Gene Summary

Gene:POT1; protection of telomeres 1
Aliases: GLM9, CMM10, HPOT1
Summary:This gene is a member of the telombin family and encodes a nuclear protein involved in telomere maintenance. Specifically, this protein functions as a member of a multi-protein complex that binds to the TTAGGG repeats of telomeres, regulating telomere length and protecting chromosome ends from illegitimate recombination, catastrophic chromosome instability, and abnormal chromosome segregation. Increased transcriptional expression of this gene is associated with stomach carcinogenesis and its progression. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protection of telomeres protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (20)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Breast CancerPOT1 and Breast Cancer View Publications9
Chronic Lymphocytic LeukemiaPOT1 and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia View Publications7
Stomach CancerPOT1 and Stomach Cancer View Publications5
Melanoma, FamilialPOT1 and Predisposition to Familial Melanoma
Large genome-wide sequencing studies have identified missense mutations in POT1 as a risk factor for hereditary melanoma families and not present in unaffected controls (Robles-Espinoza CD et al, 2014 and Shi J et al 2014). Theses POT1 mutations included families without CDKN2A or CDK4 mutations, suggesting it may be a frequently mutated gene in hereditary melanoma.
View Publications10
Thyroid CancerPOT1 and Thyroid Cancer View Publications2
Parathyroid CancerPOT1 and Parathyroid Cancer View Publications2

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

Latest Publications: POT1 (cancer-related)

Takai H, Jenkinson E, Kabir S, et al.
A POT1 mutation implicates defective telomere end fill-in and telomere truncations in Coats plus.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(7):812-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Coats plus (CP) can be caused by mutations in the CTC1 component of CST, which promotes polymerase α (polα)/primase-dependent fill-in throughout the genome and at telomeres. The cellular pathology relating to CP has not been established. We identified a homozygous POT1 S322L substitution (POT1(CP)) in two siblings with CP. POT1(CP)induced a proliferative arrest that could be bypassed by telomerase. POT1(CP)was expressed at normal levels, bound TPP1 and telomeres, and blocked ATR signaling. POT1(CP)was defective in regulating telomerase, leading to telomere elongation rather than the telomere shortening observed in other telomeropathies. POT1(CP)was also defective in the maintenance of the telomeric C strand, causing extended 3' overhangs and stochastic telomere truncations that could be healed by telomerase. Consistent with shortening of the telomeric C strand, metaphase chromosomes showed loss of telomeres synthesized by leading strand DNA synthesis. We propose that CP is caused by a defect in POT1/CST-dependent telomere fill-in. We further propose that deficiency in the fill-in step generates truncated telomeres that halt proliferation in cells lacking telomerase, whereas, in tissues expressing telomerase (e.g., bone marrow), the truncations are healed. The proposed etiology can explain why CP presents with features distinct from those associated with telomerase defects (e.g., dyskeratosis congenita).

Johansson G, Andersson U, Melin B
Recent developments in brain tumor predisposing syndromes.
Acta Oncol. 2016; 55(4):401-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The etiologies of brain tumors are in the most cases unknown, but improvements in genetics and DNA screening have helped to identify a wide range of brain tumor predisposition disorders. In this review we are discussing some of the most common predisposition disorders, namely: neurofibromatosis type 1 and 2, schwannomatosis, rhabdoid tumor predisposition disorder, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin), tuberous sclerosis complex, von Hippel-Lindau, Li-Fraumeni and Turcot syndromes. Recent findings from the GLIOGENE collaboration and the newly identified glioma causing gene POT1, will also be discussed. Genetics. We will describe these disorders from a genetic and clinical standpoint, focusing on the difference in clinical symptoms depending on the underlying gene or germline mutation. Central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Most of these disorders predispose the carriers to a wide range of symptoms. Herein, we will focus particularly on tumors affecting the CNS and discuss improvements of targeted therapy for the particular disorders.

Harland M, Petljak M, Robles-Espinoza CD, et al.
Germline TERT promoter mutations are rare in familial melanoma.
Fam Cancer. 2016; 15(1):139-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Germline CDKN2A mutations occur in 40 % of 3-or-more case melanoma families while mutations of CDK4, BAP1, and genes involved in telomere function (ACD, TERF2IP, POT1), have also been implicated in melanomagenesis. Mutation of the promoter of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene (c.-57 T>G variant) has been reported in one family. We tested for the TERT promoter variant in 675 multicase families wild-type for the known high penetrance familial melanoma genes, 1863 UK population-based melanoma cases and 529 controls. Germline lymphocyte telomere length was estimated in carriers. The c.-57 T>G TERT promoter variant was identified in one 7-case family with multiple primaries and early age of onset (earliest, 15 years) but not among population cases or controls. One family member had multiple primary melanomas, basal cell carcinomas and a bladder tumour. The blood leukocyte telomere length of a carrier was similar to wild-type cases. We provide evidence confirming that a rare promoter variant of TERT (c.-57 T>G) is associated with high penetrance, early onset melanoma and potentially other cancers, and explains <1 % of UK melanoma multicase families. The identification of POT1 and TERT germline mutations highlights the importance of telomere integrity in melanoma biology.

