NEFL

Gene Summary

Gene:NEFL; neurofilament light
Aliases: NFL, NF-L, NF68, CMT1F, CMT2E, PPP1R110
Location:8p21.2
Summary:Neurofilaments are type IV intermediate filament heteropolymers composed of light, medium, and heavy chains. Neurofilaments comprise the axoskeleton and they functionally maintain the neuronal caliber. They may also play a role in intracellular transport to axons and dendrites. This gene encodes the light chain neurofilament protein. Mutations in this gene cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease types 1F (CMT1F) and 2E (CMT2E), disorders of the peripheral nervous system that are characterized by distinct neuropathies. A pseudogene has been identified on chromosome Y. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:neurofilament light polypeptide
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 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 15 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.

  • Alleles
  • Gene Silencing
  • Cancer DNA
  • Bladder Cancer
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Base Sequence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Gene Deletion
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Genetic Markers
  • Chromosome 8
  • Transfection
  • Glioblastoma
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Brain Tumours
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Polymorphism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Transcription Factors
  • Breast Cancer
  • DNA Methylation
  • Cell Movement
  • MicroRNAs
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Promoter Regions
  • DNA, Satellite
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Staging
Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

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: NEFL (cancer-related)

Li A, Li J, Lin J, et al.
COL11A1 is overexpressed in gastric cancer tissues and regulates proliferation, migration and invasion of HGC-27 gastric cancer cells in vitro.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 37(1):333-340 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of COL11A1 in carcinogenesis is increasingly recognized. However, the biological role and potential mechanisms of COL11A1 in gastric cancer have not been elucidated. In the present study, the COL11A1 mRNA expression in 57 patients with gastric cancer was measured by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and the biological effects of COL11A1 suppression were determined using MTS, monolayer colony formation, flow cytometry and Transwell assays. In addition, the potential molecular mechanisms of COL11A1 in gastric cancer were analyzed by western blotting and cDNA microarray analysis. Compared with matched adjacent non-tumor tissue, COL11A1 mRNA was significantly overexpressed in tumor tissue and was positively related to age, tumor invasion depth, tumor size and lymph node positivity. Moreover, in vitro experiments demonstrated that COL11A1 suppression by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of HGC-27 cells and that COL11A1 suppression promoted cell apoptosis, induced G1-phase cell cycle arrest and led to a significant downregulation of cyclin D1 and upregulation of p21 and cleaved caspase-3. In addition, the cDNA microarray analysis of HGC-27 cells with and without COL11A1 suppression indicated that COL11A1 may regulate multiple genes responsible for cell growth and/or invasion, including downregulation of CDK6, TIAM1, ITGB8 and WNT5A and upregulation of RGS2 and NEFL following suppression of COL11A1 expression in HGC-27 cells, validated with RT-qPCR assays. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that COL11A1 might be an oncogene in GC and is a promising therapeutic target in cancer treatment.

Wang ZY, Xiong J, Zhang SS, et al.
Up-Regulation of microRNA-183 Promotes Cell Proliferation and Invasion in Glioma By Directly Targeting NEFL.
Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2016; 36(8):1303-1310 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal type of primary malignant brain tumor. In recent years, increasing reports suggest that discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) might provide a novel therapeutical target for human cancers, including GBM. The expression and roles of microRNA-183 (miR-183) has been explored in several types of human cancers, including in GBM, and plays important roles in tumor initiation and progression. However, its biological functions in GBM remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that miR-183 was significantly up-regulated in astrocytoma tissues and glioblastoma cell lines. Introduction of miR-183 mimics into U251 cells could promoted, while its antisense oligos inhibited cell proliferation and invasion. Moreover, we identified neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL) as a novel target gene of miR-183. The expression levels of NEFL are inversely correlated with that of miR-183 in human astrocytoma clinical specimens. In addition, NEFL-siRNA could significantly attenuate the inhibitory effects of knockdown miR-183 on the proliferation and invasion of U251 cells via mTOR signaling pathway. Overall, This study revealed that miR-183 promotes glioma cell proliferation by targeting NEFL, and also demonstrated that miR-183 could be a potential target for GBM treatment.

Shen Z, Chen B, Gan X, et al.
Methylation of neurofilament light polypeptide promoter is associated with cell invasion and metastasis in NSCLC.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 470(3):627-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of NEFL in NSCLC remains largely unknown. Immunohistochemistry was performed to investigate the expression of NEFL in 108 lung cancer specimens. NEFL expression was associated with decreased lymph node metastases and favorable prognosis. Furthermore, real-time PCR and Western blot were used to investigate the expression of the NEFL gene in NSCLC cell lines. Subsequently, lentivirus-mediated RNA interference and overexpression were used to demonstrate that knocked-down of NEFL enhanced the invasion and migration of A549 and H460 NSCLC cells, whereas NEFL overexpression resulted in a suppression of the invasion and migration of GLC-82 and L78 cells in vitro. In addition, bisulfite sequence PCR assay demonstrated that NEFL downregulation was associated with promoter methylation, and NEFL expression was restored after treatment with 5-Aza-dC. Finally, we demonstrated that NEFL inhibited the NF-κB pathway, thereby suppressing the expression of uPA and decreasing NSCLC invasiveness and migration. Our studies suggest that NEFL methylation is a novel mechanism for NSCLC invasion and metastasis and that NEFL may represent a candidate biomarker for recurrence and survival in patients with NSCLC.

