BMP4

Gene Summary

Gene:BMP4; bone morphogenetic protein 4
Aliases: ZYME, BMP2B, OFC11, BMP2B1, MCOPS6
Location:14q22.2
Summary:This gene encodes a secreted ligand of the TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) superfamily of proteins. Ligands of this family bind various TGF-beta receptors leading to recruitment and activation of SMAD family transcription factors that regulate gene expression. The encoded preproprotein is proteolytically processed to generate each subunit of the disulfide-linked homodimer. This protein regulates heart development and adipogenesis. Mutations in this gene are associated with orofacial cleft and microphthalmia in human patients. The encoded protein may also be involved in the pathology of multiple cardiovascular diseases and human cancers. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2016]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:bone morphogenetic protein 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017

Ontology:

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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 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.

  • Messenger RNA
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Cell Movement
  • RTPCR
  • Transfection
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Risk Factors
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Base Sequence
  • Western Blotting
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • DNA Methylation
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Skin Cancer
  • VEGFA
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • siRNA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • RNA Interference
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • beta Catenin
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Chromosome 14
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Tumor Microenvironment
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: BMP4 (cancer-related)

Ampuja M, Alarmo EL, Owens P, et al.
The impact of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) on breast cancer metastasis in a mouse xenograft model.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 375(2):238-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) is a key regulator of cell proliferation and differentiation. In breast cancer cells, BMP4 has been shown to reduce proliferation in vitro and interestingly, in some cases, also to induce migration and invasion. Here we investigated whether BMP4 influences breast cancer metastasis formation by using a xenograft mouse model. MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were injected intracardially into mice and metastasis formation was monitored using bioluminescence imaging. Mice treated with BMP4 developed metastases slightly earlier as compared to control animals but the overall number of metastases was similar in both groups (13 in the BMP4 group vs. 12 in controls). In BMP4-treated mice, bone metastases were more common (10 vs. 7) but adrenal gland metastases were less frequent (1 vs. 5) than in controls. Immunostaining revealed no differences in signaling activation, proliferation rate, blood vessel formation, EMT markers or the number of cancer-associated fibroblasts between the treatment groups. In conclusion, BMP4 caused a trend towards accelerated metastasis formation, especially in bone. More work is needed to uncover the long-term effects of BMP4 and the clinical relevance of these findings.

Yoon JH, Choi SS, Kim O, et al.
Inactivation of NKX6.3 in the stomach leads to abnormal expression of CDX2 and SOX2 required for gastric-to-intestinal transdifferentiation.
Mod Pathol. 2016; 29(2):194-208 [PubMed] Related Publications
Intestinal metaplasia in gastric mucosa is considered a preneoplastic lesion that progresses to gastric cancer. However, the molecular networks underlying this lesion formation are largely unknown. NKX6.3 is known to be an important regulator in gastric mucosal epithelial differentiation. In this study, we characterized the effects of NKX6.3 that may contribute to gastric intestinal metaplasia. NKX6.3 expression was significantly reduced in gastric mucosae with intestinal metaplasia. The mRNA expression levels of both NKX6.3 and CDX2 predicted the intestinal metaplasia risk, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.9414 and 0.9971, respectively. Notably, the NKX6.3 expression level was positively and inversely correlated with SOX2 and CDX2, respectively. In stable AGS(NKX6.3) and MKN1(NKX6.3) cells, NKX6.3 regulated the expression of CDX2 and SOX2 by directly binding to the promoter regions of both genes. Nuclear NKX6.3 expression was detected only in gastric epithelial cells without intestinal metaplasia. Furthermore, NKX6.3-induced TWSG1 bound to BMP4 and inhibited BMP4-binding activity to BMPR-II. These data suggest that NKX6.3 might function as a master regulator of gastric differentiation by affecting SOX2 and CDX2 expression and the NKX6.3 inactivation may result in intestinal metaplasia in gastric epithelial cells.

Park WY, Hong BJ, Lee J, et al.
H3K27 Demethylase JMJD3 Employs the NF-κB and BMP Signaling Pathways to Modulate the Tumor Microenvironment and Promote Melanoma Progression and Metastasis.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(1):161-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histone methylation is a key epigenetic mark that regulates gene expression. Recently, aberrant histone methylation patterns caused by deregulated histone demethylases have been associated with carcinogenesis. However, the role of histone demethylases, particularly the histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27) demethylase JMJD3, remains largely uncharacterized in melanoma. Here, we used human melanoma cell lines and a mouse xenograft model to demonstrate a requirement for JMJD3 in melanoma growth and metastasis. Notably, in contrast with previous reports examining T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and hepatoma cells, JMJD3 did not alter the general proliferation rate of melanoma cells in vitro. However, JMJD3 conferred melanoma cells with several malignant features such as enhanced clonogenicity, self-renewal, and transendothelial migration. In addition, JMJD3 enabled melanoma cells not only to create a favorable tumor microenvironment by promoting angiogenesis and macrophage recruitment, but also to activate protumorigenic PI3K signaling upon interaction with stromal components. Mechanistic investigations demonstrated that JMJD3 transcriptionally upregulated several targets of NF-κB and BMP signaling, including stanniocalcin 1 (STC1) and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), which functioned as downstream effectors of JMJD3 in self-renewal and macrophage recruitment, respectively. Furthermore, JMJD3 expression was elevated and positively correlated with that of STC1 and CCL2 in human malignant melanoma. Moreover, we found that BMP4, another JMJD3 target gene, regulated JMJD3 expression via a positive feedback mechanism. Our findings reveal a novel epigenetic mechanism by which JMJD3 promotes melanoma progression and metastasis, and suggest JMJD3 as a potential target for melanoma treatment.