Calvete O, Martinez P, Garcia-Pavia P, et al.
A mutation in the POT1 gene is responsible for cardiac angiosarcoma in TP53-negative Li-Fraumeni-like families.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:8383 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cardiac angiosarcoma (CAS) is a rare malignant tumour whose genetic basis is unknown. Here we show, by whole-exome sequencing of a TP53-negative Li-Fraumeni-like (LFL) family including CAS cases, that a missense variant (p.R117C) in POT1 (protection of telomeres 1) gene is responsible for CAS. The same gene alteration is found in two other LFL families with CAS, supporting the causal effect of the identified mutation. We extend the analysis to TP53-negative LFL families with no CAS and find the same mutation in a breast AS family. The mutation is recently found once in 121,324 studied alleles in ExAC server but it is not described in any other database or found in 1,520 Spanish controls. In silico structural analysis suggests how the mutation disrupts POT1 structure. Functional and in vitro studies demonstrate that carriers of the mutation show reduced telomere-bound POT1 levels, abnormally long telomeres and increased telomere fragility.

Elvers I, Turner-Maier J, Swofford R, et al.
Exome sequencing of lymphomas from three dog breeds reveals somatic mutation patterns reflecting genetic background.
Genome Res. 2015; 25(11):1634-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lymphoma is the most common hematological malignancy in developed countries. Outcome is strongly determined by molecular subtype, reflecting a need for new and improved treatment options. Dogs spontaneously develop lymphoma, and the predisposition of certain breeds indicates genetic risk factors. Using the dog breed structure, we selected three lymphoma predisposed breeds developing primarily T-cell (boxer), primarily B-cell (cocker spaniel), and with equal distribution of B- and T-cell lymphoma (golden retriever), respectively. We investigated the somatic mutations in B- and T-cell lymphomas from these breeds by exome sequencing of tumor and normal pairs. Strong similarities were evident between B-cell lymphomas from golden retrievers and cocker spaniels, with recurrent mutations in TRAF3-MAP3K14 (28% of all cases), FBXW7 (25%), and POT1 (17%). The FBXW7 mutations recurrently occur in a specific codon; the corresponding codon is recurrently mutated in human cancer. In contrast, T-cell lymphomas from the predisposed breeds, boxers and golden retrievers, show little overlap in their mutation pattern, sharing only one of their 15 most recurrently mutated genes. Boxers, which develop aggressive T-cell lymphomas, are typically mutated in the PTEN-mTOR pathway. T-cell lymphomas in golden retrievers are often less aggressive, and their tumors typically showed mutations in genes involved in cellular metabolism. We identify genes with known involvement in human lymphoma and leukemia, genes implicated in other human cancers, as well as novel genes that could allow new therapeutic options.

Liu J, Yu C, Hu X, et al.
Dissecting Fission Yeast Shelterin Interactions via MICro-MS Links Disruption of Shelterin Bridge to Tumorigenesis.
Cell Rep. 2015; 12(12):2169-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Shelterin, a six-member complex, protects telomeres from nucleolytic attack and regulates their elongation by telomerase. Here, we have developed a strategy, called MICro-MS (Mapping Interfaces via Crosslinking-Mass Spectrometry), that combines crosslinking-mass spectrometry and phylogenetic analysis to identify contact sites within the complex. This strategy allowed identification of separation-of-function mutants of fission yeast Ccq1, Poz1, and Pot1 that selectively disrupt their respective interactions with Tpz1. The various telomere dysregulation phenotypes observed in these mutants further emphasize the critical regulatory roles of Tpz1-centered shelterin interactions in telomere homeostasis. Furthermore, the conservation between fission yeast Tpz1-Pot1 and human TPP1-POT1 interactions led us to map a human melanoma-associated POT1 mutation (A532P) to the TPP1-POT1 interface. Diminished TPP1-POT1 interaction caused by hPOT1-A532P may enable unregulated telomere extension, which, in turn, helps cancer cells to achieve replicative immortality. Therefore, our study reveals a connection between shelterin connectivity and tumorigenicity.

Read J, Wadt KA, Hayward NK
Melanoma genetics.
J Med Genet. 2016; 53(1):1-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Approximately 10% of melanoma cases report a relative affected with melanoma, and a positive family history is associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma. Although the majority of genetic alterations associated with melanoma development are somatic, the underlying presence of heritable melanoma risk genes is an important component of disease occurrence. Susceptibility for some families is due to mutation in one of the known high penetrance melanoma predisposition genes: CDKN2A, CDK4, BAP1, POT1, ACD, TERF2IP and TERT. However, despite such mutations being implicated in a combined total of approximately 50% of familial melanoma cases, the underlying genetic basis is unexplained for the remainder of high-density melanoma families. Aside from the possibility of extremely rare mutations in a few additional high penetrance genes yet to be discovered, this suggests a likely polygenic component to susceptibility, and a unique level of personal melanoma risk influenced by multiple low-risk alleles and genetic modifiers. In addition to conferring a risk of cutaneous melanoma, some 'melanoma' predisposition genes have been linked to other cancers, with cancer clustering observed in melanoma families at rates greater than expected by chance. The most extensively documented association is between CDKN2A germ line mutations and pancreatic cancer, and a cancer syndrome including cutaneous melanoma, uveal melanoma and mesothelioma has been proposed for BAP1 germ line mutations. Other medium to high penetrance melanoma predisposition genes have been associated with renal cell carcinoma (MITF, BAP1) and glioma (POT1). These associations between melanoma and other cancers hint at the possibility of common pathways for oncogenesis, and better knowledge of these pathways may improve understanding of the genetic basis underpinning familial melanoma. It is likely that 'melanoma' risk genes will impact on mutation screening and genetic counselling not only for melanoma but also a range of other cancers.

