be involved in tumorigenesis and cancer aggressiveness. However, the underlying cellular/molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process that epithelial cancer cells transform to facilitate the loss of epithelial features and gain of mesenchymal phenotype. EMT promotes cancer cell progression and metastasis, and is involved in the regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) which have self-renewal capacity and are resistant to chemotherapy and target therapy. We showed that p38γ MAPK significantly increased EMT in breast cancer cells; over-expression of p38γ MAPK enhanced EMT while its down-regulation inhibited EMT. Meanwhile, p38γ MAPK augmented CSC population while knock down of p38γ MAPK decreased CSC ratio in breast cancer cells. MicroRNA-200b (miR-200b) was down-stream of p38γ MAPK and inhibited by p38γ MAPK; miR-200b mimics blocked p38γ MAPK-induced EMT while miR-200b inhibitors promoted EMT. p38γ MAPK regulated miR-200b through inhibiting GATA3. p38γ MAPK induced GATA3 ubiquitination, leading to its proteasome-dependent degradation. Suz12, a Polycomb group protein, was down-stream of miR-200b and involved in miR-200b regulation of EMT. Thus, our study established an important role of p38γ MAPK in EMT and identified a novel signaling pathway for p38γ MAPK-mediated tumor promotion.

Vitkeviciene A, Baksiene S, Borutinskaite V, Navakauskiene R
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and BIX-01294 have different impact on epigenetics and senescence modulation in acute and chronic myeloid leukemia cells.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2018; 838:32-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myeloid leukemia treatment is quite successful nowadays; nevertheless the development of new therapies is still necessary. In the present study, we investigated the potential of epigenetic modulators EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) and BIX-01294 (N-(1-benzylpiperidin-4-yl)-6,7-dimethoxy-2-(4-methyl-1,4-diazepan-1-yl)quinazolin-4-amine) to alter epigenetic state and cause cellular senescence in acute and chronic myeloid leukemia NB4 and K562 cells. We have shown that after leukemia cell treatment with EGCG and BIX-01294 the proliferation and survival were inhibited of both cell lines; however, only NB4 cells underwent apoptosis. Both epigenetic modulators caused cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase as assessed by RT-qPCR (p53, p21, Rb) and flow cytometry analysis. Increased levels of ATM, HMGA2, phosphorylated ATM, and SA-β-galactosidase staining indicated that EGCG caused cellular senescence, whereas BIX-01294 did not. Immunoblot analysis of epigenetic players DNMT1, HP1α, H3K9me3, EZH2, and SUZ12 demonstrated beneficial epigenetic modulation by both agents with exception of mainly no epigenetic changes caused in K562 cells by EGCG. Therefore, we suggest EGCG as a promising epigenetic modulator for acute promyelocytic leukemia therapy and as a potential cellular senescence inducer in both acute and chronic myeloid leukemia treatment, whereas BIX-01294 could be beneficial as an epigenetic modifier for both myeloid leukemias treatment.

Dickson BC, Lum A, Swanson D, et al.
Novel EPC1 gene fusions in endometrial stromal sarcoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(11):598-603 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometrial stromal sarcoma encompasses a heterogeneous group of uterine mesenchymal neoplasms, which are currently divided into low-grade and high-grade subtypes. Low-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma is morphologically bland; molecularly, these tumors frequently contain JAZF1-SUZ12, JAZF1-PHF1, and EPC1-PHF1 fusions. In contrast, high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma is characterized by morphologically undifferentiated neoplasms with high-grade nuclear features; these tumors likewise appear to be genetically diverse with YWHAE-NUTM2 and ZC3H7B-BCOR representing the most frequent gene fusions. Herein, we describe two novel EPC1 fusion genes in endometrial stromal sarcoma: EPC1-SUZ12 and EPC1-BCOR. Both tumors were characterized be an aggressive clinical course.

Leeksma AC, Taylor J, Wu B, et al.
Clonal diversity predicts adverse outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Leukemia. 2019; 33(2):390-402 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genomic analyses of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) identified somatic mutations and associations of clonal diversity with adverse outcomes. Clonal evolution likely has therapeutic implications but its dynamic is less well studied. We studied clonal composition and prognostic value of seven recurrently mutated driver genes using targeted next-generation sequencing in 643 CLL patients and found higher frequencies of mutations in TP53 (35 vs. 12%, p < 0.001) and SF3B1 (20 vs. 11%, p < 0.05) and increased number of (sub)clonal (p < 0.0001) mutations in treated patients. We next performed an in-depth evaluation of clonal evolution on untreated CLL patients (50 "progressors" and 17 matched "non-progressors") using a 404 gene-sequencing panel and identified novel mutated genes such as AXIN1, SDHA, SUZ12, and FOXO3. Progressors carried more mutations at initial presentation (2.5 vs. 1, p < 0.0001). Mutations in specific genes were associated with increased (SF3B1, ATM, and FBXW7) or decreased progression risk (AXIN1 and MYD88). Mutations affecting specific signaling pathways, such as Notch and MAP kinase pathway were enriched in progressive relative to non-progressive patients. These data extend earlier findings that specific genomic alterations and diversity of subclones are associated with disease progression and persistence of disease in CLL and identify novel recurrently mutated genes and associated outcomes.

