Gene Summary

Gene:PRKCA; protein kinase C alpha
Aliases: AAG6, PKCA, PRKACA, PKC-alpha
Summary:Protein kinase C (PKC) is a family of serine- and threonine-specific protein kinases that can be activated by calcium and the second messenger diacylglycerol. PKC family members phosphorylate a wide variety of protein targets and are known to be involved in diverse cellular signaling pathways. PKC family members also serve as major receptors for phorbol esters, a class of tumor promoters. Each member of the PKC family has a specific expression profile and is believed to play a distinct role in cells. The protein encoded by this gene is one of the PKC family members. This kinase has been reported to play roles in many different cellular processes, such as cell adhesion, cell transformation, cell cycle checkpoint, and cell volume control. Knockout studies in mice suggest that this kinase may be a fundamental regulator of cardiac contractility and Ca(2+) handling in myocytes. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein kinase C alpha type
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 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 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: PRKCA (cancer-related)

Wang Y
Identifying key stage-specific genes and transcription factors for gastric cancer based on RNA-sequencing data.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2017; 96(4):e5691 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To identify gastric cancer (GC)-associated genes and transcription factors (TFs) using RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data of Asians.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The RNA-seq data (GSE36968) were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus database, including 6 noncancerous gastric tissue samples, 5 stage I GC samples, 5 stage II GC samples, 8 stage III GC samples, and 6 stage IV GC samples. The gene expression values in each sample were calculated using Cuffdiff. Following, stage-specific genes were identified by 1-way analysis of variance and hierarchical clustering analysis. Upstream TFs were identified using Seqpos. Besides, functional enrichment analysis of stage-specific genes was performed by DAVID. In addition, the underlying protein-protein interactions (PPIs) information among stage IV-specific genes were extracted from STRING database and PPI network was constructed using Cytoscape software.
RESULTS: A total of 3576 stage-specific genes were identified, including 813 specifically up-regulated genes in the normal gastric tissues, 2224 stage I and II-specific genes, and 539 stage IV-specific genes. Also, a total of 9 and 11 up-regulated TFs were identified for the stage I and II-specific genes and stage IV-specific genes, respectively. Functional enrichment showed SPARC, MMP17, and COL6A3 were related to extracellular matrix. Notably, 2 regulatory pathways HOXA4-GLI3-RUNX2-FGF2 and HMGA2-PRKCA were obtained from the PPI network for stage IV-specific genes. In the PPI network, TFs HOXA4 and HMGA2 might function via mediating other genes.
CONCLUSION: These stage-specific genes and TFs might act in the pathogenesis of GC in Asians.

Nanba K, Omata K, Tomlins SA, et al.
Double adrenocortical adenomas harboring independent KCNJ5 and PRKACA somatic mutations.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 175(2):K1-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Co-secretion of cortisol and aldosterone can be observed in adrenal adenomas. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular characteristics of a co-existing aldosterone- and a cortisol-producing adenoma (CPA) in the same patient.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Two different adenomas within the same adrenal gland from a 49-year-old female patient with primary aldosteronism (PA) and Cushing's syndrome (CS) were studied. Multiple formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor blocks were used for the analysis. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed using a specific antibody against aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2). DNA and RNA were isolated separately from CYP11B2-positive and -negative tumor regions based on CYP11B2 IHC results.
RESULTS: CYP11B2 IHC clearly demonstrated that three pieces from one adenoma were positive for CYP11B2 and the remaining three from the other adenoma were negative for CYP11B2. In quantitative real-time RT-PCR, CYP11B2 mRNA was upregulated in CYP11B2-positive tumor specimens (219-fold vs CYP11B2-negative tumor specimens). Targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) detected novel KCNJ5 gene mutations (p.T148I/T149S, present in the same reads) and a PRKACA gene hotspot mutation (p.L206R) in the CYP11B2-positive and -negative tumors, respectively. Sanger sequencing of DNA from each tumor specimen (CYP11B2-positive tumor, n=3; CYP11B2-negative tumor, n=3) showed concordant results with targeted NGS.
CONCLUSION: Our findings illustrate the co-existence of two different adrenocortical adenomas causing the concurrent diagnosis of PA and CS in the same patient. Molecular analysis was able to demonstrate that the two diseases resulted from independent somatic mutations seen in double adrenocortical adenomas.