Mosrati MA, Willander K, Falk IJ, et al.
Association between TERT promoter polymorphisms and acute myeloid leukemia risk and prognosis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(28):25109-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERT) promoter mutations are identified in many malignancies but not in hematological malignancies. Here we analyzed TERT and protection of telomeres 1 gene (POT1) mutations, and four different TERT SNVs in 226 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and 806 healthy individuals in a case referent design, where also overall survival was assessed. A significant association for increased risk of AML was found for TERT SNVs, rs2853669 (OR = 2.45, p = 0.00015) and rs2736100 (OR = 1.5, p = 0.03). The overall survival for patients with CC genotype of rs2853669 was significantly shorter compared to those with TT or TC genotypes (p = 0.036 and 0.029 respectively). The influence of TERT rs2853669 CC on survival was confirmed in multivariable Cox regression analysis as an independent risk biomarker in addition to high risk group, higher age and treatment. No hot spot TERT promoter mutations at -228C > T or -250C > T or POT1 mutations could be identified in this AML cohort. We show that rs2853669 CC may be a risk factor for the development of AML that may also be used as a prognostic marker to identify high risk normal karyotype-AML (NK-AML) patients, for treatment guidance.

Aoude LG, Heitzer E, Johansson P, et al.
POLE mutations in families predisposed to cutaneous melanoma.
Fam Cancer. 2015; 14(4):621-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germline mutations in the exonuclease domain of POLE have been shown to predispose to colorectal cancers and adenomas. POLE is an enzyme involved in DNA repair and chromosomal DNA replication. In order to assess whether such mutations might also predispose to cutaneous melanoma, we interrogated whole-genome and exome data from probands of 34 melanoma families lacking pathogenic mutations in known high penetrance melanoma susceptibility genes: CDKN2A, CDK4, BAP1, TERT, POT1, ACD and TERF2IP. We found a novel germline mutation, POLE p.(Trp347Cys), in a 7-case cutaneous melanoma family. Functional assays in S. pombe showed that this mutation led to an increased DNA mutation rate comparable to that seen with a Pol ε mutant with no exonuclease activity. We then performed targeted sequencing of POLE in 1243 cutaneous melanoma cases and found that a further ten probands had novel or rare variants in the exonuclease domain of POLE. Although this frequency is not significantly higher than that in unselected Caucasian controls, we observed multiple cancer types in the melanoma families, suggesting that some germline POLE mutations may predispose to a broad spectrum of cancers, including melanoma. In addition, we found the first mutation outside the exonuclease domain, p.(Gln520Arg), in a family with an extensive history of colorectal cancer.

Mosrati MA, Malmström A, Lysiak M, et al.
TERT promoter mutations and polymorphisms as prognostic factors in primary glioblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(18):16663-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) activity is up-regulated in several types of tumors including glioblastoma (GBM). In the present study, 128 primary glioblastoma patients were examined for single nucleotide polymorphisms of TERT in blood and in 92 cases for TERT promoter mutations in tumors. TERT promoter mutations were observed in 86% of the tumors and of these, C228T (-124 bp upstream start codon) was detected in 75% and C250T (-146 bp) in 25% of cases. TERT promoter mutations were associated with shorter overall survival (11 vs. 20 months p = 0.002 and 12 vs. 20, p = 0.04 for C228T and C250T, respectively). The minor alleles of rs2736100 and rs10069690 SNP's, located in intron 2 and the promotor regions, respectively, were associated with an increased risk of developing GBM (p = 0.004 and 0.001). GBM patients having both TERT promoter mutations and being homozygous carriers of the rs2853669 C-allele displayed significantly shorter overall survival than those with the wild type allele. The rs2853669 SNP is located in a putative Ets2 binding site in the promoter (-246 bp upstream start codon) close to the C228T and C250T mutation hot spots. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression regulated by TERT promoter status and polymorphism, what leads us to think that TERT and IL-6 plays a significant role in GBM, where specific SNPs increase the risk of developing GBM while the rs2853669 SNP and specific mutations in the TERT promoter of the tumor lead to shorter survival.

de Araújo ÉS, Pramio DT, Kashiwabara AY, et al.
DNA Methylation Levels of Melanoma Risk Genes Are Associated with Clinical Characteristics of Melanoma Patients.
Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:376423 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In melanoma development, oncogenic process is mediated by genetic and epigenetic mutations, and few studies have so far explored the role of DNA methylation either as predisposition factor or biomarker. We tested patient samples for germline CDKN2A methylation status and found no evidence of inactivation by promoter hypermethylation. We have also investigated the association of clinical characteristics of samples with the DNA methylation pattern of twelve genes relevant for melanomagenesis. Five genes (BAP1, MGMT, MITF, PALB2, and POT1) presented statistical association between blood DNA methylation levels and either CDKN2A-mutation status, number of lesions, or Breslow thickness. In tumors, five genes (KIT, MGMT, MITF, TERT, and TNF) exhibited methylation levels significantly different between tumor groups including acral compared to nonacral melanomas and matched primary lesions and metastases. Our data pinpoint that the methylation level of eight melanoma-associated genes could potentially represent markers for this disease both in peripheral blood and in tumor samples.