Ju H, Zhang L, Mao L, et al.
A comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the long noncoding RNA expression profile in metastatic lymph nodes of oral mucosal melanoma.
Gene. 2018; 675:44-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIM: Oral mucosal melanoma (OMM) is a kind of malignancy with extremely rare morbidity. It exhibits a poorer biological behavior and clinical outcome compared with cutaneous melanoma. lncRNAs are endogenous cellular RNA transcripts with no protein-coding potential and are associated with oncogenesis through cis- or trans-acting mechanisms. Despite increased evidence that proved lncRNAs have vital roles in tumorigenesis of mucosal melanoma, little is known about their functions in the progress of lymph node dissemination of OMM.
METHOD: Here, we constructed a lncRNA and mRNA microarray using six metastatic lymph nodes and paired-matched non-metastatic lymph nodes. Then, we performed RT-PCR to validate the microarray data both in primary and metastases. We further constructed lncRNA and mRNA co-expressing networks and analyzed the biological functions by Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway analyses for dysregulated lncRNAs and mRNAs. Cis- and trans-regulation analysis were also performed to explore the specific mechanism of lncRNAs in OMM.
RESULT: Our results showed that 570 lncRNAs were upregulated with 292 lncRNAs downregulated in the metastatic OMM tissues. The results of RT-PCR were consistent with our microarray dataset both in primary and metastases. Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway analyses indicated that they play an important role in the melanin biosynthetic process, new growing cell tip and lysosomes in metastatic OMM. In the cis-regulation analysis, we observed metastasis-associated gene, PLEKHA5, the cis gene of lnc-AEBP2-1_1 and lnc-AEBP2-2_1, and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), the cis gene of SAMMSON_3, SAMMSON_5 and lnc-MITF-5_1. In the trans-regulation analysis, CTBP2 and SUZ12 regulated lncRNA expression in the core TF-lncRNA-gene network.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that lncRNAs may be involved in the metastasis of OMM, and further investigation is needed to focus on the biological functions and the underlining molecular mechanisms exerted by these dysregulated lncRNAs in OMM.

Rosset C, Vairo F, Cristina Bandeira I, et al.
Clinical and molecular characterization of neurofibromatosis in southern Brazil.
Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2018; 18(6):577-586 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Neurofibromatoses (type 1: NF1; type 2: NF2) are autosomal dominant tumor predisposition syndromes mostly caused by loss-of-function mutations in the tumor suppressor genes NF1 and NF2, respectively. Genotyping is important for correct diagnosis of these diseases. The authors aimed to characterize NF1 and NF2 variants in patients from Southern Brazil.
METHODS: Ninety-three unrelated probands with NF1 and 7 unrelated probands with NF2 features were recruited from an Oncogenetics center in Southern Brazil. Two next generation sequencing panels were customized to identify point mutations: NF1 (NF1, RNF135, and SUZ12 genes) and NF2 (NF2 and SMARCB1 genes). Large rearrangements were assessed by Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight heterozygous NF1 variants were identified in 75/93 probands (80%) and 3 heterozygous NF2 variants were identified in 3/7 probands (43%). In NF1, 59 (87%) variants were pathogenic (4 large rearrangements - 6%), 6 (9%) were likely pathogenic, 3 (4%) were variants of uncertain significance and 28 (41%) were novel. In NF2, all variants were pathogenic. No novel genotype-phenotype correlations were observed; however, previously described correlations were confirmed in our cohort.
CONCLUSION: The clinical and molecular characterization of neurofibromatoses in different populations is very important to provide further insights into the pathogenesis of these diseases.

Tsuyoshi H, Yoshida Y
Molecular biomarkers for uterine leiomyosarcoma and endometrial stromal sarcoma.
Cancer Sci. 2018; 109(6):1743-1752 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
Uterine leiomyosarcoma (u-LMS) and endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS) are among the most frequent soft tissue sarcomas, which, in adults, lead to fatal lung metastases and patients have an extremely poor prognosis. Due to their rarity and heterogeneity, there are no suitable biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis, although some biomarker candidates have appeared. In 2017, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network's work on u-LMS has confirmed mutations and deletions in RB1, TP53 and PTEN. In addition, whole-exome sequencing of u-LMS has confirmed and demonstrated frequent alterations in TP53, RB1, α-thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked (ATRX) and mediator complex subunit 12 (MED12). MED12 is a useful biomarker to diagnose uterine-derived LMS and tumors arising from (LM) with a relatively favorable prognosis. TP53 and ATRX mutations can be important mechanisms in the pathogenesis of u-LMS and are correlated with a poor prognosis. In an update based on the 2014 WHO classification, low-grade ESS is often associated with gene rearrangement bringing about the JAZF 1-SUZ12 (formerly JAZF1-JJAZ1) fusion gene, whereas high-grade ESS is associated with the YWHAE-NUTM fusion gene. Low-grade ESS with JAZF1 rearrangement may correlate with metastasis. However, high-grade ESS with metastasis with YWHAE rearrangement shows a relatively favorable prognosis. The genetic/molecular genetic aberrations in u-LMS and ESS are reviewed, focusing on molecular biomarkers for these primary and metastatic tumors.