Sakaguchi H, Muramatsu H, Okuno Y, et al.
Aberrant DNA Methylation Is Associated with a Poor Outcome in Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0145394 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), an overlap of myelodysplastic / myeloproliferative neoplasm, is an intractable pediatric myeloid neoplasm. Epigenetic regulation of transcription, particularly by CpG methylation, plays an important role in tumor progression, mainly by repressing tumor-suppressor genes. To clarify the clinical importance of aberrant DNA methylation, we studied the hypermethylation status of 16 target genes in the genomes of 92 patients with JMML by bisulfite conversion and the pryosequencing technique. Among 16 candidate genes, BMP4, CALCA, CDKN2A, and RARB exhibited significant hypermethylation in 72% (67/92) of patients. Based on the number of hypermethylated genes, patients were stratified into three cohorts based on an aberrant methylation score (AMS) of 0, 1-2, or 3-4. In the AMS 0 cohort, the 5-year overall survival (OS) and transplantation-free survival (TFS) were good (69% and 76%, respectively). In the AMS 1-2 cohort, the 5-year OS was comparable to that in the AMS 0 cohort (68%), whereas TFS was poor (6%). In the AMS 3-4 cohort, 5-year OS and TFS were markedly low (8% and 0%, respectively). Epigenetic analysis provides helpful information for clinicians to select treatment strategies for patients with JMML. For patients with AMS 3-4 in whom hematopoietic stem cell transplantation does not improve the prognosis, alternative therapies, including DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and new molecular-targeting agents, should be established as treatment options.

Alarmo EL, Havunen R, Häyrynen S, et al.
Bone morphogenetic protein 4 regulates microRNA expression in breast cancer cell lines in diverse fashion.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2016; 55(3):227-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) is a remarkably powerful inhibitor of breast cancer cell proliferation, but it is also able to induce breast cancer cell migration in certain cellular contexts. Previous data demonstrate that BMP4 controls the transcription of a variety of protein-coding genes, but not much is known about microRNAs (miRNA) regulated by BMP4. To address this question, miRNA expression profiles following BMP4 treatment were determined in one mammary epithelial and seven breast cancer cell lines using microarrays. While the analysis revealed an extensive variation in differentially expressed miRNA across cell lines, four miRNAs (miR-16-5p, miR-106b-5p, miR-23a-3p, and miR-23b-3p) were commonly induced in a subset of breast cancer cells upon BMP4 treatment. Inhibition of their expression demonstrated an increase in BT-474 cell number, indicating that they possess tumor suppressive properties. However, with the exception of miR-106b-5p, these effects were independent of BMP4 treatment. Scratch assay with miR-16-5p and miR-106b-5p inhibitors on BMP4-treated MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in enhanced cell migration, suggesting that these miRNAs are engaged in BMP4-induced motility. Taken together, we have for the first time characterized the BMP4-induced miRNA expression profiles in breast cancer cell lines, showing that induced miRNAs contribute to the fine-tuning of proliferation and migration phenotypes.

Ho CM, Shih DT, Hsiao CC, et al.
Gene methylation of human ovarian carcinoma stromal progenitor cells promotes tumorigenesis.
J Transl Med. 2015; 13:367 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to investigate whether the DNA methylation of human ovarian carcinoma stromal progenitor cells (OCSPCs) could promote the tumorigenesis of ovarian carcinoma.
METHODS: OCSPCs were first isolated from fresh tumor tissues and ascites of ovarian cancer patients. In vivo and in vitro experiments on the effect of the OCSPCs on tumorigenesis and the effects of DNA demethylation on the OCSPCs were then performed.
RESULTS: The OCSPCs possessed self-renewal and multipotent differentiation capacity with elevated expressions of OCT4, NANOG, BMP2, BMP4, Rex-1, AC133 and TGF-β. The OCSPCs, when combined with tumor cells in vivo could promote tumor growth. The methylation profiles of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) were significantly higher in the OCSPCs than in ovarian cancer cells (p < 0.001). 5-aza-2-dC could alter the methylation levels of TSGs in OCSPCs and also inhibit the tumor promoting capabilities of the OCSPCs by decreasing the proliferation of tumors cells. The expression levels of TSGs were re-expressed by 5-aza-2-dC to inhibit the self-renewal and growth of OCSPCs.
CONCLUSIONS: OCSPCs with decreased TSG expressions in the ovarian tumor microenvironment were able to promote tumorigenesis which could be reversed by DNA demethylation. DNA demethylation reversing the expression of TSGs in OCSPCs may represent a potential therapeutic target for ovarian cancer.

Udhane SS, Flück CE
Regulation of human (adrenal) androgen biosynthesis-New insights from novel throughput technology studies.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2016; 102:20-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Androgens are precursors for sex steroids and are predominantly produced in the human gonads and the adrenal cortex. They are important for intrauterine and postnatal sexual development and human reproduction. Although human androgen biosynthesis has been extensively studied in the past, exact mechanisms underlying the regulation of androgen production in health and disease remain vague. Here, the knowledge on human androgen biosynthesis and regulation is reviewed with a special focus on human adrenal androgen production and the hyperandrogenic disorder of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Since human androgen regulation is highly specific without a good animal model, most studies are performed on patients harboring inborn errors of androgen biosynthesis, on human biomaterials and human (tumor) cell models. In the past, most studies used a candidate gene approach while newer studies use high throughput technologies to identify novel regulators of androgen biosynthesis. Using genome wide association studies on cohorts of patients, novel PCOS candidate genes have been recently described. Variant 2 of the DENND1A gene was found overexpressed in PCOS theca cells and confirmed to enhance androgen production. Transcriptome profiling of dissected adrenal zones established a role for BMP4 in androgen synthesis. Similarly, transcriptome analysis of human adrenal NCI-H295 cells identified novel regulators of androgen production. Kinase p38α (MAPK14) was found to phosphorylate CYP17 for enhanced 17,20 lyase activity and RARB and ANGPTL1 were detected in novel networks regulating androgens. The discovery of novel players for androgen biosynthesis is of clinical significance as it provides targets for diagnostic and therapeutic use.