Peng G, Yuan X, Yuan J, et al.
miR-25 promotes glioblastoma cell proliferation and invasion by directly targeting NEFL.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2015; 409(1-2):103-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant and common brain tumor; it is aggressive growth pattern means that GBM patients face a poor prognosis even when receiving the best available treatment modalities. In recent years, an increasing number of reports suggest that the discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) might provide a novel therapeutic target for human cancers, including GBM. One miRNA in particular, microRNA-25 (miR-25), is overexpressed in several cancers, wherein accumulating evidence indicates that it functions as an oncogene. However, the function of miR-25 in GBM has not been totally elucidated. In this study, we demonstrated that miR-25 was significantly up-regulated in astrocytoma tissues and glioblastoma cell lines. In vitro studies further demonstrated that overexpressed miR-25 was able to promote, while its antisense oligos inhibited cell proliferation and invasion in U251 cells. Moreover, we identified neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL) as a novel target molecule of miR-25. Also of note was the fact that NEFL was down-regulated with increased levels of miR-25 expression in human astrocytoma clinical specimens. In addition, via the mTOR signaling pathway, NEFL-siRNA could significantly attenuate the inhibitory effects of knockdown miR-25 on the proliferation and invasion of U251 cells. Overall, our results showed an important role for miR-25 in regulating NEFL expression in GBM, and suggest that miR-25 could be a potential target for GBM treatment.

Calmon MF, Jeschke J, Zhang W, et al.
Epigenetic silencing of neurofilament genes promotes an aggressive phenotype in breast cancer.
Epigenetics. 2015; 10(7):622-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neurofilament heavy polypeptide (NEFH) has recently been identified as a candidate DNA hypermethylated gene within the functional breast cancer hypermethylome. NEFH exists in a complex with neurofilament medium polypeptide (NEFM) and neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL) to form neurofilaments, which are structural components of the cytoskeleton in mature neurons. Recent studies reported the deregulation of these proteins in several malignancies, suggesting that neurofilaments may have a role in other cell types as well. Using a comprehensive approach, we studied the epigenetic inactivation of neurofilament genes in breast cancer and the functional significance of this event. We report that DNA methylation-associated silencing of NEFH, NEFL, and NEFM in breast cancer is frequent, cancer-specific, and correlates with clinical features of disease progression. DNA methylation-mediated inactivation of these genes occurs also in multiple other cancer histologies including pancreas, gastric, and colon. Restoration of NEFH function, the major subunit of the neurofilament complex, reduces proliferation and growth of breast cancer cells and arrests them in Go/G1 phase of the cell cycle along with a reduction in migration and invasion. These findings suggest that DNA methylation-mediated silencing of the neurofilament genes NEFH, NEFM, and NEFL are frequent events that may contribute to the progression of breast cancer and possibly other malignancies.

Wang Z, Yang J, Xu G, et al.
Targeting miR-381-NEFL axis sensitizes glioblastoma cells to temozolomide by regulating stemness factors and multidrug resistance factors.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(5):3147-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNA-381 (miR-381) is a highly expressed onco-miRNA that is involved in malignant progression and has been suggested to be a good target for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) therapy. In this study, we employed two-dimensional fluorescence differential gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS/MS to identify 27 differentially expressed proteins, including the significantly upregulated neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL), in glioblastoma cells in which miR-381 expression was inhibited. We identified NEFL as a novel target molecule of miR-381 and a tumor suppressor gene. In human astrocytoma clinical specimens, NEFL was downregulated with increased levels of miR-381 expression. Either suppressing miR-381 or enforcing NEFL expression dramatically sensitized glioblastoma cells to temozolomide (TMZ), a promising chemotherapeutic agent for treating GBMs. The mechanism by which these cells were sensitized to TMZ was investigated by inhibiting various multidrug resistance factors (ABCG2, ABCC3, and ABCC5) and stemness factors (ALDH1, CD44, CKIT, KLF4, Nanog, Nestin, and SOX2). Our results further demonstrated that miR-381 overexpression reversed the viability of U251 cells exhibiting NEFL-mediated TMZ sensitivity. In addition, NEFL-siRNA also reversed the proliferation rate of U251 cells exhibiting locked nucleic acid (LNA)-anti-miR-381-mediated TMZ sensitivity. Overall, the miR-381-NEFL axis is important for TMZ resistance in GBM and may potentially serve as a novel therapeutic target for glioma.

Capasso M, Diskin S, Cimmino F, et al.
Common genetic variants in NEFL influence gene expression and neuroblastoma risk.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(23):6913-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The genetic etiology of sporadic neuroblastoma is still largely obscure. In a genome-wide association study, we identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with neuroblastoma at the CASC15, BARD1, LMO1, DUSP12, HSD17B12, HACE1, and LIN28B gene loci, but these explain only a small fraction of neuroblastoma heritability. Other neuroblastoma susceptibility genes are likely hidden among signals discarded by the multiple testing corrections. In this study, we evaluated eight additional genes selected as candidates for further study based on proven involvement in neuroblastoma differentiation. SNPs at these candidate genes were tested for association with disease susceptibility in 2,101 cases and 4,202 controls, with the associations found replicated in an independent cohort of 459 cases and 809 controls. Replicated associations were further studied for cis-effect using gene expression, transient overexpression, silencing, and cellular differentiation assays. The neurofilament gene NEFL harbored three SNPs associated with neuroblastoma (rs11994014: Pcombined = 0.0050; OR, 0.88; rs2979704: Pcombined = 0.0072; OR, 0.87; rs1059111: Pcombined = 0.0049; OR, 0.86). The protective allele of rs1059111 correlated with increased NEFL expression. Biologic investigations showed that ectopic overexpression of NEFL inhibited cell growth specifically in neuroblastoma cells carrying the protective allele. NEFL overexpression also enhanced differentiation and impaired the proliferation and anchorage-independent growth of cells with protective allele and basal NEFL expression, while impairing invasiveness and proliferation of cells homozygous for the risk genotype. Clinically, high levels of NEFL expression in primary neuroblastoma specimens were associated with better overall survival (P = 0.03; HR, 0.68). Our results show that common variants of NEFL influence neuroblastoma susceptibility and they establish that NEFL expression influences disease initiation and progression.

