PAX7

Gene Summary

Gene:PAX7; paired box 7
Aliases: HUP1, RMS2, PAX7B
Location:1p36.13
Summary:This gene is a member of the paired box (PAX) family of transcription factors. Members of this gene family typically contain a paired box domain, an octapeptide, and a paired-type homeodomain. These genes play critical roles during fetal development and cancer growth. The specific function of the paired box 7 gene is unknown but speculated to involve tumor suppression since fusion of this gene with a forkhead domain family member has been associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:paired box protein Pax-7
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: PAX7 (cancer-related)

Hettmer S, Li Z, Billin AN, et al.
Rhabdomyosarcoma: current challenges and their implications for developing therapies.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014; 4(11):a025650 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) represents a rare, heterogeneous group of mesodermal malignancies with skeletal muscle differentiation. One major subgroup of RMS tumors (so-called "fusion-positive" tumors) carries exclusive chromosomal translocations that join the DNA-binding domain of the PAX3 or PAX7 gene to the transactivation domain of the FOXO1 (previously known as FKHR) gene. Fusion-negative RMS represents a heterogeneous spectrum of tumors with frequent RAS pathway activation. Overtly metastatic disease at diagnosis is more frequently found in individuals with fusion-positive than in those with fusion-negative tumors. RMS is the most common pediatric soft-tissue sarcoma, and approximately 60% of all children and adolescents diagnosed with RMS are cured by currently available multimodal therapies. However, a curative outcome is achieved in <30% of high-risk individuals with RMS, including all those diagnosed as adults, those diagnosed with fusion-positive tumors during childhood (including metastatic and nonmetastatic tumors), and those diagnosed with metastatic disease during childhood (including fusion-positive and fusion-negative tumors). This white paper outlines current challenges in RMS research and their implications for developing more effective therapies. Urgent clinical problems include local control, systemic disease, need for improved risk stratification, and characterization of differences in disease course in children and adults. Biological challenges include definition of the cellular functions of PAX-FOXO1 fusion proteins, clarification of disease heterogeneity, elucidation of the cellular origins of RMS, delineation of the tumor microenvironment, and identification of means for rational selection and testing of new combination therapies. To streamline future therapeutic developments, it will be critical to improve access to fresh tumor tissue for research purposes, consider alternative trial designs to optimize early clinical testing of candidate drugs, coalesce advocacy efforts to garner public and industry support, and facilitate collaborative efforts between academia and industry.

Chiappalupi S, Riuzzi F, Fulle S, et al.
Defective RAGE activity in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cells results in high PAX7 levels that sustain migration and invasiveness.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(10):2382-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a muscle-derived malignant tumor mainly affecting children. The most frequent variant, embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) is characterized by overexpression of the transcription factor, PAX7 which prevents ERMS cells from exiting the cell cycle and terminally differentiating. However, a role for PAX7 in the invasive properties of ERMS cells has not been investigated in detail thus far. Here we show that ectopic expression of receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) in human ERMS cells results in the activation of a RAGE/myogenin axis which downregulates PAX7 by transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms, as in normal myoblasts, and reduces metastasis formation. High PAX7 sustains migration and invasiveness in ERMS cells by upregulating EPHA3 and EFNA1 and downregulating NCAM1 thus decreasing the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM)/polysialylated-NCAM ratio. Microarray gene expression analysis shows that compared with the RAGE(-ve) TE671/WT cells and similarly to primary human myoblasts, TE671/RAGE cells show upregulation of genes involved in muscle differentiation and cell adhesion, and downregulation of cell migration related and major histocompatibility complex class I genes. Our data reveal a link between PAX7 and metastasis occurrence in ERMSs, and support a role for the RAGE/myogenin axis in metastasis suppression. Thus, low RAGE expression in ERMS primary tumors may be predictive of metastatic behavior.

Rudzinski ER, Anderson JR, Lyden ER, et al.
Myogenin, AP2β, NOS-1, and HMGA2 are surrogate markers of fusion status in rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the soft tissue sarcoma committee of the children's oncology group.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2014; 38(5):654-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is traditionally classified on the basis of the histologic appearance into alveolar (ARMS) and embryonal (ERMS) subtypes. The majority of ARMS contain a PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 gene fusion, but about 20% do not. Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study stage-matched and group-matched ARMS typically behaves more aggressively than ERMS, but recent studies have shown that it is, in fact, the fusion status that drives the outcome for RMS. Gene expression microarray data indicate that several genes discriminate between fusion-positive and fusion-negative RMS with high specificity. Using tissue microarrays containing a series of both ARMS and ERMS, we identified a panel of 4 immunohistochemical markers-myogenin, AP2β, NOS-1, and HMGA2-which can be used as surrogate markers of fusion status in RMS. These antibodies provide an alternative to molecular methods for identification of fusion-positive RMS, particularly in cases in which there is scant or poor-quality material. In addition, these antibodies may be useful in fusion-negative ARMS as an indicator that a variant gene fusion may be present.

Lynn M, Shah N, Conroy J, et al.
A study of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma copy number alterations by single nucleotide polymorphism analysis.
Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2014; 22(3):213-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common pediatric soft tissue malignancy arises in 2 major histologic forms: embryonal and alveolar. Classically, the alveolar subtype is characterized by a chromosomal translocation t(2;13)(q35;q14) or t(1;13)(p36;q14) fusing the PAX3 or PAX7 gene, respectively, to the FOXO1 gene, although fusion-negative cases of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) occur; these share considerably more with the genomic profiles and biological behavior of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma than with fusion-positive ARMS. The current understanding of any additional genetic aberrations in fusion-positive ARMS is limited. In this study, we evaluated tumor-specific copy number alterations in a cohort of fusion-positive ARMSs using high-resolution technology. The results presented here include previously described changes as well as completely novel findings of copy number alterations in BCR and DICER. The study furthermore highlights associations between fusion type and genotype, as well as outcomes and genotype. Rearrangement of PAX7 is strongly associated with copy number alteration of Glypican 5 (GPC5) and moderately with amplification of IGF1R. There is a moderate association between death from/relapse of disease and, on the one hand, amplification of 12q13.3 (DDIT3; Gli1), and on the other hand, copy number alteration of Wnt6 or LRP1B. Gains of both LRP1B and Gli1 in turn are strongly associated with MycN amplification.