Conway E, Jerman E, Healy E, et al.
A Family of Vertebrate-Specific Polycombs Encoded by the LCOR/LCORL Genes Balance PRC2 Subtype Activities.
Mol Cell. 2018; 70(3):408-421.e8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) consists of core subunits SUZ12, EED, RBBP4/7, and EZH1/2 and is responsible for mono-, di-, and tri-methylation of lysine 27 on histone H3. Whereas two distinct forms exist, PRC2.1 (containing one polycomb-like protein) and PRC2.2 (containing AEBP2 and JARID2), little is known about their differential functions. Here, we report the discovery of a family of vertebrate-specific PRC2.1 proteins, "PRC2 associated LCOR isoform 1" (PALI1) and PALI2, encoded by the LCOR and LCORL gene loci, respectively. PALI1 promotes PRC2 methyltransferase activity in vitro and in vivo and is essential for mouse development. Pali1 and Aebp2 define mutually exclusive, antagonistic PRC2 subtypes that exhibit divergent H3K27-tri-methylation activities. The balance of these PRC2.1/PRC2.2 activities is required for the appropriate regulation of polycomb target genes during differentiation. PALI1/2 potentially link polycombs with transcriptional co-repressors in the regulation of cellular identity during development and in cancer.

Przybyl J, Kidzinski L, Hastie T, et al.
Gene expression profiling of low-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma indicates fusion protein-mediated activation of the Wnt signaling pathway.
Gynecol Oncol. 2018; 149(2):388-393 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Low-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (LGESS) harbor chromosomal translocations that affect proteins associated with chromatin remodeling Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), including SUZ12, PHF1 and EPC1. Roughly half of LGESS also demonstrate nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, which is a hallmark of Wnt signaling activation. However, the targets affected by the fusion proteins and the role of Wnt signaling in the pathogenesis of these tumors remain largely unknown.
METHODS: Here we report the results of a meta-analysis of three independent gene expression profiling studies on LGESS and immunohistochemical evaluation of nuclear expression of β-catenin and Lef1 in 112 uterine sarcoma specimens obtained from 20 LGESS and 89 LMS patients.
RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that 143 out of 310 genes overexpressed in LGESS are known to be directly regulated by SUZ12. In addition, our gene expression meta-analysis shows activation of multiple genes implicated in Wnt signaling. We further emphasize the role of the Wnt signaling pathway by demonstrating concordant nuclear expression of β-catenin and Lef1 in 7/16 LGESS.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on our findings, we suggest that LGESS-specific fusion proteins disrupt the repressive function of the PRC2 complex similar to the mechanism seen in synovial sarcoma, where the SS18-SSX fusion proteins disrupt the mSWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin remodeling complex. We propose that these fusion proteins in LGESS contribute to overexpression of Wnt ligands with subsequent activation of Wnt signaling pathway and formation of an active β-catenin/Lef1 transcriptional complex. These observations could lead to novel therapeutic approaches that focus on the Wnt pathway in LGESS.

Makise N, Sekimizu M, Kubo T, et al.
Extraskeletal osteosarcoma: MDM2 and H3K27me3 analysis of 19 cases suggest disease heterogeneity.
Histopathology. 2018; 73(1):147-156 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Extraskeletal osteosarcoma (ESOS) is a sarcoma in the non-skeletal tissue that directly produces neoplastic osteoid or bone. De-differentiated liposarcoma (DDLPS) and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour (MPNST) are the two most common types of sarcoma that can harbour heterologous osteosarcomatous differentiation. We aimed to determine the potential relationship of ESOS to DDLPS and MPNST.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We investigated MDM2 and H3K27me3 status in 19 cases of ESOS, two of which contained a low-grade component. The ESOS affected deep soft tissues (n = 10), superficial soft tissues (n = 3) and organs (n = 6). Among 10 deep soft-tissue ESOS, six showed MDM2 amplification, four of which also harboured CDK4 co-amplification. Both ESOS with a low-grade component showed co-amplification for MDM2 and CDK4. Among the six organ-based ESOS three giant cell-rich ESOS showed an H3K27me3 deficiency (one in primary and two in metastatic sites). Using targeted next generation sequencing, an H3K27me3-deficient ESOS showed EED homozygous deletion, while none of the three showed alterations in NF1, CDKN2A or SUZ12 genes. During median follow-up of 20 months, all six patients with MDM2-amplified ESOS lived for 3-103 months, while two of the three patients with H3K27me3-deficient ESOS died from this disease in 4 and 20 months, respectively.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that ESOS may include at least two small subsets: an MDM2-amplified deep soft-tissue ESOS (which may be related to DDLPS) and an H3K27me3-deficient organ-based ESOS (which is probably unrelated to MPNST). Larger studies are required to validate the present observations and investigate the clinical implications of such subcategorisation.