Gul S, Murad S, Ehsan N, et al.
Transcriptional up-regulation of BMP-4 and BMPR-II genes in the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients: A pilot study.
Cancer Biomark. 2015; 15(5):551-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) belong to the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) super family, which are primarily known for their inherent role in osteogenesis and ontogenesis. Accumulating evidence suggests the regulatory role of BMP-4 in cellular proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and thus a possible oncogenic role.
OBJECTIVE: Variable cellular expression and in vitro functional assays are indicative of the involvement of BMP related signaling in Breast cancer (BC). The differential expression of BMP-4 in the peripheral blood of BC patients may therefore be considered as a potential biomarker. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate transcriptional expression of BMP-4 and its cognate receptor BMPR-II in the peripheral blood from the BC patients in relation to the healthy individuals.
METHODS: The expression pattern of BMP-4 and BMPR-II was analyzed in the blood of breast cancer patients (n = 22) and healthy controls (n = 22) through Semi Quantitative Reverse transcription Polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: An up-regulated expression of BMP-4 and BMPR-II was observed in the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients especially in the advanced-stage of the disease. Moreover, BMP-4 and BMPR-II expressions were found to be correlated.
CONCLUSION: The current preliminary results based on the transcriptional analysis suggest the prospective use of BMP4 as a biomarker, however further validation is required.

Kim JS, Kurie JM, Ahn YH
BMP4 depletion by miR-200 inhibits tumorigenesis and metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:173 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNA-200 (miR-200) suppresses the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of various cancer cells, including lung adenocarcinoma cells. We found that bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) was decreased in miR-200-overexpressing cells and epithelial-like lung cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the mechanism and role of BMP4 depletion by miR-200 in murine lung adenocarcinoma cells.
METHODS: BMP4 expression levels in murine lung cancer cells were measured by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blotting. Promoter and 3'-untranslated region (UTR) luciferase reporter assays were performed to discover the mechanism of regulation of BMP4 by miR-200. Murine lung cancer cells were transfected with Bmp4 shRNAs, which were then injected into syngeneic mice to measure their tumorigenic and metastatic potential and cultured on Matrigel to study the influence of BMP4 on 3-D acinus formation.
RESULTS: miR-200 down-regulated BMP4 via direct targeting of the GATA4 and GATA6 transcription factors that stimulate Bmp4 transcription. BMP4 up-regulated JAG2, an upstream factor of miR-200; therefore, JAG2, miR-200, and BMP4 form a regulatory loop. Bmp4 knockdown suppressed cancer cell growth, migration, and invasion and inhibited tumorigenesis and metastasis of lung cancer cells when injected into syngeneic mice. In addition, BMP4 was required for normal acinus formation in Matrigel 3-D culture of murine lung cancer cells, which may be mediated by MYH10, a downstream target of BMP4.
CONCLUSION: BMP4 functions as a pro-tumorigenic factor in a murine lung cancer model, and its transcription is regulated by miR-200 and GATA4/6. Thus, we propose that BMP4 and its antagonists may be suitable therapeutic targets for the treatment of lung cancer.

Qiu X, Hu B, Huang Y, et al.
Hypermethylation of ACP1, BMP4, and TSPYL5 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Their Potential Clinical Significance.
Dig Dis Sci. 2016; 61(1):149-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Aberrant methylation of specific genes is frequent event in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our present study aims to explore the methylation levels of acid phosphatase locus 1 (ACP1), bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), and testis-specific protein, Y-encoded-like 5 (TSPYL5) and their potential clinical applications in HCC.
METHODS: The methylation levels of ACP1, BMP4 and TSPYL5 were analyzed in 188 HCC tissues, 163 matched adjacent non-tumor tissues, and 29 normal liver tissues using a method of methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme-based quantitative PCR, and their associations with clinicopathological features and prognosis were evaluated.
RESULTS: Compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues and normal liver tissues, the methylation levels of ACP1, BMP4, and TSPYL5 were significantly increased in HCC tissues (All p < 0.0001). The methylation of each individual gene could distinguish HCC tissues well from adjacent non-tumor tissues with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) of 0.753, 0.785 and 0.917, respectively. Furthermore, a higher methylation of BMP4 was statistically associated with worse disease-free survival (p = 0.006) and might be an independent unfavorable factor for disease-free survival by univariate and multivariate analysis (p = 0.011, HR 3.431, 95 % CI 1.333-8.833).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that hypermethylation of ACP1, BMP4, and TSPYL5 are common events in HCC and could be used as potentially detectable biomarkers in HCC tissues. Moreover, BMP4 could be potentially served as a methylated biomarker to predict recurrence and metastasis after hepatectomy for HCC patients. However, their potential clinical application value need to be further clarified.

Binato R, de Almeida Oliveira NC, Du Rocher B, Abdelhay E
The molecular signature of AML mesenchymal stromal cells reveals candidate genes related to the leukemogenic process.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 369(1):134-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by myeloid precursor proliferation in the bone marrow, apoptosis reduction and differentiation arrest. Although there are several studies in this field, events related to disease initiation and progression remain unknown. The malignant transformation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) is thought to generate leukemic stem cells, and this transformation could be related to changes in mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSC) signaling. Thus, the aim of this work was to analyze the gene expression profile of hMSC from AML patients (hMSC-AML) compared to healthy donors hMSCs (hMSC-HD). The results showed a common molecular signature for all hMSC-AML. Other assays were performed with a large number of patients and the results confirmed a molecular signature that is capable of distinguishing hMSC-AML from hMSC-HD. Moreover, CCL2 and BMP4 genes encode secreted proteins that could affect HSCs. To verify whether these proteins are differentially expressed in AML patients, ELISA was performed with plasma samples. CCL2 and BMP4 proteins are differentially expressed in AML patients, indicating changes in hMSC-AML signaling. Altogether, hMSCs-AML signaling alterations could be an important factor in the leukemic transformation process.

