Gene Summary

Gene:POMC; proopiomelanocortin
Summary:This gene encodes a preproprotein that undergoes extensive, tissue-specific, post-translational processing via cleavage by subtilisin-like enzymes known as prohormone convertases. There are eight potential cleavage sites within the preproprotein and, depending on tissue type and the available convertases, processing may yield as many as ten biologically active peptides involved in diverse cellular functions. The encoded protein is synthesized mainly in corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary where four cleavage sites are used; adrenocorticotrophin, essential for normal steroidogenesis and the maintenance of normal adrenal weight, and lipotropin beta are the major end products. In other tissues, including the hypothalamus, placenta, and epithelium, all cleavage sites may be used, giving rise to peptides with roles in pain and energy homeostasis, melanocyte stimulation, and immune modulation. These include several distinct melanotropins, lipotropins, and endorphins that are contained within the adrenocorticotrophin and beta-lipotropin peptides. The antimicrobial melanotropin alpha peptide exhibits antibacterial and antifungal activity. Mutations in this gene have been associated with early onset obesity, adrenal insufficiency, and red hair pigmentation. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding the same protein have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2016]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


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 (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Receptors, Corticotropin
  • Messenger RNA
  • Pituitary Gland
  • Tyrosine Transaminase
  • Stem Cells
  • Radiography
  • Steroids
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Receptors, Vasopressin
  • beta-Endorphin
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone-Regulating Hormone
  • Cancer RNA
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hyperplasia
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Ribonucleases
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome
  • Translocation
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Promoter Regions
  • Postoperative Care
  • Securin
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Lung Cancer
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • X Chromosome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Peptides
  • Hereditary Neoplastic Syndromes
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • Adenoma
  • Thymus Neoplasms
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Chromosome 2
  • Adolescents
Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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

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

Latest Publications: POMC (cancer-related)

Duarte-Medrano G, Lopez-Méndez I, Ramírez-Luna MÁ, et al.
Analysis of circulating blood and tissue biopsy PDX1 and MSX2 gene expression in patients with pancreatic cancer: A case-control experimental study.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(26):e15954 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (PC) is based on endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). However, EUS is invasive and requires a high level of technical skill. Recently, liquid biopsies have achieved the same sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of numerous pathologies, including cancer. Insulin-promoting factor 1 (PDX1) and Msh-homeobox 2 (MSX2), 2 homeotic genes, have been confirmed to be related to pancreatic oncogenesis.The aim of this study is to establish the diagnostic utility of circulating serum levels of MSX2 and PDX1 expression in patients with PC.A prospective study was conducted from January 2014 to February 2017. Patients with a suspected diagnosis of PC who underwent fine needle aspiration biopsy guided by EUS (EUS-FNA) were included in the study, in addition to non-PC control subjects. Both tissue and blood serum samples were submitted to histopathological analysis and measurement of PDX1 and MSX2 gene expression by means of qRT-PCR.Patients were divided into non-PC, malignant pathology (MP), or benign pathology (BP) groups. Significant differences in both MSX2 [2.05 (1.66-4.60) vs 0.83 (0.49-1.60), P = .006] and PDX1 [2.59 (1.28-10.12) vs 1.02 (0.81-1.17), P = .036] gene expression were found in blood samples of PC compared with non-PC subjects. We also observed a significant increase in MSX2 transcripts in tissue biopsy samples of patients diagnosed with MP compared with those with BP [1.98 (1.44-4.61) and 0.66 (0.45-1.54), respectively, P = .012]. The ROC curves indicate a sensitivity and specificity of 80% for PDX1 and 86% for MSX2.Gene expression of MSX2 in tissue samples obtained by EUS-FNA and serum expression of MSX2 and PDX1 were higher in patients with PC.

Ito T, Yamaguchi T, Wakatsuki T, et al.
The single-base-pair deletion, MSH2 c.2635-3delC affecting intron 15 splicing can be a cause of Lynch syndrome.
Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2019; 49(5):477-480 [PubMed] Related Publications
The proband was a 62-year-old man with ureter cancer. He had a history of metachronous colorectal and gastric cancer. Immunohistochemical staining showed the absence of both MSH2 and MSH6 proteins in the ureter cancer and other available cancer tissue specimens. Genetic testing was conducted to identify the causative genes of hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes including mismatch repair genes. We detected a germline variant, c.2635-3delC, within the splice acceptor site of exon 16, in the MSH2 gene. To investigate whether this variant affected splicing of the gene, RNA sequencing was performed using blood samples. We observed a substantial amount of the transcripts that lacked proper splicing of intron 15 in the indexed case, whereas, a very low amount of such aberrant transcripts was detected in the controls, strongly indicating an association between the variant and splicing defect. These results indicate that MSH2 c.2635-3delC affects normal splicing and might be a cause of Lynch syndrome.