Magnani E, Macchi F, Mancini M, et al.
UHRF1 regulates CDH1 via promoter associated non-coding RNAs in prostate cancer cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2018; 1861(3):258-270 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) transcribed from the promoter and the downstream region can affect the expression of the corresponding coding genes. It has been shown that sense-directed ncRNAs arising from the promoter region of the E-cadherin gene (CDH1) mediate its repression. Here, we show that an antisense-directed ncRNA (paRCDH1-AS) transcribed from the CDH1 promoter is necessary for its expression. paRCDH1-AS acts as a hooking scaffold by recruiting the epigenetic regulators, UHRF1, DNMT3A, SUV39H1 and SUZ12, involved in CDH1 repression. The binding of epigenetic regulators to paCRDH1-AS, indeed, prevents their localization to the chromatin on CDH1 promoter. Moreover, paRCDH1-AS silencing induces CDH1 repression and a switch of the epigenetic profile on the promoter towards a more closed chromatin. Using bioinformatic and experimental approaches we defined that the promoter of the paRCDH1-AS is shared with the E-cadherin gene, showing a bidirectional promoter activity. We found that UHRF1 controls both CDH1 and paRCDH1-AS by directly binding this bidirectional promoter region. Our study provides evidences, for the first time, that UHRF1 recruitment can be affected by promoter-associated non-coding RNAs, opening new perspective regarding the role of UHRF1 in these complex regulatory networks.

Lapthanasupkul P, Juengsomjit R, Poomsawat S, Arayapisit T
Expression profile of polycomb group proteins in odontogenic keratocyst and ameloblastoma.
Acta Histochem. 2018; 120(3):215-220 [PubMed] Related Publications
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are repressive chromatin modifiers required for proliferation and development. PcG proteins form two large repressive complexes, namely, Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 and 2. These proteins have been shown to drive tumorigenesis by repressing cell-type specific sets of target genes. Using immunohistochemistry, we investigated the expression patterns of five human PcG proteins, including Bmi-1, Ring1b, Mel-18, Ezh2, and Suz12, in various cellular components of odontogenic keratocysts (OKCs), ameloblastomas and, pericoronal follicles (PFs). In OKCs, expression of PcG proteins were found in the majority of cases while the expression pattern was relatively different for each PcG proteins. All PcG proteins were strongly expressed in the basal cells while some proteins showed variable expression in the parabasal and luminal cell layer of OKCs. In ameloblastomas, almost all PcG proteins showed a similar expression pattern of moderate to strong staining in the peripheral ameloblast-like cells and metaplastic squamous cells. Some of the central stellate reticulum-like cells also showed positive reaction to most PcG proteins. In PFs, most PcG proteins were intensely expressed in odontogenic epithelium lining the follicles, except Mel-18 and Suz12. The present study provides the initial evidence regarding epigenetic involvement by PcG proteins in these odontogenic lesions. Although these proteins are known to be in the same repressive group proteins, differential expression patterns of these proteins in OKCs and ameloblastomas indicates that these proteins may play different roles in pathogenesis of these odontogenic lesions.

Cho YJ, Kim SH, Kim EK, et al.
Prognostic implications of polycomb proteins ezh2, suz12, and eed1 and histone modification by H3K27me3 in sarcoma.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):158 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2; formed by EZH2, SUZ12, and EED protein subunits) and PRC1 (BMI1 protein) induce gene silencing through histone modification by H3K27me3. In the present study, we characterized the PRC expression pattern and its clinical implication in sarcoma.
METHODS: Using immunohistochemistry, we analyzed PRC expression in 105 sarcoma patients with 5 subtypes: synovial sarcoma (n = 18), rhabdomyosarcoma (n = 28), Ewing sarcoma (n = 15), osteosarcoma (n = 30), and others (n = 14).
RESULTS: The median age at diagnosis in the patient cohort was 26.8 years (range: 1-78 years) and the male-to-female ratio was 1:4. Initial disease presentation was locoregional disease in 83% of patients and initial metastatic disease in the remaining 17%. PRC expression was not significantly different according to histologic subtype (P = 0.400). Overall survival (OS) was significantly poor for SUZ12
CONCLUSION: We detected PRC expression in various sarcomas and demonstrated its independent negative prognostic role, suggesting the PRC axis as promising therapeutic target for treating sarcoma.