Walsh KM, Wiencke JK, Lachance DH, et al.
Telomere maintenance and the etiology of adult glioma.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(11):1445-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A growing body of epidemiologic and tumor genomic research has identified an important role for telomere maintenance in glioma susceptibility, initiation, and prognosis. Telomere length has long been investigated in relation to cancer, but whether longer or shorter telomere length might be associated with glioma risk has remained elusive. Recent data address this question and are reviewed here. Common inherited variants near the telomerase-component genes TERC and TERT are associated both with longer telomere length and increased risk of glioma. Exome sequencing of glioma patients from families with multiple affected members has identified rare inherited mutations in POT1 (protection of telomeres protein 1) as high-penetrance glioma risk factors. These heritable POT1 mutations are also associated with increased telomere length in leukocytes. Tumor sequencing studies further indicate that acquired somatic mutations of TERT and ATRX are among the most frequent alterations found in adult gliomas. These mutations facilitate telomere lengthening, thus bypassing a critical mechanism of apoptosis. Although future research is needed, mounting evidence suggests that glioma is, at least in part, a disease of telomere dysregulation. Specifically, several inherited and acquired variants underlying gliomagenesis affect telomere pathways and are also associated with increased telomere length.

Aoude LG, Pritchard AL, Robles-Espinoza CD, et al.
Nonsense mutations in the shelterin complex genes ACD and TERF2IP in familial melanoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The shelterin complex protects chromosomal ends by regulating how the telomerase complex interacts with telomeres. Following the recent finding in familial melanoma of inactivating germline mutations in POT1, encoding a member of the shelterin complex, we searched for mutations in the other five components of the shelterin complex in melanoma families.
METHODS: Next-generation sequencing techniques were used to screen 510 melanoma families (with unknown genetic etiology) and control cohorts for mutations in shelterin complex encoding genes: ACD, TERF2IP, TERF1, TERF2, and TINF 2. Maximum likelihood and LOD [logarithm (base 10) of odds] analyses were used. Mutation clustering was assessed with χ(2) and Fisher's exact tests. P values under .05 were considered statistically significant (one-tailed with Yates' correction).
RESULTS: Six families had mutations in ACD and four families carried TERF2IP variants, which included nonsense mutations in both genes (p.Q320X and p.R364X, respectively) and point mutations that cosegregated with melanoma. Of five distinct mutations in ACD, four clustered in the POT1 binding domain, including p.Q320X. This clustering of novel mutations in the POT1 binding domain of ACD was statistically higher (P = .005) in melanoma probands compared with population control individuals (n = 6785), as were all novel and rare variants in both ACD (P = .040) and TERF2IP (P = .022). Families carrying ACD and TERF2IP mutations were also enriched with other cancer types, suggesting that these variants also predispose to a broader spectrum of cancers than just melanoma. Novel mutations were also observed in TERF1, TERF2, and TINF2, but these were not convincingly associated with melanoma.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings add to the growing support for telomere dysregulation as a key process associated with melanoma susceptibility.

Bainbridge MN, Armstrong GN, Gramatges MM, et al.
Germline mutations in shelterin complex genes are associated with familial glioma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(1):384 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gliomas are the most common brain tumor, with several histological subtypes of various malignancy grade. The genetic contribution to familial glioma is not well understood. Using whole exome sequencing of 90 individuals from 55 families, we identified two families with mutations in POT1 (p.G95C, p.E450X), a member of the telomere shelterin complex, shared by both affected individuals in each family and predicted to impact DNA binding and TPP1 binding, respectively. Validation in a separate cohort of 264 individuals from 246 families identified an additional mutation in POT1 (p.D617Efs), also predicted to disrupt TPP1 binding. All families with POT1 mutations had affected members with oligodendroglioma, a specific subtype of glioma more sensitive to irradiation. These findings are important for understanding the origin of glioma and could have importance for the future diagnostics and treatment of glioma.

Sutton LA, Ljungström V, Mansouri L, et al.
Targeted next-generation sequencing in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a high-throughput yet tailored approach will facilitate implementation in a clinical setting.
Haematologica. 2015; 100(3):370-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Next-generation sequencing has revealed novel recurrent mutations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, particularly in patients with aggressive disease. Here, we explored targeted re-sequencing as a novel strategy to assess the mutation status of genes with prognostic potential. To this end, we utilized HaloPlex targeted enrichment technology and designed a panel including nine genes: ATM, BIRC3, MYD88, NOTCH1, SF3B1 and TP53, which have been linked to the prognosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and KLHL6, POT1 and XPO1, which are less characterized but were found to be recurrently mutated in various sequencing studies. A total of 188 chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with poor prognostic features (unmutated IGHV, n=137; IGHV3-21 subset #2, n=51) were sequenced on the HiSeq 2000 and data were analyzed using well-established bioinformatics tools. Using a conservative cutoff of 10% for the mutant allele, we found that 114/180 (63%) patients carried at least one mutation, with mutations in ATM, BIRC3, NOTCH1, SF3B1 and TP53 accounting for 149/177 (84%) of all mutations. We selected 155 mutations for Sanger validation (variant allele frequency, 10-99%) and 93% (144/155) of mutations were confirmed; notably, all 11 discordant variants had a variant allele frequency between 11-27%, hence at the detection limit of conventional Sanger sequencing. Technical precision was assessed by repeating the entire HaloPlex procedure for 63 patients; concordance was found for 77/82 (94%) mutations. In summary, this study demonstrates that targeted next-generation sequencing is an accurate and reproducible technique potentially suitable for routine screening, eventually as a stand-alone test without the need for confirmation by Sanger sequencing.