Russell R, Perkhofer L, Liebau S, et al.
Loss of ATM accelerates pancreatic cancer formation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:7677 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with accumulation of particular oncogenic mutations and recent genetic sequencing studies have identified ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) mutations in PDAC cohorts. Here we report that conditional deletion of ATM in a mouse model of PDAC induces a greater number of proliferative precursor lesions coupled with a pronounced fibrotic reaction. ATM-targeted mice display altered TGFβ-superfamily signalling and enhanced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) coupled with shortened survival. Notably, our mouse model recapitulates many features of more aggressive human PDAC subtypes. Particularly, we report that low expression of ATM predicts EMT, a gene signature specific for Bmp4 signalling and poor prognosis in human PDAC. Our data suggest an intimate link between ATM expression and pancreatic cancer progression in mice and men.

Sharafeldin N, Slattery ML, Liu Q, et al.
A Candidate-Pathway Approach to Identify Gene-Environment Interactions: Analyses of Colon Cancer Risk and Survival.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic association studies have traditionally focused on associations between individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and disease. Standard analysis ignores interactions between multiple SNPs and environmental exposures explaining a small portion of disease heritability: the often-cited issue of "missing heritability."
METHODS: We present a novel three-step analytic framework for modeling gene-environment interactions (GEIs) between an angiogenesis candidate-gene pathway and three lifestyle exposures (dietary protein, smoking, and alcohol consumption) on colon cancer risk and survival. Logic regression was used to summarize the gene-pathway effects, and GEIs were modeled using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models. We analyzed data from 1541 colon cancer case patients and 1934 control subjects in the Diet, Activity and Lifestyle as a Risk Factor for Colon Cancer Study.
RESULTS: We identified five statistically significant GEIs for colon cancer risk. For risk interaction, odds ratios (ORINT) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were FLT1(rs678714) and BMP4(rs17563) and smoking (ORINT = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.41 and ORINT = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.10 to 2.32, respectively); FLT1(rs2387632 OR rs9513070) and protein intake (ORINT = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.77); KDR(rs6838752) and TLR2(rs3804099) and alcohol (ORINT = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.10 to 2.13 and ORINT = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.05 to 2.38, respectively). Three GEIs between TNF, BMP1, and BMPR2 genes and the three exposures were statistically significant at the 5% level in relation to colon cancer survival but not after multiple-testing adjustment.
CONCLUSIONS: Adopting a comprehensive biologically informed candidate-pathway approach identified GEI effects on colon cancer. Findings may have important implications for public health and personalized medicine targeting prevention and therapeutic strategies. Findings from this study need to be validated in other studies.

Prates J, Franco-Salla GB, Dinarte Dos Santos AR, et al.
ANXA1Ac₂₋₂₆ peptide reduces ID1 expression in cervical carcinoma cultures.
Gene. 2015; 570(2):248-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer in women worldwide and is associated with genetic alterations, infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), angiogenesis and inflammatory processes. The idea that inflammation is involved in tumorigenesis is supported by the frequent appearance of cancer in areas of chronic inflammation. On the other hand, the inflammatory response is controlled by the action of anti-inflammatory mediators, among these mediators, annexin A1 (ANXA1), a 37 kDa protein was detected as a modulator of inflammatory processes and is expressed by tumor cells. The study was carried out on the epithelial cancer cell line (SiHa) treated with the peptide of annexin A1 (ANXA1Ac2-26). We combined subtraction hybridization approach, Ingenuity Systems software and quantitative PCR, in order to evaluate gene expression influenced by ANXA1. We observed that ANXA1Ac2-26 inhibited proliferation in SiHa cells after 72h. In these cells, 55 genes exhibited changes in expression levels in response to peptide treatment. Six genes were selected and the expression results of 5 up-regulated genes (TPT1, LDHA, NCOA3, HIF1A, RAB13) and one down-regulated gene (ID1) were research by real time quantitative PCR. Four more genes (BMP4, BMPR1B, SMAD1 and SMAD4) of the ID1 pathway were investigated and only one (BMPR1B) shows the same down regulation. The data indicate the involvement of ANXA1Ac2-26 in the altered expression of genes involved in tumorigenic processes, which could potentially be applied as a therapeutic indicator of cervical cancer.

Tan PS, Nakagawa S, Goossens N, et al.
Clinicopathological indices to predict hepatocellular carcinoma molecular classification.
Liver Int. 2016; 36(1):108-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second most lethal cancer caused by lack of effective therapies. Although promising, HCC molecular classification, which enriches potential responders to specific therapies, has not yet been assessed in clinical trials of anti-HCC drugs. We aimed to overcome these challenges by developing clinicopathological surrogate indices of HCC molecular classification.
METHODS: Hepatocellular carcinoma classification defined in our previous transcriptome meta-analysis (S1, S2 and S3 subclasses) was implemented in an FDA-approved diagnostic platform (Elements assay, NanoString). Ninety-six HCC tumours (training set) were assayed to develop molecular subclass-predictive indices based on clinicopathological features, which were independently validated in 99 HCC tumours (validation set). Molecular deregulations associated with the histopathological features were determined by pathway analysis. Sample sizes for HCC clinical trials enriched with specific molecular subclasses were determined.
RESULTS: Hepatocellular carcinoma subclass-predictive indices were steatohepatitic (SH)-HCC variant and immune cell infiltrate for S1 subclass, macrotrabecular/compact pattern, lack of pseudoglandular pattern, and high serum alpha-foetoprotein (>400 ng/ml) for S2 subclass, and microtrabecular pattern, lack of SH-HCC and clear cell variants, and lower histological grade for S3 subclass. Macrotrabecular/compact pattern, a predictor of S2 subclass, was associated with the activation of therapeutically targetable oncogene YAP and stemness markers EPCAM/KRT19. BMP4 was associated with pseudoglandular pattern. Subclass-predictive indices-based patient enrichment reduced clinical trial sample sizes from 121, 184 and 53 to 30, 43 and 22 for S1, S2 and S3 subclass-targeting therapies respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Hepatocellular carcinoma molecular subclasses can be enriched by clinicopathological indices tightly associated with deregulation of therapeutically targetable molecular pathways.