Riuzzi F, Sorci G, Sagheddu R, et al.
RAGE signaling deficiency in rhabdomyosarcoma cells causes upregulation of PAX7 and uncontrolled proliferation.
J Cell Sci. 2014; 127(Pt 8):1699-711 [PubMed] Related Publications
Embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas (ERMSs) show elevated levels of PAX7, a transcription factor that marks quiescent adult muscle stem (satellite) cells and is important for proliferation and survival of activated satellite cells and whose timely repression is required for myogenic differentiation. However, the mechanism of PAX7 accumulation in ERMSs and whether high PAX7 causes uncontrolled proliferation in ERMS remains to be elucidated. The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE, encoded by AGER) transduces a myogenic and anti-proliferative signal in myoblasts, and stable transfection of the ERMS cell line TE671, which does not express RAGE, with AGER results in reduced proliferation and formation of tumor masses in vivo, and enhanced apoptosis and myogenic differentiation. Herein, we show that RAGE expression is low or absent in human ERMSs. We also show that in ERMS cells (1) PAX7 accumulates owing to absent or low RAGE signaling; (2) elevated PAX7 levels reduce RAGE expression and levels of MyoD and myogenin, muscle-specific transcription factors required for myoblast proliferation arrest and differentiation, respectively; (3) PAX7 supports myoblast proliferation by reducing the levels of MyoD, primarily by promoting its degradation; and (4), when ectopically expressed in ERMS cells, that RAGE upregulates myogenin which upregulates MyoD and downregulates PAX7, with consequent inhibition of proliferation and stimulation of differentiation. Thus, failure to express RAGE and, hence, MyoD and myogenin above a critical level in ERMS cells might result in deregulated PAX7 expression leading to uncontrolled proliferation and, potentially, to rhabdomyosarcomagenesis.

Liu C, Li D, Hu J, et al.
Chromosomal and genetic imbalances in Chinese patients with rhabdomyosarcoma detected by high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(2):690-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children. Although associations between ARMS tumorigenesis and PAX3, PAX7, and FKHR are well recognized, the complete genetic etiology underlying RMS pathogenesis and progression remains unclear. Chromosomal copy number variations (CNVs) and the involved genes may play important roles in the pathogenesis and progression of human malignancies. Using high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), we examined 20 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) RMS tumors to explore the involvement of the relevant chromosomal regions with resident genes in RMS tumorigenesis. In RMS, frequent gains were identified on chromosome regions 12q13.3-q14.1, 12q24.31, 17q25.1, 1q21.1, and 7q11.23, whereas frequent losses were observed on chromosome regions 5q13.2, 14q32.33, and 15q11.2. Amplifications were observed on chromosome regions 9p13.3, 12q13.3-q14.1, 12q15, and 16p13.11, whereas deletions were detected on chromosome regions 1p36.33, 1p13.1, 2q11.1, 5q13.2, 8p23.1, 9p24.3, and 16p11.2. Frequent gains were detected in GLI1, GEFT, OS9, and CDK4 (12q13.3-q14.1), being 60% in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) and 66.67% in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), respectively. However, frequent losses were detected in IGHG1, IGHM, IGHG3, and IGHG4 (14q32.33), being 70% in ERMS and 55.56% in and ARMS, respectively. Frequent gains were detected in TYROBP, HCST, LRFN3, and ALKBH6 (19q13.12) in ERMS but not in ARMS. The frequency of TYROBP, HCST, LRFN3, and ALKBH6 gains is significantly different in ERMS versus ARMS (P=0.011). The results suggest that novel TYROBP, HCST, LRFN3, and ALKBH6 genes may play important roles in ERMS. The technique used is a feasible approach for array comparative genomic hybridization analysis in archival tumor samples.

Qadir MA, Zhan SH, Kwok B, et al.
ChildSeq-RNA: A next-generation sequencing-based diagnostic assay to identify known fusion transcripts in childhood sarcomas.
J Mol Diagn. 2014; 16(3):361-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Childhood sarcomas can be extremely difficult to accurately diagnose on the basis of morphological characteristics alone. Ancillary methods, such as RT-PCR or fluorescence in situ hybridization, to detect pathognomonic gene fusions can help to distinguish these tumors. Two major deficiencies of these assays are their inability to identify gene fusions at nucleotide resolution or to detect multiple gene fusions simultaneously. We developed a next-generation sequencing-based assay designated ChildSeq-RNA that uses the Ion Torrent platform to screen for EWSR1-FLI1 and EWSR1-ERG, PAX3-FOXO1 and PAX7-FOXO1, EWSR1-WT1, and ETV6-NTRK3 fusions of Ewing sarcoma (ES), alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, desmoplastic small round cell tumor, and congenital fibrosarcoma, respectively. To rapidly analyze resulting data, we codeveloped a bioinformatics tool, termed ChildDecode, that operates on a scalable, cloud-computing platform. Total RNA from four ES cell lines plus 33 clinical samples representing ES, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, desmoplastic small round cell tumor, and congenital fibrosarcoma tumors was subjected to ChildSeq-RNA. This accurately identified corresponding gene fusions in each tumor type, with no examples of false positive fusion detection in this proof-of-concept study. Comparison with previous RT-PCR findings demonstrated high sensitivity (96.4%; 95% CI, 82.3%-99.4%) and specificity (100%; 95% CI, 56.6%-100%) of ChildSeq-RNA to detect gene fusions. Herein, we propose ChildSeq-RNA as a novel tool to detect gene fusions in childhood sarcomas at single-nucleotide resolution.