Agaimy A, Moskalev EA, Weisser W, et al.
Low-grade Endometrioid Stromal Sarcoma of the Paratestis: A Novel Report With Molecular Confirmation of JAZF1/SUZ12 Translocation.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2018; 42(5):695-700 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumors with Müllerian-like serous or mucinous phenotypes originating in the testis and its adnexa are rare neoplasms that have been increasingly recognized in recent years. Cystadenomas with or without ovarian-type stroma, borderline tumors, and adenocarcinomas are the main documented types. Although a handful cases of putative endometrioid adenocarcinomas have been reported, to our knowledge no case of endometrial stromal-type neoplasm has ever been reported in the literature. A 59-year-old man presented with a 2 cm left intrascrotal mass that was found on sonographic examination to arise from the epididymal tail with prominent vascularization. He was otherwise healthy without significant clinical history, endocrinopathy, or external hormone therapy. His testicular tumor markers (beta-HCG, AFP) were normal. Histologic examination of the resection showed a multinodular tumor closely associated with the epididymis and composed of monotonous rounded to ovoid cells with scanty cytoplasm and prominent spiral-like arterioles and capillaries. Mitotic activity was high. No other tumor component was seen. Immunohistochemistry revealed strong and diffuse expression of vimentin, CD10, estrogen receptor, and progesterone receptor. Molecular examination (performed on paraffin-embedded tumor tissue using a 517 gene fusion next-generation sequencing assay) showed a JAZF1/SUZ12 translocation, which was then confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). These findings are consistent with a low-grade endometrioid stromal sarcoma originating in the paratestis. This report represents a novel addition to the growing spectrum of Müllerian-analog testicular adnexal neoplasms.

Wan L, Xu K, Wei Y, et al.
Phosphorylation of EZH2 by AMPK Suppresses PRC2 Methyltransferase Activity and Oncogenic Function.
Mol Cell. 2018; 69(2):279-291.e5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
Sustained energy starvation leads to activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which coordinates energy status with numerous cellular processes including metabolism, protein synthesis, and autophagy. Here, we report that AMPK phosphorylates the histone methyltransferase EZH2 at T311 to disrupt the interaction between EZH2 and SUZ12, another core component of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), leading to attenuated PRC2-dependent methylation of histone H3 at Lys27. As such, PRC2 target genes, many of which are known tumor suppressors, were upregulated upon T311-EZH2 phosphorylation, which suppressed tumor cell growth both in cell culture and mouse xenografts. Pathologically, immunohistochemical analyses uncovered a positive correlation between AMPK activity and pT311-EZH2, and higher pT311-EZH2 correlates with better survival in both ovarian and breast cancer patients. Our finding suggests that AMPK agonists might be promising sensitizers for EZH2-targeting cancer therapies.

Hoang L, Chiang S, Lee CH
Endometrial stromal sarcomas and related neoplasms: new developments and diagnostic considerations.
Pathology. 2018; 50(2):162-177 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our understanding of endometrial stromal sarcomas has evolved dramatically since their earliest descriptions from over a century ago. Initial studies focused on establishing the relationship between histological appearances of endometrial stromal sarcomas and their clinical outcomes. Studies performed in the last decade have uncovered several recurrent cytogenetic aberrations occurring in low- and high-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas. Low-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas bear close histopathological resemblance to proliferative-type endometrial stroma, and approximately half harbour t(7;17)(p15;q21) resulting in JAZF1-SUZ12 gene fusion. Less common JAZF1-PHF1, EPC1-PHF1, MEAF6-PHF1, and MBTD1-CXorf67 fusions have also been reported. The term 'high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma' was recently re-introduced in the classification of endometrial stromal tumours after the discovery of t(10;17)(q22;p13) resulting in YWHAE-NUTM2A/B fusion and is associated with distinct morphological characteristics. This review highlights the evolution of endometrial stromal sarcoma classification schemes over time and describes the salient clinicopathological and molecular features of endometrial stromal nodule, low-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, and undifferentiated uterine sarcoma. It also describes the recent characterisation of endometrial stromal sarcoma with t(X;22)(p11;q13) resulting in ZC3H7B-BCOR fusion, a noteworthy entity due to its close histological resemblance to myxoid leiomyosarcoma. We also provide insights into common challenging scenarios encountered when assessing endometrial stromal lesions in daily surgical pathology practice.

Chen L, Alexe G, Dharia NV, et al.
CRISPR-Cas9 screen reveals a MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma dependency on EZH2.
J Clin Invest. 2018; 128(1):446-462 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
Pharmacologically difficult targets, such as MYC transcription factors, represent a major challenge in cancer therapy. For the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, amplification of the oncogene MYCN is associated with high-risk disease and poor prognosis. Here, we deployed genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 screening of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma and found a preferential dependency on genes encoding the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) components EZH2, EED, and SUZ12. Genetic and pharmacological suppression of EZH2 inhibited neuroblastoma growth in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, compared with neuroblastomas without MYCN amplification, MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas expressed higher levels of EZH2. ChIP analysis showed that MYCN binds at the EZH2 promoter, thereby directly driving expression. Transcriptomic and epigenetic analysis, as well as genetic rescue experiments, revealed that EZH2 represses neuronal differentiation in neuroblastoma in a PRC2-dependent manner. Moreover, MYCN-amplified and high-risk primary tumors from patients with neuroblastoma exhibited strong repression of EZH2-regulated genes. Additionally, overexpression of IGFBP3, a direct EZH2 target, suppressed neuroblastoma growth in vitro and in vivo. We further observed strong synergy between histone deacetylase inhibitors and EZH2 inhibitors. Together, these observations demonstrate that MYCN upregulates EZH2, leading to inactivation of a tumor suppressor program in neuroblastoma, and support testing EZH2 inhibitors in patients with MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.