Li SC, Shi H, Khan M, et al.
Roles of miR-196a on gene regulation of neuroendocrine tumor cells.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015; 412:131-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study aims at investigating miR-196a roles using in vitro models. miR-196a was detected in small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) and lung NETs. miR-196a target prediction analysis suggested HOXA9, HOXB7, LRP4 and RSPO2 genes for further investigation. The level of these four genes is detectable in SI-NET tissue specimens at different disease stages and serum samples of untreated and somatostatin analogs treated patients with liver metastases. A miR-196a inhibitor was used to silence its effects in NET cells. We show that the four target genes were significantly upregulated at transcriptional level in silenced NET cells. HOXA9, HOXB7, LRP4 and RSPO2 encoded proteins are also upregulated at translational level in miR-196a silenced NET cells. miR-196a downstream genes BMP4, ETS1, CTNNB1, FZD5, LRP5 and LRP6 were significantly upregulated at transcriptional level in miR-196a silenced CNDT2.5 and NCI-H727 cells. In addition, miR-196a clearly does not play a role in NET cell growth control.

Shi Y, Chen GB, Huang XX, et al.
Dragon (repulsive guidance molecule b, RGMb) is a novel gene that promotes colorectal cancer growth.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(24):20540-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and a major cause of cancer death. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying CRC initiation, growth and metastasis are poorly understood. Dragon (RGMb), a member of the repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) family, has been recently identified as a co-receptor for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, but the role of Dragon in CRC development is undefined. Here, we show that Dragon expression was increased in colon cancer tissues compared to control tissues in CAC mouse model and in human patients. Dragon promoted proliferation of CT26.WT and CMT93 colon cancer cells and accelerated tumor growth in the xenograft mouse model. Dragon's action on colon cancer development was mediated via the BMP4-Smad1/5/8 and Erk1/2 pathways. Therefore, our results have revealed that Dragon is a novel gene that promotes CRC growth through the BMP pathway. Dragon may be exploited as a potential therapeutic target for CRC treatment.

Micheli L, Ceccarelli M, Farioli-Vecchioli S, Tirone F
Control of the Normal and Pathological Development of Neural Stem and Progenitor Cells by the PC3/Tis21/Btg2 and Btg1 Genes.
J Cell Physiol. 2015; 230(12):2881-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
The PC3/Tis21/Btg2 and Btg1 genes are transcriptional cofactors belonging to the Btg/Tob family, which regulate the development of several cell types, including neural precursors. We summarize here the actions of these genes on neural precursors in the adult neurogenic niches and the cognitive defects associated when their expression is altered. We consider also recent findings implicating them in neural and non-neural tumors, since common developmental mechanisms are involved. PC3/Tis21 is required for the regulation of the maturation of stem and progenitor cells in the adult dentate gyrus and subventricular zone (SVZ), by controlling both their exit from the cell cycle and the ensuing terminal differentiation. Such actions are effected by regulating the expression of several genes, including cyclin D1, BMP4, Id3. In cerebellar precursors, however, PC3/Tis21 regulates chiefly their migration rather than proliferation or differentiation, with important implications for the onset of medulloblastoma, the cerebellar tumor. In fact PC3/Tis21 is a medulloblastoma-suppressor, as its overexpression in cerebellar precursors inhibits this tumor; PC3/Tis21 shows anti-tumor activity also in non-neural tumors. Btg1 presents a different functional profile, as it controls proliferation in adult stem/progenitor cells of dentate gyrus and SVZ, where is required to maintain their self-renewal and quiescence, but is apparently devoid of a direct control of their terminal differentiation or migration. Notably, physical exercise in Btg1-null mice rescues the loss of proliferative capability occurring in older stem cells. Both genes could be further investigated as therapeutical targets, namely, Btg1 in the process of aging and PC3/Tis21 as a tumor-suppressor.

Rajski M, Saaf A, Buess M
BMP2 response pattern in human lung fibroblasts predicts outcome in lung adenocarcinomas.
BMC Med Genomics. 2015; 8:16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bone morphogenetic proteins play important roles in development, morphogenesis and cancer. With this study we aimed to characterize the response of lung stromal fibroblasts to BMPs and their antagonists on a genome wide level and investigate its potential role in human lung adenocarcinomas.
METHODS: We used an ex vivo culture model and measured gene expression changes in human lung fibroblasts after stimulation with BMPs and their antagonists using HEEBO microarrays. The in vitro data were correlated with in vivo observations in published expression datasets of human lung adenocarcinomas.
RESULTS: We have systematically analyzed the response to BMP2, BMP4, BMP7 and their antagonists, Gremlin and Noggin, to define common and specific gene expression patterns. A BMP2 induced gene expression signature was defined, which is specific for stromal fibroblasts. Gene expression profiles from lung adenocarcinoma biopsies were analyzed to determine the prognostic significance of the "Fibroblast specific BMP2 induced gene list". This gene list successfully segregated patients with different prognostic outcome in 3 datasets. In a small dataset (Garber et al.) there was a strong trend for a worse prognosis of patients with adenocarcinomas of all stages over-expressing the "Fibroblast specific BMP2 induced gene list". In two larger datasets with stage I adenocarcinomas we observed a significantly worse disease-free (p = 0.002, Lee et al. and p = 0.002, Bhattacharjee et al.) and overall survival (p = 0.0002).
CONCLUSIONS: The effects of BMPs and their antagonists are heterogeneous in different cell types. The gene expression pattern induced by BMP2 in primary lung fibroblasts may predict outcomes of patients with lung adenocarcinomas.