Shern JF, Chen L, Chmielecki J, et al.
Comprehensive genomic analysis of rhabdomyosarcoma reveals a landscape of alterations affecting a common genetic axis in fusion-positive and fusion-negative tumors.
Cancer Discov. 2014; 4(2):216-31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Despite gains in survival, outcomes for patients with metastatic or recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma remain dismal. In a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute, Children's Oncology Group, and Broad Institute, we performed whole-genome, whole-exome, and transcriptome sequencing to characterize the landscape of somatic alterations in 147 tumor/normal pairs. Two genotypes are evident in rhabdomyosarcoma tumors: those characterized by the PAX3 or PAX7 fusion and those that lack these fusions but harbor mutations in key signaling pathways. The overall burden of somatic mutations in rhabdomyosarcoma is relatively low, especially in tumors that harbor a PAX3/7 gene fusion. In addition to previously reported mutations in NRAS, KRAS, HRAS, FGFR4, PIK3CA, and CTNNB1, we found novel recurrent mutations in FBXW7 and BCOR, providing potential new avenues for therapeutic intervention. Furthermore, alteration of the receptor tyrosine kinase/RAS/PIK3CA axis affects 93% of cases, providing a framework for genomics-directed therapies that might improve outcomes for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma.
SIGNIFICANCE: This is the most comprehensive genomic analysis of rhabdomyosarcoma to date. Despite a relatively low mutation rate, multiple genes were recurrently altered, including NRAS, KRAS, HRAS, FGFR4, PIK3CA, CTNNB1, FBXW7, and BCOR. In addition, a majority of rhabdomyosarcoma tumors alter the receptor tyrosine kinase/RAS/PIK3CA axis, providing an opportunity for genomics-guided intervention.

Win KT, Lee MY, Tan TD, et al.
Nasopharyngeal alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma expressing CD56: a mimicker of extranodal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(1):451-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) is remarkably rare in adults older than 45 years. Histologically, the tumor is composed of blue round cells with frequent expression of CD56 in addition to myogenic markers. Recent studies of ARMS have shown two specific recurrent translocations: PAX3-FKHR [t(2;13)(q35;q14)] or PAX7-FKHR [t(1;13)(p36;q14)]. Extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma (ENKTL) occurs most frequently in the upper aerodigestive tract with a male preference in East Asia and Central and South Americas with neoplastic cells frequently expressing CD56. We report a 53-year-old Taiwanese man presenting with a nasopharyngeal mass, cervical lymphadenopathy, and multiple bone metastases. Histologically, the nasopharyngeal biopsy revealed diffuse sheets of small blue round tumor cells without obvious alveolar pattern, angioinvasion or tumor necrosis. An initial erroneous diagnosis of ENKTL was made due to CD56 expression using fresh tumor tissue with flow cytometric analysis and the patient was treated accordingly. Retrospective study showed that the tumor cells expressed CD56, desmin, and myogenin. Fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that the tumor cells were positive for FKHR gene rearrangement, confirming the diagnosis of ARMS. Our case illustrates that a diagnosis of ENKTL based solely on CD56 expression can be misleading for a nasopharyngeal small blue round cell tumor. ARMS should be included as a differential diagnosis, and a correct diagnosis can be reached only after a high index of suspicion and a thorough histological examination with the aid of ancillary studies.

Zin A, Bertorelle R, Dall'Igna P, et al.
Epithelioid rhabdomyosarcoma: a clinicopathologic and molecular study.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2014; 38(2):273-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma and is mostly represented by the embryonal (ERMS) and alveolar (ARMS) histotypes. Whereas ERMS shows variable genetic alterations including TP53, RB1, and RAS mutations, ARMS carries a gene fusion between PAX3 or PAX7 and FOXO1. Epithelioid RMS is a morphologic variant of RMS recently described in adults. Five cases of epithelioid RMS were identified after histologic review of 85 cases of ARMS enrolled in Italian therapeutic protocols. Immunostaining analyses (muscle-specific actin, desmin, myogenin, AP-2β, EMA, cytokeratins, INI-1) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays to detect MyoD1, myogenin, and PAX3/7-FOXO1 transcripts were performed. In 4 cases DNA sequencing of TP53 was performed; and RB1 allelic imbalance and homozygous deletion were analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Histologically, epithelioid RMS displayed sheets of large cells without rhabdomyoblastic differentiation or anaplasia in 3 and prominent rhabdoid cells in 2; necrosis was evident in 4, often with a geographic pattern. Immunostainings for INI, desmin, myogenin (scattered cells in 4, diffuse in 1) were positive in all; EMA and MNF116 were positive in 2; AP-2β was negative. PAX3/7-FOXO1 transcripts were absent. In all cases RB1 was wild type, and a TP53 mutation at R273H codon was found in 1. All patients are in complete remission, with a median follow-up of 6 years. Epithelioid RMS may occur in children and is probably related to ERMS, as suggested by lack of fusion transcripts, weak staining for myogenin, negative AP-2β, evidence of TP53 mutation (although only in 1 case), and a favorable clinical course.