Brohl AS, Kahen E, Yoder SJ, et al.
The genomic landscape of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors: diverse drivers of Ras pathway activation.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):14992 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma. To more fully characterize the genomic landscape of this tumor type, we performed next generation sequencing studies for mutational and copy number analysis. We analyzed whole exome sequencing data from 12 MPNST and SNP arrays for a subset of these. We additionally conducted a literature review of prior next generation sequencing studies in this disease and compared to the current study. We report recurrent mutations in NF1, SUZ12, EED, TP53 and CDKN2A in our study cohort. Combined with prior studies, we calculate the disease specific incidence of mutation in these genes to be: NF1 (56/64 = 87.5%). SUZ12 (69/123 = 56.1%), EED (40/123 = 32.5%), TP53 (29/72 = 40.3%), and CDKN2A (54/72 = 75.0%). Notably, we also identified frequent Ras pathway activating somatic mutations outside of these previously reported recurrently mutated genes. Five of the 12 MPNST in our cohort (42%) contained such a mutation. In conclusion, our study adds to the growing understanding of the genomic complexity of MPNST. We report a previously underappreciated frequency and variety of secondary or tertiary Ras pathway activating mutations, though not highly recurrent in a single gene.

León-González AJ, Jara-Palacios MJ, Abbas M, et al.
Role of epigenetic regulation on the induction of apoptosis in Jurkat leukemia cells by white grape pomace rich in phenolic compounds.
Food Funct. 2017; 8(11):4062-4069 [PubMed] Related Publications
Grape pomace is a rich source of phenolic compounds commonly employed for elaboration of dietary supplements. The aim of the present study was to investigate the anticancer effect of a purified white grape pomace extract (PWGPE) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia Jurkat cells and to characterize the underlying mechanism. Apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were assessed by flow cytometry and protein expression levels were analysed by Western blotting. PWGPE induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. The anticancer effect was associated with an increased expression of p73 and down-regulation of pro-survival factors, including p-Akt, Bcl-2, and survivin. PWGPE reduced the expression of several proteins that block the expression of apoptosis-related genes such as DNMT1, HDAC1/2, UHRF1, and the polycomb group protein members: EZH2, SUZ12, and BMI1. In addition, the extract induced the formation of ROS, whereas pre-treatment with PEG-catalase and N-acetylcysteine prevented the ROS formation and markedly decreased the induction of apoptosis. These findings suggest that PWGPE-induced apoptosis in Jurkat human leukemia cells, is mediated by mitochondrial depolarization and caspase-3 cleavage, and depends on ROS generation and regulation of epigenetic gene silencing. Therefore, PWGPE may play an important role in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Wang W, Xiao X, Chen X, et al.
Tumor-suppressive miR-145 co-repressed by TCF4-β-catenin and PRC2 complexes forms double-negative regulation loops with its negative regulators in colorectal cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 142(2):308-321 [PubMed] Related Publications
The frequently dysregulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling in different malignancies, by activation of its own or orchestration with other co-factors, regulates various oncogenic or tumor-suppressive genes. Among these genes, miRNAs, which are negative posttranscriptional regulators, are also embedded in the Wnt signaling network. Different from the Wnt-induced oncogenic miRNAs, the specific mechanism underlying the Wnt-repressed tumor-suppressive miRNAs is much less understood. In our study, firstly by analyzing a ChIP-seq dataset against TCF4, the core transcription factor for initiation of Wnt signaling in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, we screened out several tumor-suppressive miRNAs potentially regulated by Wnt signaling. Then through siRNA-mediated knock-down tests and protein and chromatin immunoprecipitations, we found the TCF4-β-catenin complex can recruit the histone trimethylation complex PRC2 as a co-repressor while binding to the TCF4-binding element (TBE) in the promoter regions of miR-145, miR-132 and miR-212. Thus, upon Wnt signaling activation, the PRC2-mediated trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 increases at these promoter regions, leading to decreased miRNA levels. Furthermore, we found that by targeting TCF4 and SUZ12, the key components of the negative regulation complexes, the tumor-suppressive miR-145 co-repressed by Wnt signaling and histone trimethylation, forms double-negative regulation loops with its negative regulators in CRC cells. And the inverse associations between miR-145 and its targets/negative regulators have also been demonstrated in nude mice and clinical samples. Collectively, we elucidated the detailed molecular mechanism of how dysregulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling and tumor-suppressive miRNAs reciprocally regulate each other in CRC cells.