Lim HN, Baek SB, Jung HJ
Bee Venom and Its Peptide Component Melittin Suppress Growth and Migration of Melanoma Cells via Inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK Pathways.
Molecules. 2019; 24(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and highly chemoresistant. Melittin, an amphiphilic peptide containing 26 amino acid residues, is the major active ingredient from bee venom (BV). Although melittin is known to have several biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer effects, its antimelanoma effect and underlying molecular mechanism have not been fully elucidated. In the current study, we investigated the inhibitory effect and action mechanism of BV and melittin against various melanoma cells including B16F10, A375SM and SK-MEL-28. BV and melittin potently suppressed the growth, clonogenic survival, migration and invasion of melanoma cells. They also reduced the melanin formation in α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)-stimulated melanoma cells. Furthermore, BV and melittin induced the apoptosis of melanoma cells by enhancing the activities of caspase-3 and -9. In addition, we demonstrated that the antimelanoma effect of BV and melittin is associated with the downregulation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways. We also found that the combination of melittin with the chemotherapeutic agent temozolomide (TMZ) significantly increases the inhibition of growth as well as invasion in melanoma cells compared to melittin or TMZ alone. Taken together, these results suggest that melittin could be potentially applied for the prevention and treatment of malignant melanoma.

Ku KE, Choi N, Oh SH, et al.
Src inhibition induces melanogenesis in human G361 cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(4):3061-3070 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Src kinase family (SKF) includes non‑receptor tyrosine kinases that interact with many cellular cytosolic, nuclear and membrane proteins, and is involved in the progression of cellular transformation and oncogenic activity. However, there is little to no evidence on the effect of SKF or its inhibitors on melanogenesis. Therefore, the present study investigated whether C‑terminal Src kinase inhibition can induce melanogenesis and examined the associated signaling pathways and mRNA expression of melanogenic proteins. First, whether stimulators of melanogenesis, such as ultraviolet B and α‑melanocyte‑stimulating hormone, can dephosphorylate Src protein was evaluated, and the results revealed that SU6656 and PP2 inhibited the phosphorylation of Src in G361 cells. Src inhibition by these chemical inhibitors induced melanogenesis in G361 cells and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes encoding microphthalmia‑associated transcription factor, tyrosinase‑related protein 1 (TRP1), TRP2, and tyrosinase. In addition, Src inhibition by small interfering RNA induced melanogenesis and upregulated the mRNA expression levels of melanogenesis‑associated genes. As the p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding (CREB) pathways serve key roles in melanogenesis, the present study further examined whether Src mediates melanogenesis via these pathways. As expected, Src inhibition via SU6656 or PP2 administration induced the phosphorylation of p38 or CREB, as determined by western blotting analysis, and increased the levels of phosphorylated p38 or CREB, as determined by immunofluorescence staining. In addition, the induced pigmentation and melanin content of G361 cells by Src inhibitors was significantly inhibited by p38 or CREB inhibitors. Taken together, these data indicate that Src is associated with melanogenesis, and Src inhibition induces melanogenesis via the MAPK and CREB pathways in G361 cells.

Braicu C, Zimta AA, Gulei D, et al.
Comprehensive analysis of circular RNAs in pathological states: biogenesis, cellular regulation, and therapeutic relevance.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2019; 76(8):1559-1577 [PubMed] Related Publications
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are members of the non-coding transcriptome; however, some of them are translated into proteins. These transcripts have important roles in both physiological and pathological mechanisms due to their ability to directly influence cellular signaling pathways. Specifically, circRNAs are regulators of transcription, translation, protein interaction, and signal transduction. An increased knowledge within their area is observed over the last few years, concomitant with the development of next-generation sequencing techniques. circRNAs are mostly tissue and disease specific with the ability of specifically changing the biological behavior of cells. The altered expression profile is currently investigated as novel minimally invasive diagnosis/prognosis tool and also therapeutic target in human disease. The diagnosis approach is based on their level modification within pathological states, especially cancer, where circRNAs' therapies are intensively explored in anti-aging strategies, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and malignant pathologies, and are relying on the restoration of homeostatic profiles.