Rajurkar M, Huang H, Cotton JL, et al.
Distinct cellular origin and genetic requirement of Hedgehog-Gli in postnatal rhabdomyosarcoma genesis.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(46):5370-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dysregulation of the Hedgehog (Hh)-Gli signaling pathway is implicated in a variety of human cancers, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC), medulloblastoma (MB) and embryonal rhabdhomyosarcoma (eRMS), three principle tumors associated with human Gorlin syndrome. However, the cells of origin of these tumors, including eRMS, remain poorly understood. In this study, we explore the cell populations that give rise to Hh-related tumors by specifically activating Smoothened (Smo) in both Hh-producing and -responsive cell lineages in postnatal mice. Interestingly, we find that unlike BCC and MB, eRMS originates from the stem/progenitor populations that do not normally receive active Hh signaling. Furthermore, we find that the myogenic lineage in postnatal mice is largely Hh quiescent and that Pax7-expressing muscle satellite cells are not able to give rise to eRMS upon Smo or Gli1/2 overactivation in vivo, suggesting that Hh-induced skeletal muscle eRMS arises from Hh/Gli quiescent non-myogenic cells. In addition, using the Gli1 null allele and a Gli3 repressor allele, we reveal a specific genetic requirement for Gli proteins in Hh-induced eRMS formation and provide molecular evidence for the involvement of Sox4/11 in eRMS cell survival and differentiation.

Parham DM, Barr FG
Classification of rhabdomyosarcoma and its molecular basis.
Adv Anat Pathol. 2013; 20(6):387-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, has traditionally been classified into embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) for pediatric oncology practice. This review outlines the historical development of classification of childhood RMS and the challenges that have been associated with it, particularly problems with the diagnosis of "solid variant" ARMS and its distinction from ERMS. In addition to differences in clinical presentation and outcome, a number of genetic features underpin separation of ERMS from ARMS. Genetic differences associated with RMS subclassification include the presence of reciprocal translocations and their associated fusions in ARMS, amplification of genes in ARMS and its fusion subsets, chromosomal losses and gains that mostly occur in ERMS, and allelic losses and mutations usually associated with ERMS. Chimeric proteins encoded in most ARMS from the fusion of PAX3 or PAX7 with FOXO1 are expressed, result in a distinct pattern of downstream protein expression, and appear to be the proximate cause of the bad outcome associated with this subtype. A sizeable minority of ARMS lacks these fusions and shares the clinical and biological features of ERMS. A battery of immunohistochemical tests may prove useful in separating ERMS from ARMS and fusion-positive ARMS from fusion-negative ARMS. Because of limitation of predicting outcome solely based on histologic classification, treatment protocols will begin to utilize fusion testing for stratification of affected patients into low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk groups.

He WA, Berardi E, Cardillo VM, et al.
NF-κB-mediated Pax7 dysregulation in the muscle microenvironment promotes cancer cachexia.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(11):4821-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cachexia is a debilitating condition characterized by extreme skeletal muscle wasting that contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Efforts to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of muscle loss have predominantly focused on events intrinsic to the myofiber. In contrast, less regard has been given to potential contributory factors outside the fiber within the muscle microenvironment. In tumor-bearing mice and patients with pancreatic cancer, we found that cachexia was associated with a type of muscle damage resulting in activation of both satellite and nonsatellite muscle progenitor cells. These muscle progenitors committed to a myogenic program, but were inhibited from completing differentiation by an event linked with persistent expression of the self-renewing factor Pax7. Overexpression of Pax7 was sufficient to induce atrophy in normal muscle, while under tumor conditions, the reduction of Pax7 or exogenous addition of its downstream target, MyoD, reversed wasting by restoring cell differentiation and fusion with injured fibers. Furthermore, Pax7 was induced by serum factors from cachectic mice and patients, in an NF-κB-dependent manner, both in vitro and in vivo. Together, these results suggest that Pax7 responds to NF-κB by impairing the regenerative capacity of myogenic cells in the muscle microenvironment to drive muscle wasting in cancer.

Keller C, Guttridge DC
Mechanisms of impaired differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma.
FEBS J. 2013; 280(17):4323-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood, with presumed skeletal muscle origins, because of its myogenic phenotype. RMS is composed of two main subtypes, embryonal RMS (eRMS) and alveolar RMS (aRMS). Whereas eRMS histologically resembles embryonic skeletal muscle, the aRMS subtype is more aggressive and has a poorer prognosis. In addition, whereas the genetic profile of eRMS is not well established, aRMS is commonly associated with distinct chromosome translocations that fuse domains of the transcription factors Pax3 and Pax7 to the forkhead family member FOXO1A. Both eRMS and aRMS tumor cells express myogenic markers such as MyoD, but their ability to complete differentiation is impaired. How this impairment occurs is the subject of this review, which will focus on several themes, including signaling pathways that converge on Pax-forkhead gene targets, alterations in MyoD function, epigenetic modifications of myogenic promoters, and microRNAs whose expression patterns in RMS alter key regulatory circuits to help maintain tumor cells in an opportunistically less differentiated state.

Skapek SX, Anderson J, Barr FG, et al.
PAX-FOXO1 fusion status drives unfavorable outcome for children with rhabdomyosarcoma: a children's oncology group report.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013; 60(9):1411-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is divided into two major histological subtypes: alveolar (ARMS) and embryonal (ERMS), with most ARMS expressing one of two oncogenic genes fusing PAX3 or PAX7 with FOXO1 (P3F and P7F, respectively). The Children's Oncology Group (COG) carried out a multi-institutional clinical trial to evaluate the prognostic value of PAX-FOXO1 fusion status.
METHODS: Study participants were treated on COG protocol D9803 for intermediate risk ARMS or ERMS using multi-agent chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Central diagnostic pathology review and molecular testing for fusion genes were carried out on prospectively collected specimens. Event-free (EFS) and overall survival (OS) at 5 years were correlated with histological subtype and PAX-FOXO1 status.
RESULTS: Of 616 eligible D9803 enrollees, 434 cases had adequate clinical, molecular, and pathology data for definitive classification as ERMS, ARMS P3F+ or P7F+, or ARMSn (without detectable fusion). EFS was worse for those with ARMS P3F+ (54%) and P7F+ (65%) than those with ERMS (77%; P < 0.001). EFS for ARMSn and ERMS were not statistically different (90% vs. 77%, P = 0.15). ARMS P3F+ had poorer OS (64%) than ARMS P7F+ (87%), ARMSn (89%), and ERMS (82%; P = 0.006).
CONCLUSIONS: ARMSn has an outcome similar to ERMS and superior EFS compared to ARMS with either P3F or P7F, when given therapy designed for children with intermediate risk RMS. This prospective analysis supports incorporation of PAX-FOXO1 fusion status into risk stratification and treatment allocation.