Riwaldt S, Bauer J, Wehland M, et al.
Pathways Regulating Spheroid Formation of Human Follicular Thyroid Cancer Cells under Simulated Microgravity Conditions: A Genetic Approach.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(4):528 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
Microgravity induces three-dimensional (3D) growth in numerous cell types. Despite substantial efforts to clarify the underlying mechanisms for spheroid formation, the precise molecular pathways are still not known. The principal aim of this paper is to compare static 1g-control cells with spheroid forming (MCS) and spheroid non-forming (AD) thyroid cancer cells cultured in the same flask under simulated microgravity conditions. We investigated the morphology and gene expression patterns in human follicular thyroid cancer cells (UCLA RO82-W-1 cell line) after a 24 h-exposure on the Random Positioning Machine (RPM) and focused on 3D growth signaling processes. After 24 h, spheroid formation was observed in RPM-cultures together with alterations in the F-actin cytoskeleton. qPCR indicated more changes in gene expression in MCS than in AD cells. Of the 24 genes analyzed VEGFA, VEGFD, MSN, and MMP3 were upregulated in MCS compared to 1g-controls, whereas ACTB, ACTA2, KRT8, TUBB, EZR, RDX, PRKCA, CAV1, MMP9, PAI1, CTGF, MCP1 were downregulated. A pathway analysis revealed that the upregulated genes code for proteins, which promote 3D growth (angiogenesis) and prevent excessive accumulation of extracellular proteins, while genes coding for structural proteins are downregulated. Pathways regulating the strength/rigidity of cytoskeletal proteins, the amount of extracellular proteins, and 3D growth may be involved in MCS formation.

Hackler L, Ózsvári B, Gyuris M, et al.
The Curcumin Analog C-150, Influencing NF-κB, UPR and Akt/Notch Pathways Has Potent Anticancer Activity In Vitro and In Vivo.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0149832 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
C-150 a Mannich-type curcumin derivative, exhibited pronounced cytotoxic effects against eight glioma cell lines at micromolar concentrations. Inhibition of cell proliferation by C-150 was mediated by affecting multiple targets as confirmed at transcription and protein level. C-150 effectively reduced the transcription activation of NFkB, inhibited PKC-alpha which are constitutively over-expressed in glioblastoma. The effects of C-150 on the Akt/ Notch signaling were also demonstrated in a Drosophila tumorigenesis model. C-150 reduced the number of tumors in Drosophila with similar efficacy to mitoxantrone. In an in vivo orthotopic glioma model, C-150 significantly increased the median survival of treated nude rats compared to control animals. The multi-target action of C-150, and its preliminary in vivo efficacy would render this curcumin analogue as a potent clinical candidate against glioblastoma.

Nakajima Y, Okamura T, Horiguchi K, et al.
GNAS mutations in adrenal aldosterone-producing adenomas.
Endocr J. 2016; 63(2):199-204 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in GNAS, which encodes Gsα, have been documented in detail, particularly in human pituitary GH-secreting adenomas. Mutations have also recently been reported in adrenal cortisol-producing adenomas (CPAs), in addition to those in the PRKACA gene. However, mutations have not yet been examined in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs). Therefore, we herein investigated mutations in the GNAS gene in APAs. Two of the 15 (13%) CPAs with overt Cushing's syndrome and one of the 9 (11%) CPAs with subclinical Cushing's syndrome examined had the somatic mutations, p.R201S and p.R201C in the GNAS gene. We identified mutations in the GNAS gene (p.R201C) in 2 out of the 33 (6%) APAs tested, both of which showed autonomous cortisol secretion, while 24 APAs had mutations in the KCNJ5 gene (18 with p.G151R and 6 with p.L168R). These GNAS and KCNJ5 mutations were mutually exclusive in these adenomas. We herein demonstrated for the first time the presence of GNAS mutations in APAs, as well as in some cortisol-secreting adenomas. Our results suggest that these mutations, in addition to mutations in the KCNJ5 gene and other genes such as ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D, may be responsible for the tumorigenesis of APAs and CPAs with subclinical Cushing's syndrome.