Takata K, Tanino M, Ennishi D, et al.
Duodenal follicular lymphoma: comprehensive gene expression analysis with insights into pathogenesis.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(5):608-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Follicular lymphoma (FL) of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly duodenal follicular lymphoma (DFL), is a rare variant of FL with indolent clinical behavior, and this disease is included in the 2008 World Health Organization classification system. In contrast to nodal follicular lymphoma (NFL), DFL occurs most frequently in the second part of the duodenum, lacks follicular dendritic cell meshworks and has memory B-cell characteristics. However, its molecular pathogenesis is still unclear. In the present study, we examined 10 DFL, 18 NFL and 10 gastric MALT lymphoma samples using gene expression analysis. Quantitative RT-PCR experiments and immunohistochemical analysis for 72 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from an independent series, including 32 DFL, 19 gastric MALT lymphoma and 27 NFL samples, were performed for validation of microarray data. Gene expression profiles of the three lymphoma types were compared using 2918 differentially expressed genes (DEG) and results suggested that DFL shares characteristics of MALT lymphoma. Among these DEG, CCL20 and MAdCAM-1 were upregulated in DFL and MALT but downregulated in NFL. In contrast, protocadherin gamma subfamily genes were upregulated in DFL and NFL. Quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical studies demonstrated concordant results. Double immunofluorescence studies revealed that CCL20 and CCR6 were co-expressed in both DFL and MALT. We hypothesize that increased expression of CCL20 and MAdCAM-1 and co-expression of CCL20 and CCR6 may play an important role in tumorigenesis.

Kang S, Kim B, Park SB, et al.
Stage-specific methylome screen identifies that NEFL is downregulated by promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2013; 43(5):1659-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant hypermethylation of promoter regions in specific genes is a key event in the formation and progression of breast cancers, and an increasing number of marker genes have been identified. However, few genes which show methylation change in accordance with the progression of breast cancer have been identified. To identify genes which consistently undergo promoter methylation alterations as the tumor develops from a benign to a malignant form, genome-wide methylation databases of breast cancer cell lines from stage I to stage IV were analyzed. Heatmap and cluster analysis revealed that the genome-wide methylation changes showed a good accordance with tumor progression. Seven out of 14,495 genes were found to be consistently increased alongside the promoter methylation level through the normal cell line to the cancer stage IV cell lines. NEFL, one of the in silico hypermethylated genes in cancer, showed hypermethylation and lower expression in the cancer cell line MDA-MB-231, as well as in cancer tissues (methylation, p<0.05; expression, p<0.01). The expression was restored by inducing demethylation of the promoter in MDA-MB-231 cells. Our findings may lend credence to the possibility of using tumor stage-specific alterations in methylation patterns as biomarkers for estimating prognosis and assessing treatment options for breast cancer.

Huang Z, Zhuo Y, Shen Z, et al.
The role of NEFL in cell growth and invasion in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2014; 43(3):191-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL) gene located on chromosome 8q21 is associated with the cancer of several organs and is regarded as a potential tumor suppressor gene. However, the role of the NEFL protein has not yet been studied in cancer cells. Although evidence suggests that there is a correlation between NEFL expression and cancer, studies regarding the role of the NEFL protein have been mostly limited to neurological diseases, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth's disease (CMT). Most of these studies have not explored the role of NEFL in cancer cell apoptosis and/or invasion. In this study, NEFL expression was manipulated, and apoptosis and invasion were compared in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. The results show that the expression of NEFL induces cancer cell apoptosis and inhibits invasion in these cell lines, suggesting that NEFL may play a role in cancer cell apoptosis and invasion.

Hsiao CP, Wang D, Kaushal A, Saligan L
Mitochondria-related gene expression changes are associated with fatigue in patients with nonmetastatic prostate cancer receiving external beam radiation therapy.
Cancer Nurs. 2013 May-Jun; 36(3):189-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is associated with negative health outcomes and decreased health-related quality of life; however, few longitudinal studies have investigated molecular-genetic mechanisms of CRF.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe relationships between mitochondria-related gene expression changes and self-reported fatigue in prostate cancer patients receiving external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
METHODS: A prospective, exploratory, and repeated-measures design was used. Self-report questionnaires and peripheral whole-blood samples were collected from 15 patients at 7 time points. Baseline data were compared against 15 healthy controls. The Human Mitochondria RT Profiler PCR Array was used to identify differential regulation of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and function.
RESULTS: Compared with baseline, there were significant increases in fatigue scores (P = .02-.04) and changes in mitochondria-related gene expression (P = .001-.05) over time. Mean fatigue scores were 1.66 (SD, 1.66) at baseline, 3.06 (SD, 1.95) at EBRT midpoint, 2.98 (SD, 2.20) at EBRT completion, and 2.64 (SD, 2.56) at 30 days after EBRT. Over time, 11 genes related to mitochondrial function and structure were differentially expressed. Of these 11 genes, 3 (BCL2L1, FIS1, SLC25A37) were more than 2.5 fold up-regulated, and 8 (AIFM2, BCL2, IMMP2L, MIPEP, MSTO1, NEFL, SLC25A23, SLC25A4) were greater than 2-fold down-regulated. Furthermore, 8 genes (AIFM2, BCL2, FIS1, IMMP2L, MSTO1, SLC25A23, SLC25A37, SLC25A4) were significantly associated with the changes in fatigue scores.
CONCLUSION: This study provides preliminary evidence that 8 mitochondrial function genes were significantly associated with fatigue in prostate cancer patients during EBRT.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: These findings identify possible pathways and early biomarkers for targeting novel interventions for CRF.