Suchartlikitwong S, Jasti R, Lado-Abeal J, Rivas Mejia AM
Bilateral adrenal myelolipomas presenting as acute adrenal insufficiency in an adult with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
BMJ Case Rep. 2019; 12(2) [PubMed] Related Publications
Adrenal myelolipomas are relatively rare tumours composed of adipocytes and myeloid cells that arise in response to chronic adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation. We present the case of bilateral adrenal myelolipomas in a 39-year-old man with untreated congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) presenting with acute adrenal insufficiency and severe virilisation. Phenotypically, he is a man of short stature and has hyperpigmentation of the skin, gingiva and nail beds. Genital examination revealed micropenis and no palpable testes. Laboratory testing was consistent with primary adrenal insufficiency. An abdominal CT showed bilateral adrenal myelolipomas. An MRI of the pelvis revealed female reproductive organs. Chromosome study showed a karyotype of 46,XX. A

Ferreira SH, Costa MM, Rios E, et al.
Carney complex due to a novel pathogenic variant in the PRKAR1A gene - a case report.
J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2019; 32(2):197-202 [PubMed] Related Publications
Background Primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD) is a rare cause of Cushing's syndrome (CS). It may occur sporadically or as part of a familial syndrome called Carney complex (CC). It is a rare entity, with fewer than 750 cases reported. Case presentation We describe the case of a 16-year-old otherwise healthy female referred to our endocrinology department for progressive weight gain. During investigation, an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) independent CS was identified and the possibility of an adrenocortical tumor was suggested. The histological exam of the left adrenal gland was compatible with PPNAD. Genetic study identified a novel pathogenic variant in the PRKAR1A gene. Her family history was then reviewed and her father had died prematurely due to a cardiac myxoma. Besides abnormal skin pigmentation, the girl presented no other features of CC. Conclusions Careful follow-up of these patients is important to detect other manifestations of CC and to prevent life-threatening comorbidities, like cardiac myxomas or malignant diseases. Genetic counseling of the patients and their siblings is also very important.

Zhang X, Shen B, Cui Y
Ago HITS-CLIP expands microRNA-mRNA interactions in nucleus and cytoplasm of gastric cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):29 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Intensive investigations have identified a collection of microRNAs (miRNAs) and their functional machineries in cytoplasm. However, a comprehensive view of miRNAs and mRNAs in cytoplasm and nucleus has not been explored. This study aims to reveal the mechanisms of miRNA-RNA interactions in nucleus and cytoplasm.
METHODS: In this study, the miRNAs and their target mRNAs in the Argonaute2 (Ago2) complex of nucleus and cytoplasm of gastric cancer cells were characterized using high-throughput sequencing of RNAs isolated by crosslinking immunoprecipitation (HITS-CLIP). Then, the selected miRNAs were verified by Northern blot. The target mRNAs in the Argonaute2 (Ago2) complex of nucleus and cytoplasm of gastric cancer cells were analyzed through Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) analysis.
RESULTS: The results revealed that there were 243 miRNAs and 265 miRNAs in the Ago2 complexes of nucleus and cytoplasm, respectively. The majority of mature miRNAs existed in cytoplasm. The analysis of miRNA targetome from the Ago2 complexes indicated that a lot of mRNAs with high expression level existed in nucleus. The target genes of miRNAs in the Ago2 complexes of nucleus and cytoplasm played important roles in cell proliferation, cell differentiation, innate immune response and tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: microRNA-mRNA interactions occur in nucleus and cytoplasm of gastric cancer cells. Therefore, our study demonstrated that miRNA-mRNA interactions not only took place in cytoplasm but also in nucleus.

Kiriakopoulos A, Linos D
Carney Syndrome Presented as a Pathological Spine Fracture in a 35-Year-Old Male.
Am J Case Rep. 2018; 19:1366-1369 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND Carney complex (CNC) is a genetic disorder that presents as an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-independent variant of endogenous Cushing syndrome. It was first reported in 1985 and was described as a form of multiple endocrine hyperplasia associated with mutations of the c-AMP-dependent protein kinase (PRKAR1A) gene that causes bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. We report a case of an incidentally found CNC in a 35-year-old male, and this case report focuses on the diagnostic scheme as well as the surgical treatment of this rare challenging condition. CASE REPORT A-35-year-old male presented with pathological thoracic spine fracture. The patient exhibited obesity, facial flushing, red-purplish streaks on the abdominal wall, multiple pigmented nevi of the trunk, and hypertension. Family history was positive for cardiac myxoma. Laboratory investigation showed ACTH-independent Cushing syndrome. Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scan showed bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. The ensuing Liddle test revealed the characteristic paradox increase of 24-hours urine cortisol for CNC. After a bilateral retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy, histologic examination confirmed the presence of bilateral primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD). Genetic testing revealed a unique mutation of the responsible PRKAR1A gene. CONCLUSIONS CNC presence was suspected due to the family history. Its characteristic pathologic manifestation called PPNAD, clinically presents as an ACTH-independent Cushing syndrome with paradoxical positive response of urinary glucocorticosteroid excretion after dexamethasone administration (Liddle's test). Bilateral retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy constitutes an acceptable surgical option for PPNAD.