Faillot S, Assie G
ENDOCRINE TUMOURS: The genomics of adrenocortical tumors.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 174(6):R249-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
The last decade witnessed the emergence of genomics, a set of high-throughput molecular measurements in biological samples. These pan-genomic and agnostic approaches have revolutionized the molecular biology and genetics of malignant and benign tumors. These techniques have been applied successfully to adrenocortical tumors. Exome sequencing identified new major drivers in all tumor types, including KCNJ5, ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D mutations in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA), PRKACA mutations in cortisol-producing adenomas (CPA), ARMC5 mutations in primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (PBMAH) and ZNRF3 mutations in adrenocortical carcinomas (ACC). Moreover, the various genomic approaches - including exome sequencing, transcriptome, miRNome, genome and methylome - converge into a single molecular classification of adrenocortical tumors. Especially for ACC, two main molecular groups have emerged, showing major differences in outcomes. These ACC groups differ by their gene expression profiles, but also by recurrent mutations and specific DNA hypermethylation patterns in the subgroup of poor outcome. The clinical impact of these findings is just starting. The main altered signaling pathways now become therapeutic targets. The molecular groups of diseases individualize robust subtypes within diseases such as APA, CPA, PBMAH and ACC. A revised nosology of adrenocortical tumors should impact the clinical research. Obvious consequences also include genetic counseling for the new genetic diseases such as ARMC5 mutations in PBMAH, and a better prognostication of ACC based on targeted measurements of a few discriminant molecular alterations. Identifying the main molecular groups of adrenocortical tumors by extensively gathering the molecular variations is a significant step forward towards precision medicine.

Kim JM, Noh EM, Kim HR, et al.
Suppression of TPA-induced cancer cell invasion by Peucedanum japonicum Thunb. extract through the inhibition of PKCα/NF-κB-dependent MMP-9 expression in MCF-7 cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 37(1):108-14 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
Metastatic cancers spread from their site of origin (the primary site) to other parts of the body. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which degrades the extracellular matrix, is important in metastatic cancers as it plays a major role in cancer cell invasion. The present study examined the inhibitory effect of an ethanol extract of Peucedanum japonicum Thunb. (PJT) on MMP-9 expression and the invasion of MCF-7 breast cancer cells induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Western blot analysis, gelatin zymography, and reverse transcription-quantitative PCR revealed that PJT significantly suppressed MMP-9 expression and activation in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, PJT attenuated TPA-induced nuclear translocation and the transcriptional activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB. The results indicated that the PJT-mediated inhibition of TPA-induced MMP-9 expression and cell invasion involved the suppression of the PKCα/NF-κB pathway in MCF-7 cells. Thus, the inhibition of MMP-9 expression by PJT may have potential value as a therapy for restricting the invasiveness of breast cancer.