Izgi A, Gunal A, Yalcin S, Gunduz U
Telomere 1 (POT1) gene expression and its association with telomerase activity in colorectal tumor samples with different pathological features.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2014; 68(7):841-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ends of chromosoms, telomeres are bound with a number of proteins which protect and stabilize telomeres against degredation, end to end fusion and aberrant recombinations. Telomeric DNA is bound of two groups of proteins, which are double-stranded telomeric DNA bindings proteins, and single stranded telomeric binding proteins. Among telomere binding proteins, protections of telomere 1 protein is a single stranded telomere binding proteins and suggested to be a significant player for telomere elongation and has an association with an enzyme called as telomerase which is an intrinsic reverse transcriptase. Telomerase synthesizes hexameric telomeric repeats onto the chromosomes thereby compansating telomere loss in immortal cells, such as tumor cells, whereas telomeres are shorthened with each division in normal cells. PCR-based TRAP (telomeric repeat amplification protocol) assay is a very sensitive assay for the detection of enzymatic activity of telomerase even if a few numbers of cancerous cells are available. The association between telomerase activity and hPOT1 expression in colorectal cancer is still unclear. Protein extraction was performed from specimens of matched normal and colorectal cancer specimens. Protein concentrations were determined by Bradford assay. Optimized protein concentrations were used for TRAP Assay. TRAP products were seperated by vertical gel electrophoresis on 12.5% polyacrylamide gels and visualized by silver staining. Gene expression of hPOT1 was determined by qPCR analysis. The results demonstrated that all tumor tissues were telomerase positive whereas all corresponding normal tissue was telomerase negative. Among clinicopathological findings, telomerase activity was found to be associated with stage, histology, localization, distant metastasis and lymph node metastasis of tumor in the current study. Although all of the clinicopathological findings differed in the expression of hPOT1 compared to normal tissues, they did not differ from each other significantly, except side of tumor and lymph node metastasis. Telomerase activity and hPOT1 gene expression may serve as a promising tumor marker for colorectal cancer and there is a close association between the enzymatic activty of telomerase and the expression of human protection of telomere 1 gene.

Motevalli A, Yasaei H, Virmouni SA, et al.
The effect of chemotherapeutic agents on telomere length maintenance in breast cancer cell lines.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 145(3):581-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mammalian telomeric DNA consists of tandem repeats of the sequence TTAGGG associated with a specialized set of proteins, known collectively as Shelterin. These telosomal proteins protect the ends of chromosomes against end-to-end fusion and degradation. Short telomeres in breast cancer cells confer telomere dysfunction and this can be related to Shelterin proteins and their level of expression in breast cancer cell lines. This study investigates whether expression of Shelterin and Shelterin-associated proteins are altered, and influence the protection and maintenance of telomeres, in breast cancer cells. 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR) and trichostatin A (TSA) were used in an attempt to reactivate the expression of silenced genes. Our studies have shown that Shelterin and Shelterin-associated genes were down-regulated in breast cancer cell lines; this may be due to epigenetic modification of DNA as the promoter region of POT1 was found to be partially methylated. Shelterin genes expression was up-regulated upon treatment of 21NT breast cancer cells with 5-aza-CdR and TSA. The telomere length of treated 21NT cells was measured by q-PCR showed an increase in telomere length at different time points. Our studies have shown that down-regulation of Shelterin genes is partially due to methylation in some epithelial breast cancer cell lines. Removal of epigenetic silencing results in up-regulation of Shelterin and Shelterin-associated genes which can then lead to telomere length elongation and stability.

Hoxha M, Fabris S, Agnelli L, et al.
Relevance of telomere/telomerase system impairment in early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2014; 53(7):612-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several studies have proposed telomere length and telomerase activity as prognostic factors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), whereas information addressing the role of telomere-associated genes is limited. We measured relative telomere length (RTL) and TERT expression levels in purified peripheral CD19(+) B-cells from seven healthy donors and 77 untreated CLLs in early stage disease (Binet A). Data were correlated with the major biological and cytogenetic markers, global DNA methylation (Alu and LINE-1), and clinical outcome. The expression profiles of telomere-associated genes were also investigated. RTL was decreased in CLLs as compared with controls (P < 0.001); within CLL, a progressive and significant RTL shortening was observed in patients from 13q- through +12, 11q-, and 17p- alterations; short telomeres were significantly associated with unmutated IGHV configuration and global DNA hypomethylation. Decreased RTL was associated with a shorter time to first treatment. A significant upregulation of POT1, TRF1, RAP1, MRE11A, RAD50, and RPA1 transcript levels was observed in CLLs compared with controls. Our study suggests that impairment of telomere/telomerase system represents an early event in CLL pathogenesis. Moreover, the correlation between telomere shortening and global DNA hypomethylation supports the involvement of DNA hypomethylation to increase chromosome instability. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Robles-Espinoza CD, Harland M, Ramsay AJ, et al.
POT1 loss-of-function variants predispose to familial melanoma.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(5):478-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Deleterious germline variants in CDKN2A account for around 40% of familial melanoma cases, and rare variants in CDK4, BRCA2, BAP1 and the promoter of TERT have also been linked to the disease. Here we set out to identify new high-penetrance susceptibility genes by sequencing 184 melanoma cases from 105 pedigrees recruited in the UK, The Netherlands and Australia that were negative for variants in known predisposition genes. We identified families where melanoma cosegregates with loss-of-function variants in the protection of telomeres 1 gene (POT1), with a proportion of family members presenting with an early age of onset and multiple primary tumors. We show that these variants either affect POT1 mRNA splicing or alter key residues in the highly conserved oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding (OB) domains of POT1, disrupting protein-telomere binding and leading to increased telomere length. These findings suggest that POT1 variants predispose to melanoma formation via a direct effect on telomeres.