Stephen JH, Sievert AJ, Madsen PJ, et al.
Spinal cord ependymomas and myxopapillary ependymomas in the first 2 decades of life: a clinicopathological and immunohistochemical characterization of 19 cases.
J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2012; 9(6):646-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECT: Primary spinal cord ependymomas (EPNs) are rare in children, comprising classical WHO Grade II and III tumors and Grade I myxopapillary ependymomas (MEPNs). Despite their benign histology, recurrences and neural-axis dissemination have been reported in up to 33% MEPNs in the pediatric population. Treatment options beyond resection are limited, and little is known about their tumorigenesis. The purpose of this study was to explore the tumor biology and outcomes in a consecutive series of pediatric patients treated at a single institution.
METHODS: The authors performed a retrospective clinicopathological review of 19 patients at a tertiary referral children's hospital for resection of a spinal cord ependymoma. The population included 8 patients with a pathological diagnosis of MEPN and 11 patients with a pathological diagnosis of spinal EPN (10 cases were Grade II and 1 case was Grade III). The upregulation of the following genes HOXB13, NEFL, PDGFRα, EGFR, EPHB3, AQP1, and JAGGED 1 was studied by immunohistochemistry from archived paraffin-embedded tumor samples of the entire cohort to compare the expression in MEPN versus EPN.
RESULTS: Gross-total resection was achieved in 75% of patients presenting with MEPNs and in 100% of those with EPNs. The average follow-up period was 79 months for the MEPN subset and 53 months for Grade II/III EPNs. Overall survival for both subsets was 100%. However, event-free survival was only 50% for patients with MEPNs. Of note, in all cases involving MEPNs that recurred, the patients had undergone gross-total resection on initial surgery. In contrast, there were no tumor recurrences in patients with EPNs. Immunohistochemistry revealed no significant differences in protein expression between the two tumor types with the exception of EPHB3, which demonstrates a tendency to be positive in MEPNs (6 reactive tumors of 9) rather than in EPN (2 reactive tumors of 10).
CONCLUSIONS: The authors' experience shows that, following a gross-total resection, MEPNs are more likely to recur than their higher-grade counterpart, EPNs. This supports the recommendation for close long-term radiological follow-up of pediatric patients with MEPNs to monitor for recurrence, despite the tumor's low-grade histological feature. No significant difference in the protein expression of HOXB13, NEFL, PDGFRα, EGFR, EPHB3, AQP1, and JAGGED 1 was present in this selected cohort of pediatric patients.

Li XQ, Li L, Xiao CH, Feng YM
NEFL mRNA expression level is a prognostic factor for early-stage breast cancer patients.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e31146 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neurofilament, light polypeptide (NEFL) was demonstrated to be ectopically expressed in breast cancer tissues and decreased in lymph node metastases compared to the paired primary breast cancers in our previous study. Moreover, in several studies, NEFL was regarded as a tumor suppressor gene, and its loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was related to carcinogenesis and metastasis in several types of cancer. To explore the role of NEFL in the progression of breast cancer and to evaluate its clinical significance, we detected the NEFL mRNA level in normal breast tissues, primary breast cancer samples and lymph node metastases, and then analyzed the association between the NEFL expression level and several clinicopathological parameters and disease-free survival (DFS). NEFL mRNA was found to be expressed in 92.3% of breast malignancies and down-regulated in lymph node metastases compared to the paired primary tumors. NEFL mRNA level was lower in primary breast cancers with positive lymph nodes than in cancers with negative lymph nodes. Moreover, a low expression level of NEFL mRNA indicated a poor five-year DFS for early-stage breast cancer patients. Thus, NEFL mRNA is ectopically expressed in breast malignancies and could be a potential prognostic factor for early-stage breast cancer patients.

Chen B, Chen J, House MG, et al.
Role of neurofilament light polypeptide in head and neck cancer chemoresistance.
Mol Cancer Res. 2012; 10(3):305-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Resistance to cisplatin-based chemotherapy is responsible for therapeutic failure of many common human cancers including cancer of head and neck (HNC). Mechanisms underlying cisplatin resistance remain unclear. In this study, we identified neurofilament light polypeptide (NEFL) as a novel hypermethylated gene associated with resistance to cisplatin-based chemotherapy in HNC. Analysis of 14 HNC cell lines revealed that downregulation of NEFL expression significantly correlated with increased resistance to cisplatin. Hypermethylation of NEFL promoter CpG islands was observed in cell lines as examined by bisulfite DNA sequencing and methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and tightly correlated with reduced NEFL mRNA and protein expression. Furthermore, in patient samples with HNC (n = 51) analyzed by quantitative MSP, NEFL promoter hypermethylation was associated with resistance to cisplatin-based chemotherapy [relative risk (RR), 3.045; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.459-6.355; P = 0.007] and predicted diminished overall and disease-free survival for patients treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Knockdown of NEFL by siRNA in the highly cisplatin-sensitive cell line PCI13 increased (P < 0.01) resistance to cisplatin. In cisplatin-resistant O11 and SCC25cp cells, restored expression of NEFL significantly increased sensitivity to the drug. Furthermore, NEFL physically associated with tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (TSC1), a known inhibitor of the mTOR pathway, and NEFL downregulation led to functional activation of mTOR pathway and consequentially conferred cisplatin resistance. This is the first study to show a role for NEFL in HNC chemoresistance. Our findings suggest that NEFL methylation is a novel mechanism for HNC chemoresistance and may represent a candidate biomarker predictive of chemotherapeutic response and survival in patients with HNC.

Henriksen JR, Haug BH, Buechner J, et al.
Conditional expression of retrovirally delivered anti-MYCN shRNA as an in vitro model system to study neuronal differentiation in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
BMC Dev Biol. 2011; 11:1 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer derived from immature cells of the sympathetic nervous system. The disease is clinically heterogeneous, ranging from neuronal differentiated benign ganglioneuromas to aggressive metastatic tumours with poor prognosis. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene is a well established poor prognostic factor found in up to 40% of high risk neuroblastomas.Using neuroblastoma cell lines to study neuronal differentiation in vitro is now well established. Several protocols, including exposure to various agents and growth factors, will differentiate neuroblastoma cell lines into neuron-like cells. These cells are characterized by a neuronal morphology with long extensively branched neurites and expression of several neurospecific markers.
RESULTS: In this study we use retrovirally delivered inducible short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) modules to knock down MYCN expression in MYCN-amplified (MNA) neuroblastoma cell lines. By addition of the inducer doxycycline, we show that the Kelly and SK-N-BE(2) neuroblastoma cell lines efficiently differentiate into neuron-like cells with an extensive network of neurites. These cells are further characterized by increased expression of the neuronal differentiation markers NFL and GAP43. In addition, we show that induced expression of retrovirally delivered anti-MYCN shRNA inhibits cell proliferation by increasing the fraction of MNA neuroblastoma cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and that the clonogenic growth potential of these cells was also dramatically reduced.
CONCLUSION: We have developed an efficient MYCN-knockdown in vitro model system to study neuronal differentiation in MNA neuroblastomas.