Lee A, Kim JY, Heo J, et al.
The Inhibition of Melanogenesis Via the PKA and ERK Signaling Pathways by
J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018; 28(12):2121-2132 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal melanin synthesis results in several hyperpigmentary disorders such as freckles, melanoderma, age spots, and other related conditions. In this study, we investigated the antimelanogenic effects of an extract from the microalgae

Jain A, Brown SZ, Thomsett HL, et al.
Evaluation of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation in Pancreatic Cancer Cells: Studying RNA Binding Proteins and Their mRNA Targets.
Methods Mol Biol. 2019; 1882:239-252 [PubMed] Related Publications
Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression through interaction between RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and target mRNAs have gained considerable interest over the last decade. Altered expression of RBPs as detected in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells alters mRNA processing, and in turn, the entire transcriptome and proteome. Thus, this gene regulatory mechanism can regulate important pro-oncogenic signaling pathways (e.g., TP53, WEE1, and c-MYC) in PDAC cells. Ribonucleoprotein immunoprecipitation assays (RNP-IP or RIP) are a modified immunoprecipitation method to study physical interactions between RBPs and their mRNA targets. As a first step to explore RBP interactomes and define novel therapeutic targets and dysregulated pathways in disease, RIPs are a sensitive and established molecular biology technique used to isolate and differentiate bound transcripts to RBPs in a variety of experimental conditions. This chapter describes an up-to-date, detailed protocol for performing this assay in mammalian cytoplasmic extracts (i.e., PDAC cells), and reviews current methods to validate target binding sites such as electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and cross-linking immunoprecipitation polymerase chain reaction (CLIP-PCR).

Starý J, Zuna J, Zaliova M
New biological and genetic classification and therapeutically relevant categories in childhood B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
F1000Res. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Traditionally, genetic abnormalities detected by conventional karyotyping, fluorescence

Oh TI, Jung HJ, Lee YM, et al.
Zerumbone, a Tropical Ginger Sesquiterpene of
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(10) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Zerumbone (ZER), an active constituent of the Zingiberaceae family, has been shown to exhibit several biological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer; however, it has not been studied for anti-melanogenic properties. In the present study, we demonstrate that ZER and

Park SH, Choi E, Kim S, et al.
Oxidative Stress-Protective and Anti-Melanogenic Effects of Loliolide and Ethanol Extract from Fresh Water Green Algae,
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Loliolide is a monoterpenoid hydroxylactone found in many algae, including fresh water green algae,

Paraskevopoulou MD, Karagkouni D, Vlachos IS, et al.
microCLIP super learning framework uncovers functional transcriptome-wide miRNA interactions.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):3601 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Argonaute crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) experiments are the most widely used high-throughput methodologies for miRNA targetome characterization. The analysis of Photoactivatable Ribonucleoside-Enhanced (PAR) CLIP methodology focuses on sequence clusters containing T-to-C conversions. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the non-T-to-C clusters, frequently observed in PAR-CLIP experiments, exhibit functional miRNA-binding events and strong RNA accessibility. This discovery is based on the analysis of an extensive compendium of bona fide miRNA-binding events, and is further supported by numerous miRNA perturbation experiments and structural sequencing data. The incorporation of these previously neglected clusters yields an average of 14% increase in miRNA-target interactions per PAR-CLIP library. Our findings are integrated in microCLIP ( www.microrna.gr/microCLIP ), a cutting-edge framework that combines deep learning classifiers under a super learning scheme. The increased performance of microCLIP in CLIP-Seq-guided detection of miRNA interactions, uncovers previously elusive regulatory events and miRNA-controlled pathways.

Al Argan R, Saskin A, Yang JW, et al.
Glucocorticoid resistance syndrome caused by a novel NR3C1 point mutation.
Endocr J. 2018; 65(11):1139-1146 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glucocorticoid resistance syndrome (GRS) is a rare genetic disorder caused by inactivating mutations of the NR3C1 gene which encodes the glucocorticoid receptor. The phenotypic spectrum is broad but typically include symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, mineralocorticoid excess and hyperandrogenism. We report a new case associated with a novel NR3C1 mutation. A 55-year-old woman with lifelong history of low body weight, hyperandrogenism and anxiety was seen at the endocrine clinic after left adrenalectomy and salpingoophorectomy for lesions suspicious of ovarian cancer and adrenal metastasis. The tumors turned out to be a 3.5 cm benign ovarian serous adenofibroma and a 3.5 cm multinodular adrenal mass. She complained of worsened fatigue and inability to recover weight lost with surgery. Pre-operative serum and urinary cortisol were elevated, but she had no stigma of Cushing's syndrome. Plasma ACTH was elevated and a 1-mcg cosyntropin stimulation test was normal. Her fatigue persisted over ensuing years and ACTH-dependent hypercortisolemia remained stable. Low dose oral dexamethasone failed to suppress endogenous cortisol. A pituitary MRI was normal but revealed incidental brain aneurysms. Bone densitometry showed profound osteoporosis. On the bases of this contradictory clinical picture, glucocorticoid resistance syndrome (GRS) was suspected. Using next generation sequencing technology, a novel heterozygous pathogenic variant in the NR3C1 gene was detected. We speculate that vascular malformations and profound osteoporosis, findings associated to cortisol excess, reflect in our patient a variable tissue sensitivity to glucocorticoids. In conclusion, in patients with clinically unexpected ACTH-dependent hypercortisolemia, primary glucocorticoid resistance (GRS) should be considered.