de Souza RR, Oliveira ID, Caran EM, et al.
Investigation of PAX3/7-FKHR fusion genes and IGF2 gene expression in rhabdomyosarcoma tumors.
Growth Horm IGF Res. 2012; 22(6):245-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The purpose of our study was to investigate the prevalence of the PAX3/7-FKHR fusion genes and quantify the IGF2 gene expression in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) samples. Soft tissue sarcomas account 5% of childhood cancers and 50% of them are RMS. Morphological evaluation of pediatric RMS has defined two histological subtypes, embryonal (ERMS) and alveolar (ARMS). Chromosomal analyses have demonstrated two translocations associated with ARMS, resulting in the PAX3/7-FKHR rearrangements. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is extremely useful in the diagnosis of ARMS positive for these rearrangements. Additionally, several studies have shown a significant involvement of IGF pathway in the pathogenesis of RMS. The presence of PAX3/7-FKHR gene fusions was studied in 25 RMS samples from patients attending the IOP-GRAACC/UNIFESP and three RMS cell lines by RT-PCR. IGF2 gene expression was quantified by qPCR and related with clinic pathological parameters. Of the 25 samples, nine (36%) were ARMS and 16 (64%) were ERMS. PAX3/7-FKHR gene fusions expression was detected in 56% of ARMS tumor samples. IGF2 overexpression was observed in 80% of samples and could indicate an important role of this pathway in RMS biology.

Murdoch B, DelConte C, García-Castro MI
Pax7 lineage contributions to the mammalian neural crest.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e41089 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neural crest cells are vertebrate-specific multipotent cells that contribute to a variety of tissues including the peripheral nervous system, melanocytes, and craniofacial bones and cartilage. Abnormal development of the neural crest is associated with several human maladies including cleft/lip palate, aggressive cancers such as melanoma and neuroblastoma, and rare syndromes, like Waardenburg syndrome, a complex disorder involving hearing loss and pigment defects. We previously identified the transcription factor Pax7 as an early marker, and required component for neural crest development in chick embryos. In mammals, Pax7 is also thought to play a role in neural crest development, yet the precise contribution of Pax7 progenitors to the neural crest lineage has not been determined.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we use Cre/loxP technology in double transgenic mice to fate map the Pax7 lineage in neural crest derivates. We find that Pax7 descendants contribute to multiple tissues including the cranial, cardiac and trunk neural crest, which in the cranial cartilage form a distinct regional pattern. The Pax7 lineage, like the Pax3 lineage, is additionally detected in some non-neural crest tissues, including a subset of the epithelial cells in specific organs.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results demonstrate a previously unappreciated widespread distribution of Pax7 descendants within and beyond the neural crest. They shed light regarding the regionally distinct phenotypes observed in Pax3 and Pax7 mutants, and provide a unique perspective into the potential roles of Pax7 during disease and development.

Thuault S, Hayashi S, Lagirand-Cantaloube J, et al.
P-cadherin is a direct PAX3-FOXO1A target involved in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma aggressiveness.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(15):1876-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) is an aggressive childhood cancer of striated muscle characterized by the presence of the PAX3-FOXO1A or PAX7-FOXO1A chimeric oncogenic transcription factor. Identification of their targets is essential for understanding ARMS pathogenesis. To this aim, we analyzed transcriptomic data from rhabdomyosarcoma samples and found that P-cadherin expression is correlated with PAX3/7-FOXO1A presence. We then show that expression of a PAX3 dominant negative variant inhibits P-cadherin expression in ARMS cells. Using mouse models carrying modified Pax3 alleles, we demonstrate that P-cadherin is expressed in the dermomyotome and lies genetically downstream from the myogenic factor Pax3. Moreover, in vitro gel shift analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation indicate that the P-cadherin gene is a direct transcriptional target for PAX3/7-FOXO1A. Finally, P-cadherin expression in normal myoblasts inhibits myogenesis and induces myoblast transformation, migration and invasion. Conversely, P-cadherin downregulation by small hairpin RNA decreases the transformation, migration and invasive potential of ARMS cells. P-cadherin also favors cadherin switching, which is a hallmark of metastatic progression, by controlling N- and M-cadherin expression and/or localization. Our findings demonstrate that P-cadherin is a direct PAX3-FOXO1A transcriptional target involved in ARMS aggressiveness. Therefore, P-cadherin emerges as a new and attractive target for therapeutic intervention in ARMS.

Rosenberg AR, Skapek SX, Hawkins DS
The inconvenience of convenience cohorts: rhabdomyosarcoma and the PAX-FOXO1 biomarker.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012; 21(7):1012-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
"Convenience cohorts" comprise individuals thought to represent the general population, but chosen because they are readily available for evaluation, rather than at random. As such, these methods are subject to bias and may be misleading. Convenience cohorts have been used to investigate the prognostic significance of chromosomal translocations between the PAX3 or PAX7 and the FOXO1 genes in rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common pediatric sarcoma. However, retrospective studies assessing the role of PAX-FOXO1 translocations have yielded inconsistent results. This review highlights the findings from several clinical correlation studies of the PAX-FOXO1 biomarker and illustrates the challenges of using such methods to draw clinical conclusions.