Ronchi CL, Peverelli E, Herterich S, et al.
Landscape of somatic mutations in sporadic GH-secreting pituitary adenomas.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 174(3):363-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Alterations in the cAMP signaling pathway are common in hormonally active endocrine tumors. Somatic mutations at GNAS are causative in 30-40% of GH-secreting adenomas. Recently, mutations affecting the USP8 and PRKACA gene have been reported in ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas and cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenomas respectively. However, the pathogenesis of many GH-secreting adenomas remains unclear.
AIM: Comprehensive genetic characterization of sporadic GH-secreting adenomas and identification of new driver mutations.
DESIGN: Screening for somatic mutations was performed in 67 GH-secreting adenomas by targeted sequencing for GNAS, PRKACA, and USP8 mutations (n=31) and next-generation exome sequencing (n=36).
RESULTS: By targeted sequencing, known activating mutations in GNAS were detected in five cases (16.1%), while no somatic mutations were observed in both PRKACA and USP8. Whole-exome sequencing identified 132 protein-altering somatic mutations in 31/36 tumors with a median of three mutations per sample (range: 1-13). The only recurrent mutations have been observed in GNAS (31.4% of cases). However, seven genes involved in cAMP signaling pathway were affected in 14 of 36 samples and eight samples harbored variants in genes involved in the calcium signaling or metabolism. At the enrichment analysis, several altered genes resulted to be associated with developmental processes. No significant correlation between genetic alterations and the clinical data was observed.
CONCLUSION: This study provides a comprehensive analysis of somatic mutations in a large series of GH-secreting adenomas. No novel recurrent genetic alterations have been observed, but the data suggest that beside cAMP pathway, calcium signaling might be involved in the pathogenesis of these tumors.

Riwaldt S, Bauer J, Pietsch J, et al.
The Importance of Caveolin-1 as Key-Regulator of Three-Dimensional Growth in Thyroid Cancer Cells Cultured under Real and Simulated Microgravity Conditions.
Int J Mol Sci. 2015; 16(12):28296-310 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
We recently demonstrated that the CAV1 gene was down-regulated, when poorly differentiated thyroid FTC-133 cancer cells formed spheroids under simulated microgravity conditions. Here, we present evidence that the caveolin-1 protein is involved in the inhibition of spheroid formation, when confluent monolayers are exposed to microgravity. The evidence is based on proteins detected in cells and their supernatants of the recent spaceflight experiment: "NanoRacks-CellBox-Thyroid Cancer". The culture supernatant had been collected in a special container adjacent to the flight hardware incubation chamber and stored at low temperature until it was analyzed by Multi-Analyte Profiling (MAP) technology, while the cells remaining in the incubation chamber were fixed by RNAlater and examined by mass spectrometry. The soluble proteins identified by MAP were investigated in regard to their mutual interactions and their influence on proteins, which were associated with the cells secreting the soluble proteins and had been identified in a preceding study. A Pathway Studio v.11 analysis of the soluble and cell-associated proteins together with protein kinase C alpha (PRKCA) suggests that caveolin-1 is involved, when plasminogen enriched in the extracellular space is not activated and the vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) mediated cell-cell adhesion is simultaneously strengthened and activated PRKCA is recruited in caveolae, while the thyroid cancer cells do not form spheroids.

Simon EP, Freije CA, Farber BA, et al.
Transcriptomic characterization of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(44):E5916-25 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLHCC) tumors all carry a deletion of ∼ 400 kb in chromosome 19, resulting in a fusion of the genes for the heat shock protein, DNAJ (Hsp40) homolog, subfamily B, member 1, DNAJB1, and the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A, PRKACA. The resulting chimeric transcript produces a fusion protein that retains kinase activity. No other recurrent genomic alterations have been identified. Here we characterize the molecular pathogenesis of FLHCC with transcriptome sequencing (RNA sequencing). Differential expression (tumor vs. adjacent normal tissue) was detected for more than 3,500 genes (log2 fold change ≥ 1, false discovery rate ≤ 0.01), many of which were distinct from those found in hepatocellular carcinoma. Expression of several known oncogenes, such as ErbB2 and Aurora Kinase A, was increased in tumor samples. These and other dysregulated genes may serve as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