Shi J, Yang XR, Ballew B, et al.
Rare missense variants in POT1 predispose to familial cutaneous malignant melanoma.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(5):482-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although CDKN2A is the most frequent high-risk melanoma susceptibility gene, the underlying genetic factors for most melanoma-prone families remain unknown. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified a rare variant that arose as a founder mutation in the telomere shelterin gene POT1 (chromosome 7, g.124493086C>T; p.Ser270Asn) in five unrelated melanoma-prone families from Romagna, Italy. Carriers of this variant had increased telomere lengths and numbers of fragile telomeres, suggesting that this variant perturbs telomere maintenance. Two additional rare POT1 variants were identified in all cases sequenced in two separate Italian families, one variant per family, yielding a frequency for POT1 variants comparable to that for CDKN2A mutations in this population. These variants were not found in public databases or in 2,038 genotyped Italian controls. We also identified two rare recurrent POT1 variants in US and French familial melanoma cases. Our findings suggest that POT1 is a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma in several populations.

Zhang J, Jima D, Moffitt AB, et al.
The genomic landscape of mantle cell lymphoma is related to the epigenetically determined chromatin state of normal B cells.
Blood. 2014; 123(19):2988-96 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this study, we define the genetic landscape of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) through exome sequencing of 56 cases of MCL. We identified recurrent mutations in ATM, CCND1, MLL2, and TP53. We further identified a number of novel genes recurrently mutated in patients with MCL including RB1, WHSC1, POT1, and SMARCA4. We noted that MCLs have a distinct mutational profile compared with lymphomas from other B-cell stages. The ENCODE project has defined the chromatin structure of many cell types. However, a similar characterization of primary human mature B cells has been lacking. We defined, for the first time, the chromatin structure of primary human naïve, germinal center, and memory B cells through chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing for H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3Ac, H3K36me3, H3K27me3, and PolII. We found that somatic mutations that occur more frequently in either MCLs or Burkitt lymphomas were associated with open chromatin in their respective B cells of origin, naïve B cells, and germinal center B cells. Our work thus elucidates the landscape of gene-coding mutations in MCL and the critical interplay between epigenetic alterations associated with B-cell differentiation and the acquisition of somatic mutations in cancer.

Qiang W, Wu Q, Zhou F, et al.
Suppression of telomere-binding protein TPP1 resulted in telomere dysfunction and enhanced radiation sensitivity in telomerase-negative osteosarcoma cell line.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 445(2):363-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mammalian telomeres are protected by the shelterin complex that contains the six core proteins POT1, TPP1, TIN2, TRF1, TRF2 and RAP1. TPP1, formerly known as TINT1, PTOP, and PIP1, is a key factor that regulates telomerase recruitment and activity. In addition to this, TPP1 is required to mediate the shelterin assembly and stabilize telomere. Previous work has found that TPP1 expression was elevated in radioresistant cells and that overexpression of TPP1 led to radioresistance and telomere lengthening in telomerase-positive cells. However, the exact effects and mechanism of TPP1 on radiosensitivity are yet to be precisely defined in the ALT cells. Here we report on the phenotypes of the conditional deletion of TPP1 from the human osteosarcoma U2OS cells using ALT pathway to extend the telomeres.TPP1 deletion resulted in telomere shortening, increased apoptosis and radiation sensitivity enhancement. Together, our findings show that TPP1 plays a vital role in telomere maintenance and protection and establish an intimate relationship between TPP1, telomere and cellular response to ionizing radiation, but likely has the specific mechanism yet to be defined.

Panero J, Stanganelli C, Arbelbide J, et al.
Expression profile of shelterin components in plasma cell disorders. Clinical significance of POT1 overexpression.
Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2014 Feb-Mar; 52(2-3):134-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The core complex of telomere-associated proteins, named the shelterin complex, plays a critical role in telomere protection and telomere length (TL) homeostasis. In this study, we have explored changes in the expression of telomere-associated genes POT1, TIN2, RAP1 and TPP1, in patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and multiple myeloma (MM). A total of 154 patients: 70 with MGUS and 84 with MM were studied. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to quantify gene expression. TL was evaluated by Terminal Restriction Fragments. Our data showed increased expression of POT1, TPP1, TIN2 and RAP1 in MM with respect to MGUS patients, with significant differences for POT1 gene (p=0.002). In MM, the correlation of gene expression profiles with clinical characteristics highlighted POT1 for its significant association with advanced clinical stages, high calcium and β2-microglobulin levels (p=0.02) and bone lesions (p=0.009). In multivariate analysis, POT1 expression (p=0.04) was a significant independent prognostic factor for overall survival as well as the staging system (ISS) (p<0.02). Our findings suggest for the first time the participation of POT1 in the transformation process from MGUS to MM, and provide evidence of this gene as a useful prognostic factor in MM as well as a possible molecular target to design new therapeutic strategies.