Yang Y, Adachi K, Sheridan MA, et al.
Heightened potency of human pluripotent stem cell lines created by transient BMP4 exposure.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(18):E2337-46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) show epiblast-type pluripotency that is maintained with ACTIVIN/FGF2 signaling. Here, we report the acquisition of a unique stem cell phenotype by both human ES cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in response to transient (24-36 h) exposure to bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) plus inhibitors of ACTIVIN signaling (A83-01) and FGF2 (PD173074), followed by trypsin dissociation and recovery of colonies capable of growing on a gelatin substratum in standard medium for human PSCs at low but not high FGF2 concentrations. The self-renewing cell lines stain weakly for CDX2 and strongly for NANOG, can be propagated clonally on either Matrigel or gelatin, and are morphologically distinct from human PSC progenitors on either substratum but still meet standard in vitro criteria for pluripotency. They form well-differentiated teratomas in immune-compromised mice that secrete human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) into the host mouse and include small areas of trophoblast-like cells. The cells have a distinct transcriptome profile from the human PSCs from which they were derived (including higher expression of NANOG, LEFTY1, and LEFTY2). In nonconditioned medium lacking FGF2, the colonies spontaneously differentiated along multiple lineages, including trophoblast. They responded to PD173074 in the absence of both FGF2 and BMP4 by conversion to trophoblast, and especially syncytiotrophoblast, whereas an A83-01/PD173074 combination favored increased expression of HLA-G, a marker of extravillous trophoblast. Together, these data suggest that the cell lines exhibit totipotent potential and that BMP4 can prime human PSCs to a self-renewing alternative state permissive for trophoblast development. The results may have implications for regulation of lineage decisions in the early embryo.

Nagpal N, Ahmad HM, Chameettachal S, et al.
HIF-inducible miR-191 promotes migration in breast cancer through complex regulation of TGFβ-signaling in hypoxic microenvironment.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:9650 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The molecular mechanisms of hypoxia induced breast cell migration remain incompletely understood. Our results show that hypoxia through hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) brings about a time-dependent increase in the level of an oncogenic microRNA, miR-191 in various breast cancer cell lines. miR-191 enhances breast cancer aggressiveness by promoting cell proliferation, migration and survival under hypoxia. We further established that miR-191 is a critical regulator of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)-signaling and promotes cell migration by inducing TGFβ2 expression under hypoxia through direct binding and indirectly by regulating levels of a RNA binding protein, human antigen R (HuR). The levels of several TGFβ pathway genes (like VEGFA, SMAD3, CTGF and BMP4) were found to be higher in miR-191 overexpressing cells. Lastly, anti-miR-191 treatment given to breast tumor spheroids led to drastic reduction in spheroid tumor volume. This stands as a first report of identification of a microRNA mediator that links hypoxia and the TGFβ signaling pathways, both of which are involved in regulation of breast cancer metastasis. Together, our results show a critical role of miR-191 in hypoxia-induced cancer progression and suggest that miR-191 inhibition may offer a novel therapy for hypoxic breast tumors.

Videla Richardson GA, Garcia CP, Roisman A, et al.
Specific Preferences in Lineage Choice and Phenotypic Plasticity of Glioma Stem Cells Under BMP4 and Noggin Influence.
Brain Pathol. 2016; 26(1):43-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although BMP4-induced differentiation of glioma stem cells (GSCs) is well recognized, details of the cellular responses triggered by this morphogen are still poorly defined. In this study, we established several GSC-enriched cell lines (GSC-ECLs) from high-grade gliomas. The expansion of these cells as adherent monolayers, and not as floating neurospheres, enabled a thorough study of the phenotypic changes that occurred during their differentiation. Herein, we evaluated GSC-ECLs' behavior toward differentiating conditions by depriving them of growth factors and/or by adding BMP4 at different concentrations. After analyzing cellular morphology, proliferation and lineage marker expression, we determined that GSC-ECLs have distinct preferences in lineage choice, where some of them showed an astrocyte fate commitment and others a neuronal one. We found that this election seems to be dictated by the expression pattern of BMP signaling components present in each GSC-ECL. Additionally, treatment of GSC-ECLs with the BMP antagonist, Noggin, also led to evident phenotypic changes. Interestingly, under certain conditions, some GSC-ECLs adopted an unexpected smooth muscle-like phenotype. As a whole, our findings illustrate the wide differentiation potential of GSCs, highlighting their molecular complexity and paving a way to facilitate personalized differentiating therapies.