Kedage V, Strittmatter BG, Dausinas PB, Hollenhorst PC
Phosphorylation of the oncogenic transcription factor ERG in prostate cells dissociates polycomb repressive complex 2, allowing target gene activation.
J Biol Chem. 2017; 292(42):17225-17235 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
In ∼50% of prostate cancers, chromosomal rearrangements cause the fusion of the promoter and 5'-UTR of the androgen-regulated

Jin L, Vu T, Yuan G, Datta PK
STRAP Promotes Stemness of Human Colorectal Cancer via Epigenetic Regulation of the NOTCH Pathway.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(20):5464-5478 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
NOTCH signaling exerts essential roles in normal and malignant intestinal physiology and the homeostasis of cancer stem-like cells (CSC), but the basis for this latter role remains obscure. The signaling scaffold protein STRAP is upregulated in several cancers, where it promotes tumorigenicity and metastasis. Here we report a novel oncogenic function for STRAP in maintaining CSC subpopulations in a heterogeneous mixture by antagonizing formation of the chromatin modifier PRC2 and by epigenetically activating NOTCH signals in human colorectal cancer. Silencing STRAP sensitized colorectal cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs

Ferrari L, Scuvera G, Tucci A, et al.
Identification of an atypical microdeletion generating the RNF135-SUZ12 chimeric gene and causing a position effect in an NF1 patient with overgrowth.
Hum Genet. 2017; 136(10):1329-1339 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) microdeletion syndrome, which is present in 4-11% of NF1 patients, is associated with a severe phenotype as it is caused by the deletion of NF1 and other genes in the 17q11.2 region. The variable expressivity of the disease makes it challenging to establish genotype-phenotype correlations, which also affects prognosis and counselling. We here describe a 3-year-old NF1 patient with an atypical deletion and a complex phenotype. The patient showed overgrowth, café au lait spots, inguinal freckling, and neurological abnormalities. The extent of the deletion was determined by means of array comparative genomic hybridisation, and its breakpoints were isolated by means of long-range polymerase chain reaction. Sequence analysis of the deletion junction fragment revealed the occurrence of an Alu-mediated recombination that led to the generation of a chimeric gene consisting of three exons of RNF135 and eleven exons of SUZ12. Interestingly, the deletion shares a common RNF135-centred region with another deletion described in a non-NF1 patient with overgrowth. In comparison with the normal RNF135 allele, the chimeric transcript was 350-fold over-expressed in peripheral blood, and the ADAP2 gene located upstream of RNF135 was also up-regulated. In line with this, the deletion causes the loss of a chromatin TD boundary, which entails the aberrant adoption of distal cis-acting regulatory elements. These findings suggest that RNF135 haploinsufficiency is related to overgrowth in patients with NF1 microdeletion syndrome and, for the first time, strongly indicate a position effect that warrants further genotype-phenotype correlation studies to investigate the possible existence of previously unknown pathogenic mechanisms.

Owosho AA, Estilo CL, Huryn JM, et al.
A Clinicopathologic Study of Head and Neck Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors.
Head Neck Pathol. 2018; 12(2):151-159 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
Head and neck high grade malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (HN-MPNSTs) are rare highly aggressive soft tissue sarcomas that show overlapping morphologic and immunophenotypic features with melanoma and other high grade sarcomas, resulting in diagnostic challenges, particularly in sporadic settings. Recent discoveries have implicated loss of function mutations in the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) components, including EED or SUZ12 genes, as one of the leading pathogenetic mechanisms in high grade MPNST. MPNSTs with PRC2 loss are associated with complete loss of trimethylation at lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3), which emerged as a reliable immunohistochemical marker in the diagnosis of sporadic and radiation induced MPNST. As the diagnosis of MPNST in the HN is particularly challenging to distinguish from melanoma and other sarcoma types, we carried out a clinicopathologic analysis on HN-MPNST patients managed at our institution over a 20-year period (1997-2016), using the latest diagnostic criteria including H3K27me3 staining and other molecular investigations. The overall survival of HN-MPNST was compared with other HN soft tissue sarcomas. The diagnosis of HN-MPNST was confirmed in 13 patients (seven males and six females), with a mean age of 31 years; with 3 (23%) patients being of pediatric age. The most common site was the neck soft tissue (77%). Two-thirds of patients (n = 9) had stigmata of NF1, three had prior radiotherapy and only one developed a de novo MPNST. All except one tumor (86%) tested showed loss of H3K27me3 expression, including all non-NF1 patients. The 2 and 5-year DSS rates were 50 and 30%. The 2-year DFS rate was 21%. Adverse predictors on DSS included adult age (p = 0.011), prior-history of RT (p = 0.003) and recurrence (p = 0.003). Compared to other molecularly confirmed subsets of HN sarcomas (Ewing and Ewing-like sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcoma), HN-MPNST had the worst overall survival (p < 0.0001). We conclude that HN-MPNSTs are highly aggressive sarcomas associated with an unfavorable outcome and the utility of H3K27me3 IHC stains in the evaluation of MPNST is a reliable ancillary diagnostic adjunct.

