Gene Summary

Gene:ESPL1; extra spindle pole bodies like 1, separase
Aliases: ESP1, SEPA
Summary:Stable cohesion between sister chromatids before anaphase and their timely separation during anaphase are critical for chromosome inheritance. In vertebrates, sister chromatid cohesion is released in 2 steps via distinct mechanisms. The first step involves phosphorylation of STAG1 (MIM 604358) or STAG2 (MIM 300826) in the cohesin complex. The second step involves cleavage of the cohesin subunit SCC1 (RAD21; MIM 606462) by ESPL1, or separase, which initiates the final separation of sister chromatids (Sun et al., 2009 [PubMed 19345191]).[supplied by OMIM, Nov 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 10 March, 2017


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 10 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.

Tag cloud generated 10 March, 2017 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: ESPL1 (cancer-related)

Zhang C, Min L, Zhang L, et al.
Combined analysis identifies six genes correlated with augmented malignancy from non-small cell to small cell lung cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(2):2193-207 [PubMed] Related Publications
With increased malignancy, lung cancer can be classified into adenocarcinoma (ADC), squamous cell carcinoma (SQC), large cell carcinoma (LCC), and the small cell subtype (SCLC); yet, elucidations to this augmented malignancy has not been addressed. In this study, we elucidated the molecular diversity among these subtypes by investigating large-scale sequencing datasets. Among genes upregulated from normal, ADC, SQC, LCC to SCLC, six hub genes were found closely correlated with adverse clinical outcome and were testified on cellular or tissue level with quantitative RT-PCR. Cox regression model was then built to generate a risk signature. The possible linkages among these genes were also explored. Transcript levels of BUB1, E2F1, ESPL1, GTSE1, RAB3B, and U2AF2 were found significantly elevated from normal, ADC, SQC, LCC to SCLC. Overexpression of one or multiple of these genes was correlated with adverse overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) in the whole patient cohort or groups stratified according to clinical variables, while most of all six genes were independent prognostic factors. When used as a six-gene risk signature, patients with high signature score displayed more unfavorable clinical variables and poorer outcome. Tight regulative relationships were found within these genes, while BUB1 and E2F1 were likely to be the drivers. We considered the augmented malignancy from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to SCLC might be due to the elevation of these six genes. We believe these genes were powerful cancer prognostic markers and potential therapeutic targets in lung cancer; moreover, changes of their level might be correlated with lung cancer phenotype plasticity.

Finetti P, Guille A, Adelaide J, et al.
ESPL1 is a candidate oncogene of luminal B breast cancers.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 147(1):51-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
ESPL1/separase is a putative oncogene of luminal B breast cancers. Histoclinical correlations of its expression have never been explored in large series of breast tumors, and specifically in the luminal subtype. In a pooled series of invasive breast carcinomas profiled using DNA microarrays, we identified 3,074 luminal cases, including 1,307 luminal B tumors, in which we searched for correlations between ESPL1 mRNA expression and molecular and histoclinical features. Compared to normal breast samples, ESPL1 was overexpressed in 52 % of luminal tumors, and much more frequently in luminal B (83 %) than luminal A tumors (29 %). In luminal breast cancers, higher ESPL1 expression was associated with poor-prognosis criteria (age ≤ 50 years, ductal type, advanced stage, large tumor size, lymph node-positive status, high grade, PR-negative status, luminal B subtype) and with poor metastasis-free survival in both uni- and multivariate analyses. This independent prognostic value was also observed in luminal B tumors only, and persisted when compared with gene expression signatures (PAM50, Recurrence Score, Mammaprint, EndoPredict) currently proposed to refine the indications of adjuvant chemotherapy in hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer. We also confirmed the observations made with experimental mouse models: ESPL1-overexpressing luminal tumors showed complex genomic profiles and molecular features of chromosomal instability and loss of tumor suppressor genes (P53 and Rb). Our results reinforce the idea that ESPL1 is a candidate oncogene in luminal B cancers. Its expression may help improve the prognostication. Inhibiting ESPL1 may represent a promising therapeutic approach for these poor-prognosis tumors.