Duggimpudi S, Kloetgen A, Maney SK, et al.
Transcriptome-wide analysis uncovers the targets of the RNA-binding protein MSI2 and effects of MSI2's RNA-binding activity on IL-6 signaling.
J Biol Chem. 2018; 293(40):15359-15369 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
The RNA-binding protein Musashi 2 (MSI2) has emerged as an important regulator in cancer initiation, progression, and drug resistance. Translocations and deregulation of the

Jonchere V, Marisa L, Greene M, et al.
Identification of Positively and Negatively Selected Driver Gene Mutations Associated With Colorectal Cancer With Microsatellite Instability.
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018; 6(3):277-300 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
Background & Aims: Recent studies have shown that cancers arise as a result of the positive selection of driver somatic events in tumor DNA, with negative selection playing only a minor role, if any. However, these investigations were concerned with alterations at nonrepetitive sequences and did not take into account mutations in repetitive sequences that have very high pathophysiological relevance in the tumors showing microsatellite instability (MSI) resulting from mismatch repair deficiency investigated in the present study.
Methods: We performed whole-exome sequencing of 47 MSI colorectal cancers (CRCs) and confirmed results in an independent cohort of 53 MSI CRCs. We used a probabilistic model of mutational events within microsatellites, while adapting pre-existing models to analyze nonrepetitive DNA sequences. Negatively selected coding alterations in MSI CRCs were investigated for their functional and clinical impact in CRC cell lines and in a third cohort of 164 MSI CRC patients.
Results: Both positive and negative selection of somatic mutations in DNA repeats was observed, leading us to identify the expected true driver genes associated with the MSI-driven tumorigenic process. Several coding negatively selected MSI-related mutational events (n = 5) were shown to have deleterious effects on tumor cells. In the tumors in which deleterious MSI mutations were observed despite the negative selection, they were associated with worse survival in MSI CRC patients (hazard ratio, 3; 95% CI, 1.1-7.9;
Conclusions: The present results identify the positive and negative driver somatic mutations acting in MSI-driven tumorigenesis, suggesting that genomic instability in MSI CRC plays a dual role in achieving tumor cell transformation. Exome sequencing data have been deposited in the European genome-phenome archive (accession: EGAS00001002477).

Chen J, Jian X, Deng S, et al.
Identification of recurrent USP48 and BRAF mutations in Cushing's disease.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):3171 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
Cushing's disease results from corticotroph adenomas of the pituitary that hypersecrete adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), leading to excess glucocorticoid and hypercortisolism. Mutations of the deubiquitinase gene USP8 occur in 35-62% of corticotroph adenomas. However, the major driver mutations in USP8 wild-type tumors remain elusive. Here, we report recurrent mutations in the deubiquitinase gene USP48 (predominantly encoding p.M415I or p.M415V; 21/91 subjects) and BRAF (encoding p.V600E; 15/91 subjects) in corticotroph adenomas with wild-type USP8. Similar to USP8 mutants, both USP48 and BRAF mutants enhance the promoter activity and transcription of the gene encoding proopiomelanocortin (POMC), which is the precursor of ACTH, providing a potential mechanism for ACTH overproduction in corticotroph adenomas. Moreover, primary corticotroph tumor cells harboring BRAF V600E are sensitive to the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib. Our study thus contributes to the understanding of the molecular mechanism of the pathogenesis of corticotroph adenoma and informs therapeutic targets for this disease.