Oikawa T, Wauthier E, Dinh TA, et al.
Model of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinomas reveals striking enrichment in cancer stem cells.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:8070 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
The aetiology of human fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinomas (hFL-HCCs), cancers occurring increasingly in children to young adults, is poorly understood. We present a transplantable tumour line, maintained in immune-compromised mice, and validate it as a bona fide model of hFL-HCCs by multiple methods. RNA-seq analysis confirms the presence of a fusion transcript (DNAJB1-PRKACA) characteristic of hFL-HCC tumours. The hFL-HCC tumour line is highly enriched for cancer stem cells as indicated by limited dilution tumourigenicity assays, spheroid formation and flow cytometry. Immunohistochemistry on the hFL-HCC model, with parallel studies on 27 primary hFL-HCC tumours, provides robust evidence for expression of endodermal stem cell traits. Transcriptomic analyses of the tumour line and of multiple, normal hepatic lineage stages reveal a gene signature for hFL-HCCs closely resembling that of biliary tree stem cells--newly discovered precursors for liver and pancreas. This model offers unprecedented opportunities to investigate mechanisms underlying hFL-HCCs pathogenesis and potential therapies.

Muscella A, Vetrugno C, Antonaci G, et al.
PKC-δ/PKC-α activity balance regulates the lethal effects of cisplatin.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2015; 98(1):29-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cisplatin is commonly employed in therapy of mesothelioma but its efficacy is limited and the mechanisms by which induces its effects are not clearly understood. PKCs can regulate cisplatin sensitivity. PKCs effects on cellular sensitivity/resistance depend on the pattern of active PKC isozymes as well as on cellular context. The present study was undertaken to determine if specific PKC isoforms regulate cisplatin-induced apoptosis in the human mesothelioma ZL55 cells. Cells were treated with cisplatin at various concentrations and for different incubation periods. Cytotoxicity assays and Western blottings of various proteins involved in apoptosis and survival were then performed. Exposure of ZL55 cells to cisplatin at concentrations ranging from 1 to 200 μM resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell survival and the activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Cisplatin activated full-length PKC-δ and generated a PKC-δ fragment. PKC-δ inhibition (by PKC-δ-siRNA) decreased ZL55 cell apoptosis. Full-length PKC-δ translocated to the nucleus and activated caspase-3 expression, whereas PKC-δ fragment preferentially localized to mitochondria. Cisplatin also provoked the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by NADPH oxidase. ROS increment was responsible for the PKC-α activation that provoked EGFR transactivation and consequential phosphorylation of ERK1/2. The inhibition of this pathway at various level (PKC-α, EGFR or ERK1/2) increased cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. The results suggest that PKC-δ is an essential part of the apoptotic program in mesothelioma cells, whereas PKC-α mediates a pro-survival response to cisplatin.

Nagaishi M, Nobusawa S, Matsumura N, et al.
SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion in papillary and rosette-forming glioneuronal tumors.
J Clin Neurosci. 2016; 23:73-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
We investigated the fused protein of solute carrier family 44 choline transporter member 1 (SLC44A1) and protein kinase C alpha (PRKCA) in three patients with papillary glioneuronal tumors (PGNT). PGNT and rosette-forming glioneuronal tumors (RGNT) are recently identified, unusual glioneuronal tumor variants which were categorized as novel tumor entities in the 2007 World Health Organization classification system. The molecular background of these tumors remains poorly understood due to the paucity of studies. The SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion was recently detected in three cases of PGNT. We invesitgated for the SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion protein in the three PGNT patients and a further two with RGNT using fluorescence in situ hybridization. Two out of the three PGNT patients had a fused signal (paired red-green signal) representing a rearrangement on chromosomes 9 and 17. A normal signal pattern was observed in the third PGNT patient. Neither of the two RGNT patients demonstrated a fused signal. This suggests that the SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion is a characteristic alteration in PGNT but not RGNT. Therefore, it is a potential biomarker of PGNT. The paired red-green signal that was observed in the PGNT patients implies the presence of a different breakpoint than that previously reported in the 9q31 and 17q24 genes.