Quyun C, Ye Z, Lin SC, Lin B
Recent patents and advances in genomic biomarker discovery for colorectal cancers.
Recent Pat DNA Gene Seq. 2010; 4(2):86-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the world. Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer is the key to reducing the death rate of CRC patients. Predicting the response to current therapeutic modalities of CRC will also have a great impact on patient care. This review summarizes recent advances and patents in biomarker discovery in CRC under five major categories; including genomic changes, expression changes, mutations, epigenetic changes and microRNAs. The interesting patents include: 1) a patent for a method to differentiate normal exfoliated cells from cancer cells based on whether they were subjected to apoptosis and DNA degradation; 2) A model (PM-33 multiple molecular marker model) based on expression changes of up-regulation of the MDM2, DUSP6, and NFl genes down-regulation of the RNF4, MMD and EIF2S3 genes, which achieved an 88% sensitivity, and an 82% specificity for CRC diagnosis; 3) gene mutations in PTEN, KRAS, PIK3CA for predicting the response to anti-EGFR therapies, a common drug used for CRC treatment; 4) patents on epigenetic changes of ITGA4, SEPT9, ALX4, TFAP2E FOXL2, SARM1, ID4 etc. and many key miRNAs. Finally, future directions in the fields were commented on or suggested, including the combination of multiple categories of biomarkers and pathway central or network-based biomarker panels.

Barton VN, Donson AM, Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK, et al.
Unique molecular characteristics of pediatric myxopapillary ependymoma.
Brain Pathol. 2010; 20(3):560-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myxopapillary ependymoma (MEPN) generally can be cured by gross total surgical resection and usually manifest a favorable prognosis. However, surgery is less curative in tumors that are large, multifocal or extend outside the thecal sac. Late recurrences may occur, particularly in pediatric patients. The role of adjuvant therapy is unclear in the clinical management of recurrent tumors. Clinical trial design requires a better understanding of tumor biology. Unique molecular features of MEPN were investigated by using microarray technology to compare the gene expression of five pediatric MEPN to 24 pediatric intracranial ependymoma (EPN). The upregulation of three genes of interest, homeobox B13 (HOXB13), neurofilament, light polypeptide (NEFL) and PDGFR alpha, was further studied by immunohistochemistry in a larger cohort that included adult MEPN and EPN specimens. Protein expression in MEPN was compared to subependymoma, spinal EPN, intracranial EPN and normal fetal and adult ependyma. Immunoreactivity for HOXB13, NEFL and PDGFR alpha was strongest in MEPN and virtually absent in subependymoma. Spinal and intracranial EPN generally expressed weak or focal staining. MEPN manifests unique gene and protein expression patterns compared to other EPNs. Aberrant expression of HOXB13 suggests possible recapitulation of developmental pathways in MEPN tumorigenesis. PDGFR alpha may be a potential therapeutic target in recurrent MEPN.

Acosta S, Lavarino C, Paris R, et al.
Comprehensive characterization of neuroblastoma cell line subtypes reveals bilineage potential similar to neural crest stem cells.
BMC Dev Biol. 2009; 9:12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastic tumors (NBT) derive from neural crest stem cells (NCSC). Histologically, NBT are composed by neuroblasts and Schwannian cells. In culture, neuroblastic (N-), substrate-adherent (S-) and intermediate phenotype (I-) cell subtypes arise spontaneously.
METHODS: Here, neuroblastoma (NB) cell line subtypes were characterized according to embryonic peripheral nervous system development markers (GAP43, Phox2b, Sox10, c-kit, GD2, NF68, vimentin, S100beta, calcyclin and ABCG2), morphological features, gene expression and differentiation potential. I-type cells were investigated as a bipotential (neuronal and glial) differentiation stage.
RESULTS: Positive immunostaining of NCSC (GAP43, c-kit, NF68, vimentin and Phox2b) and undifferentiated cell (ABCG2) markers was observed in all NB subtypes. N- and I-type cells displayed cytoplasmic membrane GD2 staining, while nuclear calcyclin was restricted to S-type. N- and I-type cells showed similar phenotype and immunoreactivity pattern. Differential gene expression was associated with each cell subtype. N- and I-type cells displayed similar differentiation capacity towards neuronal and glial lineage fates. S-type cells, upon induction, did not show a neuronal-like phenotype, despite gene expression changes.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest that N- and I-type NB cell subtypes represent an immature bilineage stage, able to progress towards neuronal and glial fates upon induction of differentiation. S-type cells appear irreversibly committed to a glial lineage fate.

Rosner M, Hanneder M, Siegel N, et al.
The tuberous sclerosis gene products hamartin and tuberin are multifunctional proteins with a wide spectrum of interacting partners.
Mutat Res. 2008 Mar-Apr; 658(3):234-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in the tumor suppressor genes TSC1 and TSC2, encoding hamartin and tuberin, respectively, cause the tumor syndrome tuberous sclerosis with similar phenotypes. Until now, over 50 proteins have been demonstrated to interact with hamartin and/or tuberin. Besides tuberin, the proteins DOCK7, ezrin/radixin/moesin, FIP200, IKKbeta, Melted, Merlin, NADE(p75NTR), NF-L, Plk1 and TBC7 have been found to interact with hamartin. Whereas Plk1 and TBC7 have been demonstrated not to bind to tuberin, for all the other hamartin-interacting proteins the question, whether they can also bind to tuberin, has not been studied. Tuberin interacts with 14-3-3 beta,epsilon,gamma,eta,sigma,tau,zeta, Akt, AMPK, CaM, CRB3/PATJ, cyclin A, cyclins D1, D2, D3, Dsh, ERalpha, Erk, FoxO1, HERC1, HPV16 E6, HSCP-70, HSP70-1, MK2, NEK1, p27KIP1, Pam, PC1, PP2Ac, Rabaptin-5, Rheb, RxRalpha/VDR and SMAD2/3. 14-3-3 beta,epsilon,gamma,eta,sigma,tau,zeta, Akt, Dsh, FoxO1, HERC1, p27KIP1 and PP2Ac are known not to bind to hamartin. For the other tuberin-interacting proteins this question remains elusive. The proteins axin, Cdk1, cyclin B1, GADD34, GSK3, mTOR and RSK1 have been found to co-immunoprecipitate with both, hamartin and tuberin. The kinases Cdk1 and IKKbeta phosphorylate hamartin, Erk, Akt, MK2, AMPK and RSK1 phosphorylate tuberin, and GSK3 phosphorylates both, hamartin and tuberin. This detailed summary of protein interactions allows new insights into their relevance for the wide variety of different functions of hamartin and tuberin.