Albani A, Perez-Rivas LG, Reincke M, Theodoropoulou M
Endocr Pract. 2018; 24(10):907-914 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Cushing disease is a rare severe condition caused by pituitary tumors that secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), leading to excessive endogenous glucocorticoid production. Tumors causing Cushing disease, also called corticotropinomas, are typically monoclonal neoplasms that mainly occur sporadically.
METHODS: Literature review.
RESULTS: Cushing disease is very rarely encountered in genetic familial syndromes. Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes commonly associated with other tumor types are only rarely mutated in this tumor type. The advent of next-generation sequencing led to the identification of a single mutational hotspot in the ubiquitin-specific protease 8 ( USP8) gene in almost half of Cushing disease tumors.
CONCLUSION: The new discoveries showcase a novel mechanism responsible for corticotroph tumorigenesis and ACTH hypersecretion and highlight USP8 and its downstream signaling pathways as potential promising pharmacologic targets for the management of Cushing disease.
ABBREVIATIONS: ACTH = adrenocorticotropic hormone; BRG1 = Brahma-related gene 1; CABLES1 = CDK5 and ABL1 enzyme substrate 1; CD = Cushing disease; CNC = Carney complex; DICER1 = cytoplasmic endoribonuclease III; EGFR = epidermal growth factor receptor; GR = glucocorticoid receptor; IL = interleukin; MEN = multiple endocrine neoplasia; miRNA = microRNA; POMC = proopiomelanocortin; SSTR = somatostatin receptor; USP8 = ubiquitin-specific protease 8.

Candida Barisson Villares Fragoso M, Pontes Cavalcante I, Meneses Ferreira A, et al.
Genetics of primary macronodular adrenal hyperplasia.
Presse Med. 2018 Jul - Aug; 47(7-8 Pt 2):e139-e149 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent advances in molecular genetics investigations of primary macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (PMAH) have been providing new insights for the research on this issue. The cAMP-dependent pathway is physiologically triggered by ACTH and its receptor, MC2-R, in adrenocortical cells. Different mechanisms of this cascade may be altered in some functioning adrenal cortical disorders. Activating somatic mutations of the GNAS gene (known as gsp oncogene) which encodes the stimulatory G protein alpha-subunit (Gsα) have been found in a small number of adrenocortical secreting adenomas and rarely in PMAH. Lately, ARMC5 was linked to the cyclic AMP signaling pathway, which could be implicated in all of mechanisms of cortisol-secreting by macronodules adrenal hyperplasia and the molecular defects in: G protein aberrant receptors; MC2R; GNAS; PRKAR1A; PDE11A; PDE8B. Around 50 % of patient's relatives with PMAH and 30 % of apparently sporadic hypercortisolism carried ARMC5 mutations. Therefore, PMAH is genetically determined more frequently than previously believed. This review summarizes the most important molecular mechanisms involved in PMAH.

Huang X, He Z, Guo D, et al.
"Three-in-one" Nanohybrids as Synergistic Nanoquenchers to Enhance No-Wash Fluorescence Biosensors for Ratiometric Detection of Cancer Biomarkers.
Theranostics. 2018; 8(13):3461-3473 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications

Inoue K, Yamazaki Y, Kitamoto T, et al.
Aldosterone Suppression by Dexamethasone in Patients With KCNJ5-Mutated Aldosterone-Producing Adenoma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018; 103(9):3477-3485 [PubMed] Related Publications
Context: Aldosterone biosynthesis is regulated principally by ACTH and gene mutations as well as by angiotensin II and serum potassium. In addition, previous studies have reported the potential effects of KCNJ5 mutations in aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) on cardiovascular diseases. However, responsiveness to ACTH in APAs according to potassium inwardly rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 5 (KCNJ5) mutations remains unknown.
Objective: To investigate KCNJ5 genotype-specific differences in aldosterone biosynthesis in response to ACTH stimulation.
Design and Setting: A cross-sectional study through retrieval of clinical records.
Participants: One hundred forty-one patients aged ≥20 years with APA were examined.
Main Outcome Measures: Associations between KCNJ5 mutations and clinical parameters reflecting the renin-angiotensin system [saline infusion test (SIT)] and ACTH pathways [dexamethasone suppression test (DST)].
Results: KCNJ5 mutations were detected in 107 cases. In the crude comparison, patients with mutations in KCNJ5 had higher plasma aldosterone concentrations (PACs) both at baseline and after the SIT. PAC after the DST showed a significant inverse association with KCNJ5 genotypes after controlling for age, sex, tumor size, and PAC after the SIT. Immunohistochemical analysis of 101 cases revealed more abundant immunoreactivity of CYP11B1 and CYP17 in the KCNJ5-mutated group than in the KCNJ5 wild-type group.
Conclusion: This report of marked suppression of PAC by dexamethasone in patients with KCNJ5-mutated APAs indicates that such APAs respond to endogenous ACTH more readily than APAs in nonmutated cases. Further molecular and epidemiologic studies are required to validate our results and clarify the clinical effectiveness of the DST for predicting KCNJ5 mutations before adrenalectomy.