Solomon DA, Kim JS, Waldman T
Cohesin gene mutations in tumorigenesis: from discovery to clinical significance.
BMB Rep. 2014; 47(6):299-310 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cohesin is a multi-protein complex composed of four core subunits (SMC1A, SMC3, RAD21, and either STAG1 or STAG2) that is responsible for the cohesion of sister chromatids following DNA replication until its cleavage during mitosis thereby enabling faithful segregation of sister chromatids into two daughter cells. Recent cancer genomics analyses have discovered a high frequency of somatic mutations in the genes encoding the core cohesin subunits as well as cohesin regulatory factors (e.g. NIPBL, PDS5B, ESPL1) in a select subset of human tumors including glioblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, urothelial carcinoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia. Herein we review these studies including discussion of the functional significance of cohesin inactivation in tumorigenesis and potential therapeutic mechanisms to selectively target cancers harboring cohesin mutations.

Dabydeen SA, Furth PA
Genetically engineered ERα-positive breast cancer mouse models.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(3):R195-208 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The majority of human breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), but this has proven challenging to model in genetically engineered mice. This review summarizes information on 21 mouse models that develop ER+ mammary cancer. Where available, information on cancer pathology and gene expression profiles is referenced to assist in understanding which histological subtype of ER+ human cancer each model might represent. ESR1, CCDN1, prolactin, TGFα, AIB1, ESPL1, and WNT1 overexpression, PIK3CA gain of function, as well as loss of P53 (Trp53) or STAT1 are associated with ER+ mammary cancer. Treatment with the PPARγ agonist efatutazone in a mouse with Brca1 and p53 deficiency and 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene exposure in combination with an activated myristoylated form of AKT1 also induce ER+ mammary cancer. A spontaneous mutant in nude mice that develops metastatic ER+ mammary cancer is included. Age of cancer development ranges from 3 to 26 months and the percentage of cancers that are ER+ vary from 21 to 100%. Not all models are characterized as to their estrogen dependency and/or response to anti-hormonal therapy. Strain backgrounds include C57Bl/6, FVB, BALB/c, 129S6/SvEv, CB6F1, and NIH nude. Most models have only been studied on one strain background. In summary, while a range of models are available for studies of pathogenesis and therapy of ER+ breast cancers, many could benefit from further characterization, and opportunity for development of new models remains.

Guo G, Sun X, Chen C, et al.
Whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing of bladder cancer identifies frequent alterations in genes involved in sister chromatid cohesion and segregation.
Nat Genet. 2013; 45(12):1459-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) being the predominant form. Here we report a genomic analysis of TCC by both whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing of 99 individuals with TCC. Beyond confirming recurrent mutations in genes previously identified as being mutated in TCC, we identified additional altered genes and pathways that were implicated in TCC. Notably, we discovered frequent alterations in STAG2 and ESPL1, two genes involved in the sister chromatid cohesion and segregation (SCCS) process. Furthermore, we also detected a recurrent fusion involving FGFR3 and TACC3, another component of SCCS, by transcriptome sequencing of 42 DNA-sequenced tumors. Overall, 32 of the 99 tumors (32%) harbored genetic alterations in the SCCS process. Our analysis provides evidence that genetic alterations affecting the SCCS process may be involved in bladder tumorigenesis and identifies a new therapeutic possibility for bladder cancer.

Stepanenko AA, Vassetzky YS, Kavsan VM
Antagonistic functional duality of cancer genes.
Gene. 2013; 529(2):199-207 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer evolution is a stochastic process both at the genome and gene levels. Most of tumors contain multiple genetic subclones, evolving in either succession or in parallel, either in a linear or branching manner, with heterogeneous genome and gene alterations, extensively rewired signaling networks, and addicted to multiple oncogenes easily switching with each other during cancer progression and medical intervention. Hundreds of discovered cancer genes are classified according to whether they function in a dominant (oncogenes) or recessive (tumor suppressor genes) manner in a cancer cell. However, there are many cancer "gene-chameleons", which behave distinctly in opposite way in the different experimental settings showing antagonistic duality. In contrast to the widely accepted view that mutant NADP(+)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenases 1/2 (IDH1/2) and associated metabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate (R)-enantiomer are intrinsically "the drivers" of tumourigenesis, mutant IDH1/2 inhibited, promoted or had no effect on cell proliferation, growth and tumorigenicity in diverse experiments. Similar behavior was evidenced for dozens of cancer genes. Gene function is dependent on genetic network, which is defined by the genome context. The overall changes in karyotype can result in alterations of the role and function of the same genes and pathways. The diverse cell lines and tumor samples have been used in experiments for proving gene tumor promoting/suppressive activity. They all display heterogeneous individual karyotypes and disturbed signaling networks. Consequently, the effect and function of gene under investigation can be opposite and versatile in cells with different genomes that may explain antagonistic duality of cancer genes and the cell type- or the cellular genetic/context-dependent response to the same protein. Antagonistic duality of cancer genes might contribute to failure of chemotherapy. Instructive examples of unexpected activity of cancer genes and "paradoxical" effects of different anticancer drugs depending on the cellular genetic context/signaling network are discussed.