Qu Y, Yang Q, Liu J, et al.
c-Myc is Required for BRAF
Theranostics. 2017; 7(7):2092-2107 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications

Borutinskaitė V, Virkšaitė A, Gudelytė G, Navakauskienė R
Green tea polyphenol EGCG causes anti-cancerous epigenetic modulations in acute promyelocytic leukemia cells.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2018; 59(2):469-478 [PubMed] Related Publications
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been shown to possess diverse anti-cancerous properties. We demonstrated EGCG ability to inhibit acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cell proliferation and cause apoptosis. In addition, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed elevated expression of genes associated with cell cycle arrest and differentiation (p27, PCAF, C/EBPα, and C/EBPɛ). Furthermore, EGCG caused anti-cancerous epigenetic changes: downregulation of epigenetic modifiers DNMT1, HDAC1, HDAC2, and G9a was observed by RT-qPCR analysis. Reduced amount of H3K9me2 after treatment with EGCG confirmed G9a downregulation. Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) core components were also shown to be downregulated in gene and protein level. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis revealed that EGCG treatment enhanced hyperacetylated H4 and acetylated H3K14 histones binding to the promoter regions of p27, PCAF, C/EBPα, and C/EBPɛ and reduced binding effect to PRC2 core component genes EZH2, SUZ12, and EED. Our results indicate that EGCG, as cell proliferation inhibitor and epigenetic modifier, might be useful for APL treatment.

Zhang J, Wu W, Xu S, et al.
MicroRNA-105 inhibits human glioma cell malignancy by directly targeting SUZ12.
Tumour Biol. 2017; 39(6):1010428317705766 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma accounts for the majority of primary malignant brain tumors in adults and is highly aggressive. Although various therapeutic approaches have been applied, outcomes of glioma treatment remain poor. MicroRNAs are a class of small noncoding RNAs that function as regulators of gene expression. Accumulating evidence shows that microRNAs are associated with tumorigenesis and tumor progression. In this study, we found that miR-105 is significantly downregulated in glioma tissues and glioma cell lines. We identified suppressor of Zeste 12 homolog as a novel direct target of miR-105 and showed that suppressor of Zeste 12 homolog protein levels were inversely correlated with the levels of miR-105 expression in clinical specimens. Overexpression of miR-105 inhibited cell proliferation, tumorigenesis, migration, invasion, and drug sensitivity, whereas overexpression of suppressor of Zeste 12 homolog antagonized the tumor-suppressive functions of miR-105. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-105 plays a significant role in tumor behavior and malignant progression, which may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of glioma and other cancers.

Parfett CL, Desaulniers D
A Tox21 Approach to Altered Epigenetic Landscapes: Assessing Epigenetic Toxicity Pathways Leading to Altered Gene Expression and Oncogenic Transformation In Vitro.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(6) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2019 Related Publications
An emerging vision for toxicity testing in the 21st century foresees in vitro assays assuming the leading role in testing for chemical hazards, including testing for carcinogenicity. Toxicity will be determined by monitoring key steps in functionally validated molecular pathways, using tests designed to reveal chemically-induced perturbations that lead to adverse phenotypic endpoints in cultured human cells. Risk assessments would subsequently be derived from the causal in vitro endpoints and concentration vs. effect data extrapolated to human in vivo concentrations. Much direct experimental evidence now shows that disruption of epigenetic processes by chemicals is a carcinogenic mode of action that leads to altered gene functions playing causal roles in cancer initiation and progression. In assessing chemical safety, it would therefore be advantageous to consider an emerging class of carcinogens, the epigenotoxicants, with the ability to change chromatin and/or DNA marks by direct or indirect effects on the activities of enzymes (writers, erasers/editors, remodelers and readers) that convey the epigenetic information. Evidence is reviewed supporting a strategy for in vitro hazard identification of carcinogens that induce toxicity through disturbance of functional epigenetic pathways in human somatic cells, leading to inactivated tumour suppressor genes and carcinogenesis. In the context of human cell transformation models, these in vitro pathway measurements ensure high biological relevance to the apical endpoint of cancer. Four causal mechanisms participating in pathways to persistent epigenetic gene silencing were considered: covalent histone modification, nucleosome remodeling, non-coding RNA interaction and DNA methylation. Within these four interacting mechanisms, 25 epigenetic toxicity pathway components (SET1, MLL1, KDM5, G9A, SUV39H1, SETDB1, EZH2, JMJD3, CBX7, CBX8, BMI, SUZ12, HP1, MPP8, DNMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B, TET1, MeCP2, SETDB2, BAZ2A, UHRF1, CTCF, HOTAIR and ANRIL) were found to have experimental evidence showing that functional perturbations played "driver" roles in human cellular transformation. Measurement of epigenotoxicants presents challenges for short-term carcinogenicity testing, especially in the high-throughput modes emphasized in the Tox21 chemicals testing approach. There is need to develop and validate in vitro tests to detect both, locus-specific, and genome-wide, epigenetic alterations with causal links to oncogenic cellular phenotypes. Some recent examples of cell-based high throughput chemical screening assays are presented that have been applied or have shown potential for application to epigenetic endpoints.

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