Ruscito I, Cacsire Castillo-Tong D, Vergote I, et al.
Characterisation of tumour microvessel density during progression of high-grade serous ovarian cancer: clinico-pathological impact (an OCTIPS Consortium study).
Br J Cancer. 2018; 119(3):330-338 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) intratumoural vasculature evolution remains unknown. The study investigated changes in tumour microvessel density (MVD) in a large cohort of paired primary and recurrent HGSOC tissue samples and its impact on patients' clinico-pathological outcome.
METHODS: A total of 222 primary (pOC) and recurrent (rOC) intra-patient paired HGSOC were assessed for immunohistochemical expression of angiogenesis-associated biomarkers (CD31, to evaluate MVD, and VEGF-A). Expression profiles were compared between pOCs and rOCs and correlated with patients' data.
RESULTS: High intratumoural MVD and VEGF-A expression were observed in 75.7% (84/111) and 20.7% (23/111) pOCs, respectively. MVD
CONCLUSIONS: HGSOC intratumoural vasculature did not undergo significant changes during disease progression. High concentration of CD31

Attallah AM, Omran D, Marie MS, et al.
IL-28B rs12979860 polymorphism affect the course of chronic hepatitis and the development of HCC in Egyptian patients with hepatitis C type 4.
Br J Biomed Sci. 2018; 75(4):157-162 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the interleukin 28B (IL28B) gene may alter the trajectory of hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronic infection. Several studies have sought to determine a link between IL28B rs12979860 SNP and the development of HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but with variable results, and consensus is awaited. We hypothesised that IL28B rs12979860 SNP is linked to HCC in patients with HCV type 4.
METHODS: IL28B genotyping of 300 patients with HCV-related fibrosis (n = 100), cirrhosis (n = 100) and HCC (n = 100) was carried out and the results were analysed to determine the association between the IL28B genotype and clinical outcome.
RESULTS: In IL28B TT genotype carriers, the proportions of moderate/severe fibrosis, advanced cirrhosis (Child B-C) and HCC (50%, 84% and 60.2%, respectively) were higher (p < 0.05) than in CC/CT (4.3%, 46% and 23%, respectively). IL-28B SNP was linked significantly (p < 0.05) with cirrhosis progression and HCC advanced stages. Moreover, HCC advanced Child, Okuda and CLIP stages were associated with T allele carriage (73.9%, 82.6% and 78.3% vs. 44.2%, 50.6% and 46.8% in CC/CT). The percentage of large tumour size (> 3cm) increased (p = 0.028) in TT genotype carriers (81.8% vs.52.6% in CC/CT).
CONCLUSION: IL-28B rs12979860 TT genotype is more prevalent in patients with advanced fibrosis, cirrhosis and HCC stages. Thus, it seems to be associated with poor outcomes in chronic HCV patients and to augment the risk of developing HCC.

Lacher MD, Bauer G, Fury B, et al.
SV-BR-1-GM, a Clinically Effective GM-CSF-Secreting Breast Cancer Cell Line, Expresses an Immune Signature and Directly Activates CD4
Front Immunol. 2018; 9:776 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
Targeted cancer immunotherapy with irradiated, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-secreting, allogeneic cancer cell lines has been an effective approach to reduce tumor burden in several patients. It is generally assumed that to be effective, these cell lines need to express immunogenic antigens coexpressed in patient tumor cells, and antigen-presenting cells need to take up such antigens then present them to patient T cells. We have previously reported that, in a phase I pilot study (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00095862), a subject with stage IV breast cancer experienced substantial regression of breast, lung, and brain lesions following inoculation with clinical formulations of SV-BR-1-GM, a GM-CSF-secreting breast tumor cell line. To identify diagnostic features permitting the prospective identification of patients likely to benefit from SV-BR-1-GM, we conducted a molecular analysis of the SV-BR-1-GM cell line and of patient-derived blood, as well as a tumor specimen. Compared to normal human breast cells, SV-BR-1-GM cells overexpress genes encoding tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) such as PRAME, a cancer/testis antigen. Curiously, despite its presumptive breast epithelial origin, the cell line expresses major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II genes (

Liang Y, Tebaldi T, Rejeski K, et al.
SRSF2 mutations drive oncogenesis by activating a global program of aberrant alternative splicing in hematopoietic cells.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(12):2659-2671 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
Recurrent mutations in the splicing factor SRSF2 are associated with poor clinical outcomes in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Their high frequency suggests these mutations drive oncogenesis, yet the molecular explanation for this process is unclear. SRSF2 mutations could directly affect pre-mRNA splicing of a vital gene product; alternatively, a whole network of gene products could be affected. Here we determine how SRSF2 mutations globally affect RNA binding and splicing in vivo using HITS-CLIP. Remarkably, the majority of differential binding events do not translate into alternative splicing of exons with SRSF2