Schmidt H, DeAngelis G, Eltze E, et al.
Asynchronous growth of prostate cancer is reflected by circulating tumor cells delivered from distinct, even small foci, harboring loss of heterozygosity of the PTEN gene.
Cancer Res. 2006; 66(18):8959-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
The clinical value of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-positive circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is still a matter of debate and it is also still unclear if these CTCs actually represent the primary tumor. Therefore, we isolated PSA-positive CTCs from the peripheral blood of patients suffering from multifocal cancers and did genetic profiling of each cancer focus by a multiplex PCR-based microsatellite analysis (D7S522, D8S522, NEFL, D10S541, D13S153, D16S400, D16S402, D16S422, and D17S855). In 17 of 20 prostate cancer cases, the loss of heterozygosity (LOH) pattern of the CTCs was identical with only one focus of the primary tumor. Moreover, in six cases, the LOH pattern suggested that smaller foci, down to 0.2 cm3, might deliver CTCs. Interestingly, the highest number of LOHs was observed at the marker D10S541 (85%), the PTEN gene, which was observed much less frequently in unifocal prostate cancer (48%). Furthermore, the infrequently occurring LOH in the BRCA1 gene (38%) was found in four of the five cases where a biochemical recurrence was seen within 3 years after prostatectomy. Therefore, the data might support the assumption that CTCs in prostate cancer are derived from distinct foci of a primary tumor. The size of the tumor focus is not related to the delivery of cells. Although the number of cases that were investigated in this study was small, it might be suggested that the LOH at distinct markers such as D10S541 and D17S855 represent the genes PTEN and BRCA1, which might be associated with the occurrence of CTCs in the peripheral blood of patients as well as an early biochemical recurrence.

Kabzińska D, Perez-Olle R, Goryunov D, et al.
Is a novel I214M substitution in the NEFL gene a cause of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease? Functional analysis using cell culture models.
J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2006; 11(3):225-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent studies have shown that mutations in neurofilament light subunit gene (NEFL) cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Since the first description of the Gln333Pro mutation in the NEFL gene, 10 pathogenic mutations in the NEFL gene have been reported in patients affected with CMT disease. We report a novel I214M amino acid substitution in the NEFL gene in two unrelated patients affected with CMT. Because the I214M amino acid substitution in the NEFL protein was not detected in a CMT affected brother of the proband, its pathogenic effect became unclear. In order to determine whether this amino acid substitution is a benign polymorphism or causative of the disease, we performed a functional analysis of the mutant I214M neurofilament protein (NFL). Transfections of the mutant protein in cultured cells revealed an increased tendency to form highly compacted filamentous structures but no other alterations of neurofilament assembly or transport were observed. Furthermore, the sibling of one of the patients was also affected with CMT but did not have the I214M substitution. These data suggest that this I214M substitution in the NEFL gene was not a direct cause of the disease but could be a polymorphism or possibly a modifier of the CMT phenotype.

Burke B, Sebire NJ, Moss J, et al.
Evaluation of deletions in 7q11.2 and 8p12-p21 as prognostic indicators of tumour development following molar pregnancy.
Gynecol Oncol. 2006; 103(2):642-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have identified loss of chromosomal regions 7p12-q11.2 and 8p12-p21 in choriocarcinoma suggesting that suppressor genes involved in tumour development may be located within these regions. Our objectives were to refine the regions of loss and evaluate these deletions as prognostic indicators of trophoblastic tumour development following molar pregnancy.
METHODS: Fluorescent microsatellite genotyping was used to perform deletion mapping in a series of thirty-nine gestational trophoblastic tumours (GTT) including both choriocarcinoma and placental site trophoblastic tumours.
RESULTS: Significant loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was found for both regions in GTT that originated in non-molar pregnancies. Although no common interval of loss was found in those GTT with LOH for the 7q11.2 region, for the 8p12-p21 locus, markers D8S1731 and NEFL defined a minimal region of loss in all tumours showing LOH. However, complete LOH of either region occurred in only a minority of tumours (20%; chromosome 7: 24%; chromosome 8) suggesting that loss of neither region is likely to be a primary event in the development of GTT. This was further supported by the observation that no deletions were found in either region for the fourteen GTT that followed complete molar pregnancies.
CONCLUSIONS: While we have defined a minimal interval in 8p12-p21 in which tumour suppressor genes involved in GTT are likely to be located, the data suggest that deletions in 7q11.2 or 8p12-p21 are unlikely to be useful prognostic indicators in the management of patients with molar pregnancies.