Jiang L, Siu MK, Wong OG, et al.
iASPP and chemoresistance in ovarian cancers: effects on paclitaxel-mediated mitotic catastrophe.
Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 17(21):6924-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: iASPP is a specific regulator of p53-mediated apoptosis. Herein, we provided the first report on the expression profile of iASPP in ovarian epithelial tumor and its effect on paclitaxel chemosensitivity.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Expression and amplification status of iASPP was examined in 203 clinical samples and 17 cell lines using immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time PCR, and immunoblotting, and correlated with clinicopathologic parameters. Changes in proliferation, mitotic catastrophe, apoptosis, and underlying mechanism in ovarian cancer cells of different p53 status following paclitaxel exposure were also analyzed.
RESULTS: The protein and mRNA expression of iASPP was found to be significantly increased in ovarian cancer samples and cell lines. High iASPP expression was significantly associated with clear cell carcinoma subtype (P = 0.003), carboplatin and paclitaxel chemoresistance (P = 0.04), shorter overall (P = 0.003), and disease-free (P = 0.001) survival. Multivariate analysis confirmed iASPP expression as an independent prognostic factor. Increased iASPP mRNA expression was significantly correlated with gene amplification (P = 0.023). iASPP overexpression in ovarian cancer cells conferred resistance to paclitaxel by reducing mitotic catastrophe in a p53-independent manner via activation of separase, whereas knockdown of iASPP enhanced paclitaxel-mediated mitotic catastrophe through inactivating separase. Both securin and cyclin B1/CDK1 complex were involved in regulating separase by iASPP. Conversely, overexpressed iASPP inhibited apoptosis in a p53-dependent mode.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data show an association of iASPP overexpression with gene amplification in ovarian cancer and suggest a role of iASPP in poor patient outcome and chemoresistance, through blocking mitotic catastrophe. iASPP should be explored further as a potential prognostic marker and target for chemotherapy.

Mukherjee M, Ge G, Zhang N, et al.
Separase loss of function cooperates with the loss of p53 in the initiation and progression of T- and B-cell lymphoma, leukemia and aneuploidy in mice.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(7):e22167 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cohesin protease Separase plays a key role in faithful segregation of sister chromatids by cleaving the cohesin complex at the metaphase to anaphase transition. Homozygous deletion of ESPL1 gene that encodes Separase protein results in embryonic lethality in mice and Separase overexpression lead to aneuploidy and tumorigenesis. However, the effect of Separase haploinsufficiency has not been thoroughly investigated.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we examined the effect of ESPL1 heterozygosity using a hypomorphic mouse model that has reduced germline Separase activity. We report that while ESPL1 mutant (ESPL1 (+/hyp)) mice have a normal phenotype, in the absence of p53, these mice develop spontaneous T- and B-cell lymphomas, and leukemia with a significantly shortened latency as compared to p53 null mice. The ESPL1 hypomorphic, p53 heterozygous transgenic mice (ESPL1(+/hyp), p53(+/-)) also show a significantly reduced life span with an altered tumor spectrum of carcinomas and sarcomas compared to p53(+/-) mice alone. Furthermore, ESPL1(+/hyp), p53(-/-) mice display significantly higher levels of genetic instability and aneuploidy in normal cells, as indicated by the abnormal metaphase counts and SKY analysis of primary splenocytes.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results indicate that reduced levels of Separase act synergistically with loss of p53 in the initiation and progression of B- and T- cell lymphomas, which is aided by increased chromosomal missegregation and accumulation of genomic instability. ESPL1(+/hyp), p53(-/-) mice provide a new animal model for mechanistic study of aggressive lymphoma and also for preclinical evaluation of new agents for its therapy.