Zhang Y, Huang J, Li Q, et al.
Histone methyltransferase SETDB1 promotes cells proliferation and migration by interacting withTiam1 in hepatocellular carcinoma.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):539 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/10/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: SETDB1 is a histone H3K9 methyltransferase, which plays a significant role in the occurrence and progression of tumors. Previous studies have confirmed that T-lymphom invasion and metastasis gene (Tiam1) is a protein associated with the metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, we have not yet been successful in elucidating the specific mechanism of HCC.
METHODS: Yeast two-hybrid test was conducted to screen proteins that interacted with Tiam1 gene. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) pull-down and crosslinking-immunoprecipitation (CLIP) assays were performed to determine whether SETDB1 can interact with Tiam1 gene. A series of related experiments were performed to explore role of SETDB1 on cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in HCC. Recovery experiment was performed to investigate the effect of Tiam1 knockdown on cell proliferation and migration, which was caused by SETDB1 overexpression in HCC cells. The expression of SETDB1 was frequently upregulated in HCC tissues and positively correlated with Tiam1.
RESULTS: GST pull-down and CLIP assays were performed to elucidate the interaction between SETDB1 and Tiam1. Cell proliferation, migration, and epithelial mesenchymal transformation (EMT) in HCC cells was promoted with the overexpression of SETDB1. Following the knockdown of Tiam1 gene, the effect of SETDB1 on cell proliferation and migration was reversed in HCC cells. The expression of SETDB1 was frequently up-regulated in HCC tissues, and it was positively correlated with Tiam1 gene.
CONCLUSIONS: Ours is the first study to prove that SETDB1 promotes the proliferation and migration of cells by forming SETDB1-Tiam1 compounds. We found that SETDB1-Tiam1 compounds were involved in a novel pathway, which regulated epigenetic modification of gene expression in HCC samples.

Assié G
Genomic insights into Cushing syndrome.
Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2018; 79(3):119-122 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the setting of Cushing syndrome, genomic analyses can be performed either in tumors responsible for endogenous Cushing, or in patients exposed to glucocorticoid excess. Genomics of tumors identified several new genes - including ZNRF3 in adrenocortical carcinomas, PRKACA in cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas, ARMC5 in primary macronodular adrenal hyperplasia and USP8 in pituitary corticotroph adenomas. These genes shed new lights on the mechanisms responsible for these tumors. Integrated genomic studies of adrenal carcinomas identified distinct molecular classes, with remarkably different prognostic outcome. Beyond the mechanistic novelties, a new generation of prognostic markers emerges, with potentially important impact on patients care. For the future, genomic efforts should be pursued, focusing on poorly characterized tumors responsible for Cushing syndrome - including endocrine tumors secreting ACTH. In addition, epigenomics is emerging as an outstanding set of tools for characterizing tumors, unraveling unprecedented aspects of tumorigenesis. Applying these tools to endocrine tumors responsible for Cushing syndrome may also lead to important discoveries. Genomics of patients exposed to glucocorticoid excess is an emerging research field. Proof of principle studies have been performed, identifying molecular markers of glucocorticoid excess in blood. Research efforts should now concentrate on markers of mild glucocorticoid excesses - endogenous or exogenous -, owing to their high prevalence in general population. In addition, markers of individual susceptibility to each type of glucocorticoid complication are needed. It remains to be determined whether genomics can identify such markers.

Na HK, Wi JS, Son HY, et al.
Discrimination of single nucleotide mismatches using a scalable, flexible, and transparent three-dimensional nanostructure-based plasmonic miRNA sensor with high sensitivity.
Biosens Bioelectron. 2018; 113:39-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) biosensors have attracted much interest due to their capacity for multiplexing, miniaturization, and high performance, which offers the potential for their integration into lab-on-a-chip platforms for point-of-care (POC) diagnostics. The need for microRNA (miRNA)-sensing platforms is particularly urgent because miRNAs are key regulators and biomarkers in numerous pathological processes and diseases. Unfortunately, however, development of such miRNA-sensing platforms has not yet been achieved. In order to realize the detection of these important biomarkers, there has been an increasing demand for POC-sensing platforms that enable label-free quantification with low sample consumption, good sensitivity, real-time responsiveness, and high throughput. Here, we developed a highly specific, sensitive LSPR miRNA-sensing platform on a flexible, scalable plasmonic nanostructure to enable single-base mismatch discrimination and attomole detection of miRNAs in clinically relevant samples. The hairpin probe contained a locked nucleic acid (LNA) that enabled the discrimination of single base mismatches based on differences in melting temperatures of perfectly matched or single base mismatched miRNAs when they formed base pairs with probes. In addition, through hybridization induced signal amplification based on precipitate formation on the gold surface through the enzyme reaction, we observed a dramatic LSPR peak shift, which enabled attomole detection. Additionally, our LSPR miRNA sensor enabled the detection of miR-200a-3p in total RNA extracts from primary cancer cell lines without purification or labeling of the miRNA. This label-free and highly specific miRNA sensing platform may have applications in POC cancer diagnostics without the need for gene amplification.

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