Citti A, Boldrini R, Inserra A, et al.
Expression of multidrug resistance-associated proteins in paediatric soft tissue sarcomas before and after chemotherapy.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 41(1):117-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Expression of multidrug resistance (MDR) proteins is thought to significantly contribute to the different biological/clinical behaviour of soft tissue sarcomas (STS) of various histological types and clinicopathological stages, as they are responsible for active efflux of cytotoxic drugs from tumour cells. We investigated the expression of 3 MDR proteins, i.e., permeability glycoprotein 1 (P-gp), multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1) and multidrug resistance 3 (MDR3), in 43 STS specimens from newly-diagnosed paediatric patients, 31 with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and 12 with non-RMS STS. To assess the influence of chemotherapy on STS drug resistance, the number of MDR-associated protein-positive cells was determined in 15 patients on both primary lesions before chemotherapy and on residual tumour after chemotherapy. At least one of the MDR-associated proteins tested was detected in 84% of primary untreated STS specimens. In these specimens, MRP1 was detected in a high percentage (70%) of the cases, followed by MDR3 in 58% and P-gp in 44%. Many specimens showed co-expression of two different MDR proteins. Interestingly, MDR3 was significantly associated with the presence of PAX3/PAX7-FKHR transcripts in RMS (p<0.05). Moreover, expression of MRP1 and MDR3 was significantly more frequent in group III and IV tumours as compared with those of groups I and II (p<0.01). After chemotherapy MRP1, MDR3 and, to a lesser extent, P-gp expression was found to be increased in most of the samples. The frequent expression of these MDR-associated proteins in primary tumour cells before chemotherapy and the increase of their levels after chemotherapy, suggest that these proteins play a pivotal role in conferring drug resistance and in producing therapy-induced differentiation on STS.

Missiaglia E, Williamson D, Chisholm J, et al.
PAX3/FOXO1 fusion gene status is the key prognostic molecular marker in rhabdomyosarcoma and significantly improves current risk stratification.
J Clin Oncol. 2012; 30(14):1670-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To improve the risk stratification of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) through the use of clinical and molecular biologic data.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two independent data sets of gene-expression profiling for 124 and 101 patients with RMS were used to derive prognostic gene signatures by using a meta-analysis. These and a previously published metagene signature were evaluated by using cross validation analyses. A combined clinical and molecular risk-stratification scheme that incorporated the PAX3/FOXO1 fusion gene status was derived from 287 patients with RMS and evaluated.
RESULTS: We showed that our prognostic gene-expression signature and the one previously published performed well with reproducible and significant effects. However, their effect was reduced when cross validated or tested in independent data and did not add new prognostic information over the fusion gene status, which is simpler to assay. Among nonmetastatic patients, patients who were PAX3/FOXO1 positive had a significantly poorer outcome compared with both alveolar-negative and PAX7/FOXO1-positive patients. Furthermore, a new clinicomolecular risk score that incorporated fusion gene status (negative and PAX3/FOXO1 and PAX7/FOXO1 positive), Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study TNM stage, and age showed a significant increase in performance over the current risk-stratification scheme.
CONCLUSION: Gene signatures can improve current stratification of patients with RMS but will require complex assays to be developed and extensive validation before clinical application. A significant majority of their prognostic value was encapsulated by the fusion gene status. A continuous risk score derived from the combination of clinical parameters with the presence or absence of PAX3/FOXO1 represents a robust approach to improving current risk-adapted therapy for RMS.

Duan F, Smith LM, Gustafson DM, et al.
Genomic and clinical analysis of fusion gene amplification in rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2012; 51(7):662-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is an aggressive pediatric cancer of the myogenic lineage with frequent chromosomal translocations involving the PAX3 or PAX7 and FOXO1 genes. Based on previous studies indicating that the fusion genes are amplified in a subset of these cancers, we conducted a comprehensive molecular and clinical investigation of these amplification events. Using oligonucleotide arrays to localize amplicons, we found that the minimal 1p36 amplicon measured 0.13 Mb and only contained PAX7 whereas the minimal 13q14 amplicon measured 0.53 Mb and contained FOXO1 and the poorly characterized LOC646982 gene. Application of a fluorescence in situ hybridization assay to over 100 fusion-positive cases revealed that the fusion gene is amplified in 93% of PAX7-FOXO1-positive and 9% of PAX3-FOXO1-positive cases. While most cells in amplified PAX7-FOXO1-positive cases contained the amplicon, only a fraction of cells in the amplified PAX3-FOXO1-positive cases contained the amplicon. Expression studies demonstrated that the fusion transcripts were generally expressed at higher levels in amplified cases, and that the PAX7-FOXO1 fusion transcript was expressed at higher levels than the PAX3-FOXO1 fusion transcript. Finally, fusion gene amplification and PAX7-FOXO1 fusion status were each associated with significantly improved outcome; a multivariate analysis demonstrated that this predictive value was independent of other standard prognostic parameters. These findings therefore provide further evidence for a novel good prognosis subset of fusion-positive RMS.