Rouam S, Moreau T, Broët P
Identifying common prognostic factors in genomic cancer studies: a novel index for censored outcomes.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2010; 11:150 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: With the growing number of public repositories for high-throughput genomic data, it is of great interest to combine the results produced by independent research groups. Such a combination allows the identification of common genomic factors across multiple cancer types and provides new insights into the disease process. In the framework of the proportional hazards model, classical procedures, which consist of ranking genes according to the estimated hazard ratio or the p-value obtained from a test statistic of no association between survival and gene expression level, are not suitable for gene selection across multiple genomic datasets with different sample sizes. We propose a novel index for identifying genes with a common effect across heterogeneous genomic studies designed to remain stable whatever the sample size and which has a straightforward interpretation in terms of the percentage of separability between patients according to their survival times and gene expression measurements.
RESULTS: The simulations results show that the proposed index is not substantially affected by the sample size of the study and the censoring. They also show that its separability performance is higher than indices of predictive accuracy relying on the likelihood function. A simulated example illustrates the good operating characteristics of our index. In addition, we demonstrate that it is linked to the score statistic and possesses a biologically relevant interpretation.The practical use of the index is illustrated for identifying genes with common effects across eight independent genomic cancer studies of different sample sizes. The meta-selection allows the identification of four genes (ESPL1, KIF4A, HJURP, LRIG1) that are biologically relevant to the carcinogenesis process and have a prognostic impact on survival outcome across various solid tumors.
CONCLUSION: The proposed index is a promising tool for identifying factors having a prognostic impact across a collection of heterogeneous genomic datasets of various sizes.

La Starza R, Brandimarte L, Pierini V, et al.
A NUP98-positive acute myeloid leukemia with a t(11;12)(p15;q13) without HOXC cluster gene involvement.
Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2009; 193(2):109-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report a case of adult acute myeloid leukemia with a new t(11;12)(p15;q13) underlying a NUP98 rearrangement without HOXC cluster gene involvement. We designed a specific double-color double-fusion FISH assay to discriminate between this t(11;12)(p15;q13) and those producing NUP98-HOXC11 or NUP98-HOXC13. Our fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that putative candidate partners mapping 600 kilobases centromeric to HOXC were RARG (retinoic acid receptor gamma), MFSD5 (major facilitator superfamily domain containing 5), and ESPL1 (extra spindle pole bodies homolog 1). It is noteworthy that so far only ESPL1 has been implicated in human cancers. This FISH assay is useful for diagnostic screening of NUP98-positive leukemias.

Farina AR, Tacconelli A, Cappabianca L, et al.
The alternative TrkAIII splice variant targets the centrosome and promotes genetic instability.
Mol Cell Biol. 2009; 29(17):4812-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The hypoxia-regulated alternative TrkAIII splice variant expressed by human neuroblastomas exhibits oncogenic potential, driven by in-frame exon 6 and 7 alternative splicing, leading to omission of the receptor extracellular immunoglobulin C(1) domain and several N-glycosylation sites. Here, we show that the TrkAIII oncogene promotes genetic instability by interacting with and exhibiting catalytic activity at the centrosome. This function depends upon intracellular TrkAIII accumulation and spontaneous interphase-restricted activation, in cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase (tk) domain orientation, predominantly within structures that closely associate with the fully assembled endoplasmic reticulum intermediate compartment and Golgi network. This facilitates TrkAIII tk-mediated binding of gamma-tubulin, which is regulated by endogenous protein tyrosine phosphatases and geldanamycin-sensitive interaction with Hsp90, paving the way for TrkAIII recruitment to the centrosome. At the centrosome, TrkAIII differentially phosphorylates several centrosome-associated components, increases centrosome interaction with polo kinase 4, and decreases centrosome interaction with separase, the net results of which are centrosome amplification and increased genetic instability. The data characterize TrkAIII as a novel internal membrane-associated centrosome kinase, unveiling an important alternative mechanism to "classical" cell surface oncogenic receptor tk signaling through which stress-regulated alternative TrkAIII splicing influences the oncogenic process.

Brendle A, Brandt A, Johansson R, et al.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms in chromosomal instability genes and risk and clinical outcome of breast cancer: a Swedish prospective case-control study.
Eur J Cancer. 2009; 45(3):435-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal instability (CIN) is a major characteristic of many cancers. We investigated whether putatively functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes related to CIN (CENPF, ESPL1, NEK2, PTTG1, ZWILCH, ZWINT) affect breast cancer (BC) risk and clinical outcome in a Swedish cohort of 749 incident BC cases with detailed clinical data and up to 15 years of follow-up and 1493 matched controls. As a main observation, carriers of the A allele of the CENPF SNP rs438034 had a worse BC-specific survival compared to the wild type genotype GG carriers (hazard ratio (HR) 2.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-5.90), although they were less likely to have regional lymph node metastases (odds ratio (OR) 0.71, 95% CI 0.51-1.01) and tumours of stage II-IV (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.54-0.99). As there is increasing evidence that CENPF is associated with poor prognosis in patients with primary BC, further independent studies are needed to clarify the importance of genetic variation in the CENPF gene in the clinic.