Zhuang W, Ge X, Yang S, et al.
Upregulation of lncRNA MEG3 Promotes Osteogenic Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Multiple Myeloma Patients By Targeting BMP4 Transcription.
Stem Cells. 2015; 33(6):1985-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by the impaired osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as important regulatory molecules in tumor-suppressor and oncogenic pathways. Here we showed that MSCs from MM expressed less lncRNA MEG3 relative to those from normal donors during osteogenic differentiation. To evaluate the effect of MEG3 on osteogenesis, bone marrow MSCs with enhanced or reduced MEG3 were prepared. We observed that MEG3 knockdown significantly reduced the expression of key osteogenic markers, including Runt-related transcription factor 2, osterix, and osteocalcin, while overexpression of MEG3 enhanced their expression. Additionally, MEG3 knockdown decreased BMP4 transcription. Here we showed that MEG3 was critical for SOX2 transcriptional repression of the BMP4. MEG3, which is located near the BMP4 gene, could dissociate the transcription factor SOX2 from the BMP4 promoter. A stable complex containing the MEG3, SOX2, and the SOX2 consensus site of BMP4 suggested that MEG3 activated transcriptional activity by directly influencing SOX2 activity. By using assays such as luciferase, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and RNA immunoprecipitation, we showed that MEG3 had a critical function in a mechanism of promoter-specific transcriptional activation. These results suggested that MEG3 played an essential role in osteogenic differentiation in bone marrow MSCs, partly by activating BMP4 transcription. Our data provided novel evidence for the biological and clinical significance of lncRNA MEG3 expression as a potential biomarker for identifying patients with MM and as a potential therapeutic target in MM.

Zhou L, Xie J, Gu EL, et al.
Common genetic variant on BMP4 contributes to colorectal adenoma and cancer: A meta-analysis based on 15 studies.
Cytokine. 2015; 72(2):154-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidemiological studies indicate a genetic contribution to colorectal cancer (CRC), but specific genetic variants remain unknown. Genome-wide association studies have identified rs4444235 at BMP4 as a new colorectal cancer (CRC) and colorectal adenoma (CRA) susceptibility locus in populations of European descent. After that, several validation studies have been conducted among various ethnic populations to investigate if the SNP was associated with CRC/CRA, but the results have been inconsistent. To investigate this inconsistency and derive a more precise estimation of the relationship, a meta-analysis involving 54,631 CRC cases, 3995 CRA cases and 88,098 controls from 15 studies was performed. Potential sources of heterogeneity including ethnicity, sample size, study design and endpoint were also assessed. Overall, the summary OR of CRC was 1.06 (95% CI: 1.04-1.08, P<10(-5)). In the subgroup analysis by ethnicity, significantly increased risks were found in East Asians (OR=1.07, 95% CI: 1.01-1.12, P=0.01) and Caucasians (OR=1.07, 95% CI: 1.05-1.10, P<10(-5)); while no significant associations were found among African Americans and other ethnic populations in all genetic models. In addition, significant associations were also detected for CRA with per-allele OR of 1.09 (95% CI: 1.03-1.14, P=0.001). Our findings demonstrated that BMP4-rs4444235 is a risk factor associated with increased CRC and CRA susceptibility, but these associations vary in different ethnic populations.

Chapellier M, Bachelard-Cascales E, Schmidt X, et al.
Disequilibrium of BMP2 levels in the breast stem cell niche launches epithelial transformation by overamplifying BMPR1B cell response.
Stem Cell Reports. 2015; 4(2):239-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Understanding the mechanisms of cancer initiation will help to prevent and manage the disease. At present, the role of the breast microenvironment in transformation remains unknown. As BMP2 and BMP4 are important regulators of stem cells and their niches in many tissues, we investigated their function in early phases of breast cancer. BMP2 production by tumor microenvironment appeared to be specifically upregulated in luminal tumors. Chronic exposure of immature human mammary epithelial cells to high BMP2 levels initiated transformation toward a luminal tumor-like phenotype, mediated by the receptor BMPR1B. Under physiological conditions, BMP2 controlled the maintenance and differentiation of early luminal progenitors, while BMP4 acted on stem cells/myoepithelial progenitors. Our data also suggest that microenvironment-induced overexpression of BMP2 may result from carcinogenic exposure. We reveal a role for BMP2 and the breast microenvironment in the initiation of stem cell transformation, thus providing insight into the etiology of luminal breast cancer.

Raymond A, Liu B, Liang H, et al.
A role for BMP-induced homeobox gene MIXL1 in acute myelogenous leukemia and identification of type I BMP receptor as a potential target for therapy.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(24):12675-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mesoderm Inducer in Xenopus Like1 (MIXL1), a paired-type homeobox transcription factor induced by TGF-β family of ligands is required for early embryonic specification of mesoderm and endoderm. Retrovirally transduced Mixl1 is reported to induce acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) with a high penetrance. But the mechanistic underpinnings of MIXL1 mediated leukemogenesis are unknown. Here, we establish the protooncogene c-REL to be a transcriptional target of MIXL1 by genome wide chromatin immune precipitation. Accordingly, expression of c-REL and its downstream targets BCL2L1 and BCL2A2 are elevated in MIXL1 expressing cells. Notably, MIXL1 regulates c-REL through a zinc finger binding motif, potentially by a MIXL1-Zinc finger protein transcriptional complex. Furthermore, MIXL1 expression is detected in the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) AML samples in a pattern mutually exclusive from that of HOXA9, CDX2 and HLX suggesting the existence of a core, yet distinct HOX transcriptional program. Finally, we demonstrate MIXL1 to be induced by BMP4 and not TGF-β in primary human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Consequently, MIXL1 expressing AML cells are preferentially sensitive to the BMPR1 kinase inhibitor LDN-193189. These findings support the existence of a novel MIXL1-c REL mediated survival axis in AML that can be targeted by BMPR1 inhibitors. (MIXL1- human gene, Mixl1- mouse ortholog, MIXL1- protein).