Pressey JG, Haas MC, Pressey CS, et al.
CD133 marks a myogenically primitive subpopulation in rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines that are relatively chemoresistant but sensitive to mutant HSV.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013; 60(1):45-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is characterized by features of skeletal muscle and is comprised of two major histological subtypes, embryonal (E-RMS), and alveolar (A-RMS). Subsets of each RMS subtype demonstrate resistance to multimodal therapy leading to treatment failure. Cancer stem cells or cancer-initiating cells (CIC) represent a theorized population of cells that give rise to tumors and are responsible for treatment resistance.
PROCEDURE: We investigated the ability of CD133, a putative CIC marker, to distinguish a chemoresistant, myogenically primitive population in alveolar (RH30), and embryonal (RD) RMS cell lines. We tested CD133+/- cells for sensitivity to engineered herpes simplex virus (oHSV).
RESULTS: Relative to CD133- cells, CD133+ A-RMS, and E-RMS cells demonstrate an enhanced colony-forming ability, are less differentiated myogenically, and are more resistant to cytotoxic chemotherapy but equally sensitive to oHSV oncolysis. Compared to CD133- RD cells, CD133+ cells express relatively high levels of genes typically expressed in skeletal muscle progenitor satellite cells including PAX7, c-MET, and the GLI effectors of the hedgehog signaling pathway. In contrast, CD133+ RH30 cells were not associated with enhanced expression of satellite cell markers or Hh targets.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that CD133+ cells from A-RMS and E-RMS cell lines are characterized by a myogenically primitive phenotype. These cells have the capacity to form colonies in vitro and are more resistant to chemotherapy than CD133- cells. CD133 expression may denote a subset of RMS cells with an important role in tumorigenesis and treatment failure. These resistant cells may be effectively targeted by oHSV therapy.

Charytonowicz E, Matushansky I, Doménech JD, et al.
PAX7-FKHR fusion gene inhibits myogenic differentiation via NF-kappaB upregulation.
Clin Transl Oncol. 2012; 14(3):197-206 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (ARMS) are characterised by a PAX3/7-FKHR translocation, which is presumed to promote a differentiation arrest in the myogenic lineage, in which setting secondary genetic events occur, resulting in sarcomagenesis. The aim of this study was to identify the mechanism by which PAX3/7-FKHR expression results in a myogenic differentiation block, as discrete from the secondary genetic events that complete the sarcomagenic process.
METHODS: We performed a novel differential gene expression analysis comparing normal mesenchymal stem cells with previously generated non-tumorigenic mesenchymal stem cells expressing the PAX7-FKHR fusion gene, as well as with a known tumorigenic, PAX7-FKHR-expressing ARMS cell line, CW9019.
RESULTS: This novel analysis uncovered the upregulation of the NF-kappaB pathway as a function of PAX3/7-FKHR expression, but distinct from the secondary sarcomagenic process; thus implicating NF-kappaB as a mediator of the PAX3/7-FKHR differentiation block. We further show that NF-kappaB activity is upregulated in PAX7-FKHR cells when compared to parental MSCs due to upregulation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. In addition we show that NF-kappaB inhibits myogenesis via activation of cyclinD1/ cdk4 complexes, which sequester MyoD1, a key myogenic transcription factor.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the importance of the NF-kappaB pathway in myogenesis and sarcomagenesis and suggest that this pathway may be one of the potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of ARMS.

Yang XL, Zhang SC, Zhang SW, Wang H
Detection of PAX3/PAX7-FKHR fusion transcripts in rhabdomyosarcoma and other small round cell tumors by 1-step reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction: a novel tool for diagnosis and differentiation.
Ann Diagn Pathol. 2012; 16(2):107-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is one of the most frequent soft tissue sarcomas in children. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish it from other small round cell tumors (SRCTs) depending on microscopic observations; although their treatment and prognosis varied widely, the same happens between alveolar RMS (ARMS) and embryonal RMS (ERMS). The role of PAX3/PAX7-FKHR fusion gene has been reported in ARMS but not in ERMS and SRCT. The aim of this study was to explore its value in RMS diagnosis and differentiation. Ninety-eight patients with ARMS (n = 13), ERMS (n = 25), pleomorphic RMS (n = 5), Ewing sarcoma (n = 11), neuroblastoma (n = 18), lymphoma (n = 24), and uncertain SRCT (n = 2) were analyzed. One hundred fifteen RNA samples were extracted from the primary tumor tissue at initial presentation and relapse. One-step reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays for the PAX3/PAX7-FKHR fusion transcripts were performed. Molecular findings were compared with original histologic diagnoses. PAX3-FKHR fusion transcript was detected in 9 ARMS samples, PAX7-FKHR fusion transcript was detected in 7 ARMS samples, and 2 uncertain SRCTs were detected; none of them were detected in ERMS, Ewing sarcoma, neuroblastoma, and lymphoma. Direct sequencing of PAX3 coding regions revealed a heterozygous mutation A→G (nt1380) at codon 448 (AAT→GAT), resulting in substitution of Asn-448 for Asp. Detection of PAX3/PAX7-FKHR fusion transcripts by 1-step reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction is a novel tool for RMS diagnosis and differentiation.

Dumont SN, Lazar AJ, Bridge JA, et al.
PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion status in older rhabdomyosarcoma patient population by fluorescent in situ hybridization.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2012; 138(2):213-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: In pediatric alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, the PAX3-FOXO1 and PAX7-FOXO1 gene fusions are prognostic indicators, while little is known concerning this disease in older patients. To determine whether PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion gene status correlates with outcome in adolescent, young adult, and adult rhabdomyosarcoma patients, the histological, immunohistochemical, and clinical characteristics of 105 patients followed at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1957 to 2001 were evaluated.
METHODS: The samples were assembled into a tissue microarray, and fusion gene status was determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization using PAX3, PAX7, and FOXO1 loci-specific probes. The disease characteristics and specific gene fusion were correlated with patient outcomes using the log-rank test.
RESULTS: Fifty-two percent of the samples exhibited a PAX3-FOXO1 fusion, 15% the PAX7-FOXO1 fusion, and 33% were negative for a rearrangement of these loci. The presence of PAX3/7-FOXO1 translocation was significantly associated with a higher frequency of metastatic disease. Although a statistically significant correlation between the PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion gene status and overall survival was not identified, there was a trend toward better outcomes for patients with fusion-negative RMS.
CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, identification of a FOXO1 fusion appears to be an interesting tool for predicting outcomes in older rhabdomyosarcoma patients and is worth further investigations in this rare subgroup of RMS population.