Costa-Guda J, Arnold A
Genetic and epigenetic changes in sporadic endocrine tumors: parathyroid tumors.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014; 386(1-2):46-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Parathyroid neoplasia is most commonly due to benign parathyroid adenoma but rarely can be caused by malignant parathyroid carcinoma. Evidence suggests that parathyroid carcinomas rarely, if ever, evolve through an identifiable benign intermediate, with the notable exception of carcinomas associated with the familial hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor syndrome. Several genes have been directly implicated in the pathogenesis of typical sporadic parathyroid adenoma; somatic mutations in the MEN1 tumor suppressor gene are the most frequent finding, and alterations in the cyclin D1/PRAD1 oncogene are also firmly established molecular drivers of sporadic adenomas. In addition, good evidence supports mutation in the CDKN1B/p27 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) gene, and in other CDKI genes as contributing to disease pathogenesis in this context. Somatic defects in additional genes, including β-catenin, POT1 and EZH2 may contribute to parathyroid adenoma formation but, for most, their ability to drive parathyroid tumorigenesis remains to be demonstrated experimentally. Further, genetic predisposition to sporadic presentations of parathyroid adenoma appears be conferred by rare, and probably low-penetrance, germline variants in CDKI genes and, perhaps, in other genes such as CASR and AIP. The HRPT2 tumor suppressor gene is commonly mutated in parathyroid carcinoma.

El Idrissi M, Hervieu V, Merle P, et al.
Cause-specific telomere factors deregulation in hepatocellular carcinoma.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 32:64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Among the numerous genetic defects associated with hepatocarcinogenesis, telomere abnormalities appear to play a role both in tumor promotion and maintenance. Telomeres, the chromosome extremities, are protected by specific proteins, the shelterin complex and by additional factors. Besides telomerase dysregulation, expression changes of these telomere factors have been observed in cancers.
METHODS: Here, we tested the hypothesis that such dysregulation might occur in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with specific patterns depending on the cause of HCC. We compared telomere length, telomerase activity (TA), hTERT and telomere genes expression using PCR and Western-blot analyses between non-cirrhotic liver, peritumoral cirrhotic tissue (40 samples) and cancerous tissue (40 samples) derived from 40 patients with HBV-, HCV-, or alcohol-related HCC.
RESULTS: Alterations in TA, hTERT expression and telomere length between non-cirrhotic, cirrhotic, and tumor samples were not significantly influenced by the cause of HCC. In contrast, the expression pattern of hTR, shelterin, and non-shelterin telomere protective factors clearly distinguished the 3 causes of cirrhosis and HCC. For patients with HBV diseased liver, when compared with non-cirrhotic liver, the cirrhotic tissue underexpressed all shelterin and all but HMRE11A and RAD50 non-shelterin telomere factors. For HCV the expression level of POT1, RAP1, Ku80, and RAD50 was higher in cirrhotic than in non-cirrhotic liver samples without evidence for significant transcriptional change for the remaining genes. For alcohol-related liver diseases, the expression level of POT1, RAP1, TIN2, hMRE11A, hMRE11B, Ku70, Ku80, RAD50, TANK1, and PINX1 was higher in cirrhotic than in non-cirrhotic liver samples. For the 3 causes of HCC, there was no significant change in shelterin and non-shelterin gene expression between cirrhosis and HCC samples.
CONCLUSIONS: These results validate our hypotheses and demonstrate that cirrhosis and HCC add-up numerous telomere dysfunctions including numerous cause-specific changes that appear to occur early during the course of the disease.

Jung SW, Park NH, Shin JW, et al.
Prognostic impact of telomere maintenance gene polymorphisms on hepatocellular carcinoma patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatology. 2014; 59(5):1912-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Our goal was to determine whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of telomere maintenance genes influence the development and clinical outcomes of patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated 20 SNPs of five telomere maintenance genes in 702 patients with HCC and 351 hepatitis B virus surface antigen-positive controls without HCC. Significant SNPs were then validated in an independent cohort of 857 HCC patients and 429 controls. We assessed the association of each SNP with the development of HCC and overall survival through a multivariate Cox proportional analysis. A significantly increased risk of HCC development was identified for the telomerase-associated protein 1 (TEP1) rs1713449 SNP in both the discovery and replication phases (combined odds ratio = 1.42, P = 9.378 × 10(-5) ). In addition, the TEP1 rs1713449, TEP1 rs872072, protection of telomeres 1 homolog rs7784168, telomerase reverse transcriptase rs13167280, and telomeric repeat binding factor 1 rs2306494 SNPs had a significant effect on the overall survival, and a similar survival effect was validated in the replication cohort. Moreover, there was a significant dose-dependent association between the number of putatively high-risk genotypes of the five aforementioned SNPs and overall survival. The median survival time was significantly prolonged for patients with HCC with two or fewer putatively high-risk genotypes versus those with three or more high-risk genotypes (85 versus 44 months, log-rank P = 4.483 × 10(-5) ), and this was demonstrated in the replication cohort (52 versus 37 months, log-rank P = 0.026).
CONCLUSION: These observations suggest that the SNPs of telomere maintenance genes play a potential role in the development of HCC and the survival of HCC patients with chronic HBV infections.