Yu R, Cruz-Soto M, Li Calzi S, et al.
Murine pituitary tumor-transforming gene functions as a securin protein in insulin-secreting cells.
J Endocrinol. 2006; 191(1):45-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1 (PTTG1) encodes a securin protein critically important in regulating chromosome separation. Murine PTTG (mPTTG) is 66% homologous to human PTTG1 and PTTG-null (PTTG-/-) mice exhibit pancreatic beta-cell hypoplasia and abnormal nuclear morphology with resultant diabetes. As we show that ductal beta-cell neogenesis is intact in PTTG-/- mice, we explored mechanism for defective beta-cell replication. We tested whether mPTTG exhibits securin properties in mouse insulin-secreting insulinoma MIN6 cells, using a live-cell system to monitor mitosis in cells transfected with an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-tagged mPTTG conjugate (mPTTG-EGFP). To fulfill the criteria for securin properties, the protein should undergo degradation immediately before the metaphase-to-anaphase transition when expression levels are low, and should inhibit metaphase-to-anaphase transition when expression levels are high. EGFP itself did not undergo degradation throughout mitosis and high levels of EGFP per se did not affect normal mitosis progression (n=25). However, mPTTG-EGFP was degraded 2 min before the metaphase-to-anaphase transition when expression levels were low (n=19), and high mPTTG-EGFP levels blocked metaphase-to-anaphase transition in 13 cells. mPTTG-EGFP inhibited MIN6 cell proliferation and caused apoptosis. Immunocoprecipitation demonstrated binding of mPTTG-EGFP and separase. These results show that mPTTG exhibits properties consistent with a murine securin in insulin-secreting mouse cells and mPTTG overexpression inhibits cell proliferation, suggesting that defective beta-cell proliferation observed in PTTG-/- mice is likely due to abnormal cell-cycle progression.

Bae I, Rih JK, Kim HJ, et al.
BRCA1 regulates gene expression for orderly mitotic progression.
Cell Cycle. 2005; 4(11):1641-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germline mutations of the BRCA1 gene confer an increased risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. To study the contribution of BRCA1 to sporadic cancers, which often exhibit reduced BRCA1 expression, we tested the effect of knocking down BRCA1 on gene expression in human prostate (DU-145) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cells. DNA microarray and confirmatory RNA analyses revealed that BRCA1 small interfering (si) RNA caused down-regulation of multiple genes implicated in the mitotic spindle checkpoint (eg., BUB1B, HEC, and STK6), chromosome segregation (eg., ESPL1, NEK2, and PTTG1), centrosome function (eg., ASPM), cytokinesis (eg., PRC1, PLK, and KNSL2), and the progression into and through mitosis (eg., CDC2, and CDC20). Cells treated with BRCA1-siRNA showed attenuation of the mitotic spindle checkpoint; but not several G2 checkpoints. Finally, BRCA1 knockdown caused the accumulation of multinucleated cells, suggesting a defect in cytokinesis. We conclude that BRCA1 regulates gene expression for orderly mitotic progression.

Hainsworth PJ, Raphael KL, Stillwell RG, et al.
Rearrangement of chromosome 1p in breast cancer correlates with poor prognostic features.
Br J Cancer. 1992; 66(1):131-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In a cytogenetic study of breast cancer biopsies, clonal abnormalities of chromosome 1p were identified in 56% (14) of 25 informative patients. Translocations predominated, involving 1p22 (n = 1), 1p35 (n = 1) or 1p36 (n = 10) breakpoints. Chromosome 1p abnormalities were associated with estrogen receptor (ER) negativity (P = 0.03, 2-tailed Fisher Exact Probability test), high histological grade (P = 0.02, 2-tailed Mann-Whitney U-test) and an unfavourable Melbourne Prognostic Score (NEPA P = 0.02, SEPA P = 0.04, 2-tailed Mann-Whitney U-tests). These findings are consistent with the possibility that a gene located on chromosome 1p is implicated in tumour progression.

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