Krskova L, Augustinakova A, Drahokoupilova E, et al.
Rhabdomyosarcoma: molecular analysis of Igf2, MyoD1 and Myogenin expression.
Neoplasma. 2011; 58(5):415-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood. There are two major histopathological types of RMS – embryonal (eRMS) and alveolar (aRMS). A molecular study of Igf2, MyoD1 and Myogenin was performed to determine the expression profiles and to assess the possible utility of these genes as potential treatment targets. Patients with RMS showed up to 100-fold increase of Igf2 transcription in comparison with normal skeletal muscle. Our data suggest that overexpression of Igf2 occurs in RMS of both histological subtypes. No correlation between the results of Igf2 mRNA expression and LOH at the 11p15 region (p= 0.12) was observed, but there was a trend of a higher expression of Igf2 mRNA in RMS samples with LOH. We observed a high level of MyoD1 mRNA in both aRMS and eRMS, and we detected a similar level of MyoD1 mRNA in RMS and normal skeletal muscles. There was a correlation between the results of MyoD1 mRNA expression and LOH at the 11p15 region.We did not observe any statistical difference in the level of Myogenin mRNA in the subgroups of RMS. Analogous to MyoD1, we observed a similar level of Myogenin mRNA in RMS and normal skeletal muscles.

Liu J, Guzman MA, Pezanowski D, et al.
FOXO1-FGFR1 fusion and amplification in a solid variant of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2011; 24(10):1327-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common pediatric soft tissue malignancy. Two major subtypes, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma and embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, constitute 20 and 60% of all cases, respectively. Approximately 80% of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma carry two signature chromosomal translocations, t(2;13)(q35;q14) resulting in PAX3-FOXO1 fusion, and t(1;13)(p36;q14) resulting in PAX7-FOXO1 fusion. Whether the remaining cases are truly negative for gene fusion has been questioned. We are reporting the case of a 9-month-old girl with a metastatic neck mass diagnosed histologically as solid variant alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Chromosome analysis showed a t(8;13;9)(p11.2;q14;9q32) three-way translocation as the sole clonal aberration. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) demonstrated a rearrangement at the FOXO1 locus and an amplification of its centromeric region. Single-nucleotide polymorphism-based microarray analysis illustrated a co-amplification of the FOXO1 gene at 13q14 and the FGFR1 gene at 8p12p11.2, suggesting formation and amplification of a chimerical FOXO1-FGFR1 gene. This is the first report to identify a novel fusion partner FGFR1 for the known anchor gene FOXO1 in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.

Charytonowicz E, Matushansky I, Castillo-Martin M, et al.
Alternate PAX3 and PAX7 C-terminal isoforms in myogenic differentiation and sarcomagenesis.
Clin Transl Oncol. 2011; 13(3):194-203 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Pax3 and Pax7 are closely related genes that are involved in commitment of cells to a myogenic lineage during skeletal muscle development and regeneration. Several Pax3 and Pax7 transcripts are expressed from the genes, generating different isoforms with potentially distinct DNA binding and transactivation properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the implication of Pax3 and Pax7 C-terminal isoforms during myogenic differentiation and tumorigenesis, since fusions involving these genes are commonly associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS).
METHODS: Uncommitted (mouse mesenchymal stem cells, MSCs) and committed (C2C12) myogenic precursor cells were stably transfected with PAX3/FKHR and PAXC7/ FKHR fusion genes. We analysed gene and protein expression comparing the newly generated cells with the parental cells, to determine the functional importance of Pax3 and Pax7 C-terminal isoforms.
RESULTS: We found that the transcript Pax3c was expressed at low levels in undifferentiated C2C12 and MSCs cells, but its expression levels increased considerably at later stages of differentiation. However, expression levels of Pax3d transcript increased only slightly after differentiation. Pax7 transcripts, present before differentiation in committed C2C12 cells, but absent in uncommitted MSCs, increased noticeably in MSCs after differentiation. We also found that the presence of PAX/FKHR fusions prevented both C2C12 and MSC cells from terminal myogenic differentiation and increased the expression of discrete endogenous Pax3/7 transcripts, in particular Pax3d and Pax7B.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that both Pax3 and Pax7 transcripts are required for commitment of cells to the myogenic lineage, with each transcript having a distinct role. More specifically, the Pax3c isoform may be required for terminal myogenic differentiation whereas the Pax3d isoform may be involved in undifferentiated cell maintenance and/or proliferation.

Olguín HC, Patzlaff NE, Olwin BB
Pax7-FKHR transcriptional activity is enhanced by transcriptionally repressed MyoD.
J Cell Biochem. 2011; 112(5):1410-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) are characterized by the expression of chimeric transcription factors Pax3-FKHR and Pax7-FKHR, due to chromosomal translocations fusing PAX3 or PAX7 with the FKHR gene. Although ARMS exhibits a muscle lineage phenotype, the cells evade terminal differentiation despite expressing the potent myogenic transcriptional regulator MyoD. Here we show that while Pax7-FKHR inhibits MyoD-dependent transcription, MyoD enhances Pax7-FKHR activity in myogenic cell cultures. Importantly, this effect is not recapitulated by close related transcription factor myogenin and involves specific MyoD functional domains, distinct from those required for Pax7 to regulate MyoD during muscle formation. Together, these results suggest that although repressed as a myogenic regulatory factor, MyoD can play an active role in ARMS by augmenting Pax7-FKHR function.

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