Micco M, Collie GW, Dale AG, et al.
Structure-based design and evaluation of naphthalene diimide G-quadruplex ligands as telomere targeting agents in pancreatic cancer cells.
J Med Chem. 2013; 56(7):2959-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tetra-substituted naphthalene diimide (ND) derivatives with positively charged termini are potent stabilizers of human telomeric and gene promoter DNA quadruplexes and inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The present study reports the enhancement of the pharmacological properties of earlier ND compounds using structure-based design. Crystal structures of three complexes with human telomeric intramolecular quadruplexes demonstrate that two of the four strongly basic N-methyl-piperazine groups can be replaced by less basic morpholine groups with no loss of intermolecular interactions in the grooves of the quadruplex. The new compounds retain high affinity to human telomeric quadruplex DNA but are 10-fold more potent against the MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cell line, with IC50 values of ~10 nM. The lead compound induces cellular senescence but does not inhibit telomerase activity at the nanomolar dosage levels required for inhibition of cellular proliferation. Gene array qPCR analysis of MIA PaCa-2 cells treated with the lead compound revealed significant dose-dependent modulation of a distinct subset of genes, including strong induction of DNA damage responsive genes CDKN1A, DDIT3, GADD45A/G, and PPM1D, and repression of genes involved in telomere maintenance, including hPOT1 and PARP1.

Ramsay AJ, Quesada V, Foronda M, et al.
POT1 mutations cause telomere dysfunction in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Nat Genet. 2013; 45(5):526-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most frequent leukemia in adults. We have analyzed exome sequencing data from 127 individuals with CLL and Sanger sequencing data from 214 additional affected individuals, identifying recurrent somatic mutations in POT1 (encoding protection of telomeres 1) in 3.5% of the cases, with the frequency reaching 9% when only individuals without IGHV@ mutations were considered. POT1 encodes a component of the shelterin complex and is the first member of this telomeric structure found to be mutated in human cancer. Somatic mutation of POT1 primarily occurs in gene regions encoding the two oligonucleotide-/oligosaccharide-binding (OB) folds and affects key residues required to bind telomeric DNA. POT1-mutated CLL cells have numerous telomeric and chromosomal abnormalities that suggest that POT1 mutations favor the acquisition of the malignant features of CLL cells. The identification of POT1 as a new frequently mutated gene in CLL may facilitate novel approaches for the clinical management of this disease.

Butler KS, Hines WC, Heaphy CM, Griffith JK
Coordinate regulation between expression levels of telomere-binding proteins and telomere length in breast carcinomas.
Cancer Med. 2012; 1(2):165-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomere dysregulation occurs in both the in situ and invasive stages of many carcinomas, including breast. Knockout experiments have identified several telomere-associated proteins required for proper telomere function and maintenance, including telomere repeat-binding factor 1 and 2 (TRF1 and TRF2), protection of telomeres (POT1), and TRF1-interacting nuclear factor 2 (TIN2). Using telomere content assays and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we examined the relationship between telomere length and the mRNA levels of telomere-associated proteins in breast tumors. The levels of TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 mRNA, but not telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) RNA, are inversely correlated with telomere content in breast tumors. Significant associations were identified between the mRNA levels of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1; however, there were no significant associations with the mRNA levels of TRF2 or TERT. These associations suggest that a complex transcriptional program coordinately regulates the expression of these mRNAs. We examined the promoter regions of the telomere-associated proteins to identify transcription factors consistent with the observed patterns of presumed coordinate expression. We demonstrated in human breast cancer cell lines that expressions of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by dexamethasone, suggesting activation of the glucocorticoid receptor, whereas TERT, TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), suggesting activation of the nuclear factor kappa B transcription factor. These findings link telomere content in breast tumors to the coordinate expression of several telomere-associated proteins previously shown to be negative regulators of telomere length in cell lines. The results further suggest a possible link between the expressions of the telomere-associated proteins and mediators of stress and inflammation.Telomere content assays and quantitative RT-PCR demonstrate that the levels of TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 mRNA, but not telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) RNA, are inversely correlated with telomere content in breast tumors. Within human breast cancer cell lines, expressions of TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by dexamethasone, suggesting activation of the glucocorticoid receptor, whereas TERT, TRF2, TRF1, TIN2, and POT1 are upregulated by TNF-α, suggesting activation of the NFκB transcription factor. These findings link telomere content in breast tumors to the expression of several telomere-associated proteins previously shown to be negative regulators of telomere length in cell lines and suggest a link between the expressions of the telomere-associated proteins and mediators of stress and inflammation.

Liu F, Pu XY, Huang SG, et al.
Expression of hPOT1 in HeLa cells and the probability of gene variation of hpot1 Exon14 in endometrial cancer are much higher than in other cancers.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012; 13(11):5659-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
To investigate the expression of hPOT1 in the HeLa cell line and screen point mutations of hpot1 in different tumor tissues a two step osmotic method was used to extract nuclear proteins. EMSA was performed to determine the expression of hPOT1 in the HeLa cell line. PCR was also employed to amplify the exon14 sequence of the hpot1 gene in various of cancer tissues. A SV gel and PCR clean-up system was performed to enrich PCR products. DNAStar was used to analyse the exon14 sequence of the hpot1 gene. hPOT1 was expressed in the HeLa cell line and the signal was gradually enhanced as the amount of extracted nuclear proteins increased. The DNA fragment of exon14 of hpot1 was successfully amplified in the HeLa cell line and all cancer tissues, point mutations being observed in 2 out of 3 cases of endometrial cancer (66.7%) despite the hpot1 sequence being highly conserved. However, the sequence of hpot1 exon14 do not demonstrate point mutations in most cancer tissues. Since hPOT1 was expressed in HeLa cell and the probability of gene point variants was obviously higher in endometrial cancer than other cancers, it may be involved in the pathogenesis of gynecological cancers, especially in cervix and endometrium.

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