Cavaliere F, Nestola V, Amadio S, et al.
The metabotropic P2Y4 receptor participates in the commitment to differentiation and cell death of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells.
Neurobiol Dis. 2005; 18(1):100-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extracellular nucleotides exert a variety of biological actions through different subtypes of P2 receptors. Here we characterized in the human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells the simultaneous presence of various P2 receptors, belonging to the P2X ionotropic and P2Y metabotropic families. Western blot analysis detected the P2X1,2,4,5,6,7 and P2Y1,2,4,6, but not the P2X3 and P2Y12 receptors. We then investigated which biological effects were mediated by the P2Y4 subtype and its physiological pyrimidine agonist UTP. We found that neuronal differentiation of the SH-SY5Y cells with dibutiryl-cAMP increased the expression of the P2Y4 protein and that UTP itself was able to positively interfere with neuritogenesis. Moreover, transient transfection and activation of P2Y4 also facilitated neuritogenesis in SH-SY5Y cells, as detected by morphological phase contrast analysis and confocal examination of neurofilament proteins NFL. This was concurrent with increased transcription of immediate-early genes linked to differentiation such as cdk-5 and NeuroD6, and activity of AP-1 transcription family members such as c-fos, fos-B, and jun-D. Nevertheless, a prolonged activation of the P2Y4 receptor by UTP also induced cell death, both in naive, differentiated, and P2Y4-transfected SH-SY5Y cells, as measured by direct count of intact nuclei and cytofluorimetric analysis of damaged DNA. Taken together, our data indicate that the high expression and activation of the P2Y4 receptor participates in the neuronal differentiation and commitment to death of SH-SY5Y cells.

Morosetti R, Servidei T, Mirabella M, et al.
The PPARgamma ligands PGJ2 and rosiglitazone show a differential ability to inhibit proliferation and to induce apoptosis and differentiation of human glioblastoma cell lines.
Int J Oncol. 2004; 25(2):493-502 [PubMed] Related Publications
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) is involved in the control of cell proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation in various tumor cells. Among PPARgamma ligands, 15-deoxy-Delta12,14-prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2), the ultimate metabolite of PGD2, plays a role in the biology of brain tumors. It is still unclear to which extent the anti-proliferative and differentiation-promoting activity of PGJ2 is mediated through PPARgamma. We compared the effects of PGJ2 with those of rosiglitazone - the synthetic agonist with the highest affinity for PPARgamma - in 4 human glioblastoma cell lines (A172, U87-MG, M059K, M059J). All cell lines expressed high levels of PPARgamma, consistent with the high levels of PPARgamma protein in 5 tumor samples. Both PGJ2 and rosiglitazone inhibited proliferation of all cell lines with a G2/M arrest and apoptosis, but only PGJ2 up-regulated p21Cip/WAF1. The growth inhibitory effect was partially reversed by the PPARgamma antagonist GW9662. We studied the time sequence of selected molecular events, that lead glioblastoma cells to apoptosis and/or differentiation, after treatment with both agonists. M059K cells committed to undergo apoptosis by PGJ2, initially up-regulated PPARgamma, and then down-regulated PPARgamma as they began apoptosis. Apoptotic cells also increased their expression of retinoic acid receptor beta (RARbeta) and retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRalpha). PGJ2 increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and decreased levels of vimentin, structural proteins modulated during astrocytic differentiation. Unexpectedly, PGJ2 up-regulated the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Rosiglitazone caused the same pattern of PPARgamma, RARbeta and RXRalpha expression as PGJ2, but no significant modulation of p21Cip/WAF1, cytoskeletal proteins or COX-2 occurred. Our data indicate that PGJ2, and rosiglitazone suppress cell proliferation and cause apoptosis in glioblastoma cell lines, most likely through a PPARgamma-dependent pathway. By contrast, the modulation of differentiation-associated proteins by PGJ2, but not rosiglitazone, suggests that PGJ2 promotes differentiation of glioblastoma cells independently of PPARgamma activation.

Coon SW, Savera AT, Zarbo RJ, et al.
Prognostic implications of loss of heterozygosity at 8p21 and 9p21 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Cancer. 2004; 111(2):206-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in chromosomal regions that harbor tumor suppressor genes from tumor tissue may lead to decreased survival time in cancer patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). We studied 8 regions frequently lost in HNSCC in 150 patients having a primary diagnosis of HNSCC. Tumor and normal tissue DNA were genotyped for microsatellite repeat markers in 8 unlinked chromosomal regions. The association between LOH and death from HNSCC was investigated, weighted by number of informative markers per region and adjusted for age at diagnosis, self-reported race, tumor stage and current smoking status. LOH at 3 chromosomal regions were independently associated with reduced survival. A greater risk for cancer mortality was observed for LOH at chromosomal regions 3p24.3-p14.3 (p = 0.02), 8p21.3-p11.21 (p = 0.02) and 9p24.2-p21.2 (p = 0.03). In these regions, LOH at one or more markers was observed in 66.9%, 43.3% and 60.6% of patients, respectively. Survival times were significantly shorter for those with LOH at marker NEFL on 8p21.2 (relative risk = 6.15; p = 0.0002) and at D9S126 on 9p21.2 (relative risk = 5.96; p = 0.0003). Our results indicate that LOH at several chromosomal sites may offer additional independent prognostic information beyond traditional indicators such as tumor stage and age.

Tatenhorst L, Senner V, Püttmann S, Paulus W
Regulators of G-protein signaling 3 and 4 (RGS3, RGS4) are associated with glioma cell motility.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004; 63(3):210-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Diffuse brain invasion is a major reason for poor prognosis of glioma patients. The molecular mechanisms underlying infiltration are different from those of other cancer types. To detect genes associated with glioma invasion, highly migratory clones were selected from U373MG glioma cells and from primary glioblastoma cells, and the gene expression pattern of these "fast" cells was compared with that of the original ("slow") cells using oligonucleotide microarrays comprising 12,625 genes. A total of 28 genes were differently expressed in both primary and established cell populations, including 19 genes that were upregulated and 9 that were downregulated in fast cells. Most of these genes have not been linked to glioma invasion so far. Specifically, differentially expressed genes included those encoding extracellular matrix components (COL16A1, DPT), proteases (CATD, PRSS11), cytokines (MDK, IL8), transport proteins (SLC1A3, ATP10B), cytoskeleton constituents (ACTA2, ACTSG, NEFL), DNA repair enzymes (WRN, ADPRTL2), and G-protein signaling components (GNA12, RGS3, RGS4). RGS3 and RGS4, which are homologs of the Drosophila glia gene loco, were further functionally analyzed. U373MG glioma cell clones overexpressing RGS3 or RGS4 showed an increase of both adhesion and migration. These findings expand the spectrum of possible molecular pathways underlying the invasion of neoplastic astrocytes. Specifically, they suggest that RGS proteins and G-protein-mediated signal transduction are evolutionary conserved functional players.