Almeida PN, Souza GT, de Souza CM, et al.
Proposing the use of dental pulp stem cells as a suitable biological model of neurofibromatosis type 1.
Childs Nerv Syst. 2015; 31(1):7-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: This study aims to propose the dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) as a model for studying two features related to neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), i.e. augmented proliferative capacity and altered osteogenic differentiation.
METHODS: We isolated a DPSC from the pulp of deciduous teeth of a 6-year-old NF1 patient and two other healthy children of similar age. Cell proliferation was assayed by counting with a haemocytometer after successive cell re-plating. In order to compare osteogenic differentiation, we used osteoblast-differentiating medium and quantified alizarin stain, which relates to degree of calcification, and evaluated the expression of osteoblastic markers by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: The DPSCs isolated from the NF1 patient displayed a greater rate of proliferation when compared to the control cells. Osteogenic differentiation occurred as expected for both NF1 and control, which concerned cell morphology and expression of osteoblast marker genes ALP, BMP2, BMP4, OCN and SPP1. However, alizarin staining denoted a markedly lower calcification level in the cells from the NF1-diagnosed child, considering that less calcium deposits were visualized under light microscopy and a smaller amount of alizarin could be quantified by spectrophotometry after extraction from the stained cells.
CONCLUSION: DPSCs seem to be useful as a model for studying NF1 and predicting prognosis of patients, since their in vitro behaviour seems to mimic at least two features of this disorder: higher tendency to develop bone abnormalities and neoplastic cell proliferation.

Fortini BK, Tring S, Plummer SJ, et al.
Multiple functional risk variants in a SMAD7 enhancer implicate a colorectal cancer risk haplotype.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e111914 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of colorectal cancer (CRC) have led to the identification of a number of common variants associated with modest risk. Several risk variants map within the vicinity of TGFβ/BMP signaling pathway genes, including rs4939827 within an intron of SMAD7 at 18q21.1. A previous study implicated a novel SNP (novel 1 or rs58920878) as a functional variant within an enhancer element in SMAD7 intron 4. In this study, we show that four SNPs including novel 1 (rs6507874, rs6507875, rs8085824, and rs58920878) in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the index SNP rs4939827 demonstrate allele-specific enhancer effects in a large, multi-component enhancer of SMAD7. All four SNPs demonstrate allele-specific protein binding to nuclear extracts of CRC cell lines. Furthermore, some of the risk-associated alleles correlate with increased expression of SMAD7 in normal colon tissues. Finally, we show that the enhancer is responsive to BMP4 stimulation. Taken together, we propose that the associated CRC risk at 18q21.1 is due to four functional variants that regulate SMAD7 expression and potentially perturb a BMP negative feedback loop in TGFβ/BMP signaling pathways.

Liu Y, Li P, Liu K, et al.
Timely inhibition of Notch signaling by DAPT promotes cardiac differentiation of murine pluripotent stem cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(10):e109588 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Notch signaling pathway plays versatile roles during heart development. However, there is contradictory evidence that Notch pathway either facilitates or impairs cardiomyogenesis in vitro. In this study, we developed iPSCs by reprogramming of murine fibroblasts with GFP expression governed by Oct4 promoter, and identified an effective strategy to enhance cardiac differentiation through timely modulation of Notch signaling. The Notch inhibitor DAPT (N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester) alone drove the iPSCs to a neuronal fate. After mesoderm induction of embryoid bodies initiated by ascorbic acid (AA), the subsequent treatment of DAPT accelerated the generation of spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes. The timed synergy of AA and DAPT yielded an optimal efficiency of cardiac differentiation. Mechanistic studies showed that Notch pathway plays a biphasic role in cardiomyogenesis. It favors the early-stage cardiac differentiation, but exerts negative effects on the late-stage differentiation. Therefore, DAPT administration at the late stage enforced the inhibition of endogenous Notch activity, thereby enhancing cardiomyogenesis. In parallel, DAPT dramatically augmented the expression of Wnt3a, Wnt11, BMP2, and BMP4. In conclusion, our results highlight a practicable approach to generate cardiomyocytes from iPSCs based on the stage-specific biphasic roles of Notch signaling in cardiomyogenesis.

Yang CY, Lu RH, Lin CH, et al.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with colorectal cancer susceptibility and loss of heterozygosity in a Taiwanese population.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e100060 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Given the significant racial and ethnic diversity in genetic variation, we are intrigued to find out whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in genome-wide association studies of colorectal cancer (CRC) susceptibility in East Asian populations are also relevant to the population of Taiwan. Moreover, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) may provide insight into how variants alter CRC risk and how regulatory elements control gene expression. To investigate the racial and ethnic diversity of CRC-susceptibility genetic variants and their relevance to the Taiwanese population, we genotyped 705 CRC cases and 1,802 healthy controls (Taiwan Biobank) for fifteen previously reported East Asian CRC-susceptibility SNPs and four novel genetic variants identified by whole-exome sequencing. We found that rs10795668 in FLJ3802842 and rs4631962 in CCND2 were significantly associated with CRC risk in the Taiwanese population. The previously unreported rs1338565 was associated with a significant increased risk of CRC. In addition, we also genotyped tumor tissue and paired adjacent normal tissues of these 705 CRC cases to search for LOH, as well as risk-associated and protective alleles. LOH analysis revealed preferential retention of three SNPs, rs12657484, rs3802842, and rs4444235, in tumor tissues. rs4444235 has been recently reported to be a cis-acting regulator of BMP4 gene; in this study, the C allele was preferentially retained in tumor tissues (p = 0.0023). rs4631962 and rs10795668 contribute to CRC risk in the Taiwanese and East Asian populations, and the newly identified rs1338565 was specifically associated with CRC, supporting the ethnic diversity of CRC-susceptibility SNPs. LOH analysis suggested that the three CRC risk variants, rs12657484, rs3802842, and rs4444235, exhibited somatic allele-specific imbalance and might be critical during neoplastic progression.

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