Li SP, Deng YQ, Wang XC, et al.
Melatonin protects SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells from calyculin A-induced neurofilament impairment and neurotoxicity.
J Pineal Res. 2004; 36(3):186-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hyperphosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins seen in Alzheimer's disease is most probably the result of an imbalanced regulation in protein kinases and protein phosphatases (PP) in the affected neurons. Previous studies have revealed that PP-2A and PP-1 play important roles in the pathogenesis. Employing human neuroblastoma cells, we found that 10 nM calyculin A (CA), a selective inhibitor of PP-2A and PP-1, significantly increased phosphorylation and accumulation of neurofilament (NF) in the cells. Levels of NF-M (middle chain) and NF-L (light chain) mRNA decreased after CA treatment. Additionally, CA led to a decreased cell viability determined by MTT and crystal violet assay. Melatonin efficiently protects the cell from CA-induced alterations in NF hyperphosphorylation and accumulation, suppressed NF gene expression as well as decreased cell viability. It is concluded that inhibition of PP-2A/PP-1 by CA induces abnormalities in NF metabolism and cell survival, and melatonin efficiently arrests the lesions.

Yu J, Zhang HY, Ma ZZ, et al.
Methylation profiling of twenty four genes and the concordant methylation behaviours of nineteen genes that may contribute to hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
Cell Res. 2003; 13(5):319-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
To determine the possible role of the epigenetic mechanisms in carcinogenesis of the hepatocellular carcinoma, we methylation-profiled the promoter CpG islands of twenty four genes both in HCC tumors and the neighboring non-cancerous tissues of twenty eight patients using the methylation-specific PCR (MSP) method in conjunction with the DNA sequencing. In comparison with the normal liver tissues from the healthy donors, it was found that while remained unmethylated the ABL, CAV, EPO, GATA3, LKB1, NEP, NFL, NIS and p27KIP1 genes, varying extents of the HCC specific hypermethylation were found associated with the ABO, AR, CSPG2, cyclin a1, DBCCR1, GALR2, IRF7, MGMT, MT1A, MYOD1, OCT6, p57KIP2, p73, WT1 genes, and demethylation with the MAGEA1 gene, respectively. Judged by whether the hypermethylated occurred in HCC more frequently than in their neighboring normal tissues, the hypermethylation status of the AR, DBCCR1, IRF7, OCT6, and p73 genes was considered as the event specific to the late stage, while that the rest that lacked such a distinguished contrast, as the event specific to the early stage of HCC carcinogenesis. Among all the clinical pathological parameters tested for the association with, the hypermethylation of the cyclin a1 gene was more prevalent in the non-cirrhosis group (P=0.021) while the hypermethylated p16INK4a gene was more common in the cirrhosis group (P=0.017). The concordant methylation behaviors of nineteen genes, including the four previously studied and their association with cirrhosis has been evaluated by the best subgroup selection method. The data presented in this report would enable us to shape our understanding of the mechanisms for the HCC specific loss of the epigenetic stability of the genome, as well as the strategy of developing the novel robust methylation based diagnostic and prognostic tools.

Ramesh V
Aspects of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) protein function in the brain.
Biochem Soc Trans. 2003; 31(Pt 3):579-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2, is characterized by the development of hamartomas in a variety of organs. Concordant with the tumour-suppressor model, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) is known to occur in these hamartomas at both TSC1 and TSC2 loci. LOH has been documented in renal angiomyolipomas, but loss of the wild-type allele in cortical tubers appears very uncommon. We analysed 24 hamartomas from 10 patients for second-hit mutations by several methods, and found no evidence for the inactivation of the second allele in many of the central nervous system (CNS) lesions, including tumours that appear to be clonally derived. We believe that somatic mutations in TSC1 and TSC2 resulting in the loss of wild-type alleles may not be necessary in some tumour types, and other mechanisms may contribute to tumorigenesis in this setting. We have shown that hamartin interacts with neurofilament light chain (NF-L) and could integrate the neuronal cytoskeleton through its direct interaction with NF-L and ERM (ezrin/radixin/moeisin) proteins. Our unpublished work further documents the binding of tuberin with Pam, a protein associated with c-Myc, which is enriched in brain. All these observations suggest that the tuberin-hamartin complex is likely to have distinct functions in the CNS.

Nagai A, Suzuki Y, Baek SY, et al.
Generation and characterization of human hybrid neurons produced between embryonic CNS neurons and neuroblastoma cells.
Neurobiol Dis. 2002; 11(1):184-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
A human hybrid neuronal cell line A1 has been generated by somatic fusion between a human fetal cerebral neuron and a human neuroblastoma cell, and RT-PCR, immunochemical, and electrophysiological studies of the hybrid cells indicated that the cells express faithfully of morphological, immunochemical, physiological, and genetic features of human cerebral neurons. A1 hybrid neurons express neuron-specific markers such as neurofilament-L (NF-L), NF-M, NF-H, MAP-2, and beta tubulin III. A1 human hybrid neurons express messages for various cytokines and cytokine receptors which are similar to parental human CNS neurons and different from the other parental cell line, SK-SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma. A1 hybrid neurons also express messages for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), indicating that they could differentiate into various subsets of neuronal types. Whole-cell patch clamp experiments showed that A1 hybrid neurons expressed Na+ currents, which were completely blocked by tetrodotoxin. In addition, depolarizing and hyperpolarizing voltage clamp steps evoked respective outward and inward K+ currents in these cells. When A1 hybrid neurons were exposed to beta amyloid for 72 hr, there was three-fold increase in TUNEL positive cells over controls, indicating that beta amyloid is neurotoxic to A1 hybrid neurons. The present study indicates that the A1 human hybrid neuronal cell line should serve as a valuable in vitro model for studies of biology, physiology, and pathology of human neurons in health and disease.

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