Nakamura H, Arai Y, Totoki Y, et al.
Genomic spectra of biliary tract cancer.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(9):1003-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of biliary tract cancer (BTC), including intrahepatic (ICC) and extrahepatic (ECC) cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder cancer, has increased globally; however, no effective targeted molecular therapies have been approved at the present time. Here we molecularly characterized 260 BTCs and uncovered spectra of genomic alterations that included new potential therapeutic targets. Gradient spectra of mutational signatures with a higher burden of the APOBEC-associated mutation signature were observed in gallbladder cancer and ECC. Thirty-two significantly altered genes, including ELF3, were identified, and nearly 40% of cases harbored targetable genetic alterations. Gene fusions involving FGFR2 and PRKACA or PRKACB preferentially occurred in ICC and ECC, respectively, and the subtype-associated prevalence of actionable growth factor-mediated signals was noteworthy. The subgroup with the poorest prognosis had significant enrichment of hypermutated tumors and a characteristic elevation in the expression of immune checkpoint molecules. Accordingly, immune-modulating therapies might also be potentially promising options for these patients.

Macari F, El-Houfi Y, Boldina G, et al.
TRM6/61 connects PKCα with translational control through tRNAi(Met) stabilization: impact on tumorigenesis.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(14):1785-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating evidence suggests that changes of the protein synthesis machinery alter translation of specific mRNAs and participate in malignant transformation. Here we show that protein kinase C α (PKCα) interacts with TRM61, the catalytic subunit of the TRM6/61 tRNA methyltransferase. The TRM6/61 complex is known to methylate the adenosine 58 of the initiator methionine tRNA (tRNAi(Met)), a nuclear post-transcriptional modification associated with the stabilization of this crucial component of the translation-initiation process. Depletion of TRM6/61 reduced proliferation and increased death of C6 glioma cells, effects that can be partially rescued by overexpression of tRNAi(Met). In contrast, elevated TRM6/61 expression regulated the translation of a subset of mRNAs encoding proteins involved in the tumorigenic process and increased the ability of C6 cells to form colonies in soft agar or spheres when grown in suspension. In TRM6/61/tRNAi(Met)-overexpressing cells, PKCα overexpression decreased tRNAi(Met) expression and both colony- and sphere-forming potentials. A concomitant increase in TRM6/TRM61 mRNA and tRNAi(Met) expression with decreased expression of PKCα mRNA was detected in highly aggressive glioblastoma multiforme as compared with Grade II/III glioblastomas, highlighting the clinical relevance of our findings. Altogether, we suggest that PKCα tightly controls TRM6/61 activity to prevent translation deregulation that would favor neoplastic development.

Martinez-Ledesma E, Verhaak RG, Treviño V
Identification of a multi-cancer gene expression biomarker for cancer clinical outcomes using a network-based algorithm.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:11966 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer types are commonly classified by histopathology and more recently through molecular characteristics such as gene expression, mutations, copy number variations, and epigenetic alterations. These molecular characterizations have led to the proposal of prognostic biomarkers for many cancer types. Nevertheless, most of these biomarkers have been proposed for a specific cancer type or even specific subtypes. Although more challenging, it is useful to identify biomarkers that can be applied for multiple types of cancer. Here, we have used a network-based exploration approach to identify a multi-cancer gene expression biomarker highly connected by ESR1, PRKACA, LRP1, JUN and SMAD2 that can be predictive of clinical outcome in 12 types of cancer from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) repository. The gene signature of this biomarker is highly supported by cancer literature, biological terms, and prognostic power in other cancer types. Additionally, the signature does not seem to be highly associated with specific mutations or copy number alterations. Comparisons with cancer-type specific and other multi-cancer biomarkers in TCGA and other datasets showed that the performance of the proposed multi-cancer biomarker is superior, making the proposed approach and multi-cancer biomarker potentially useful in research and clinical settings.

Calebiro D, Di Dalmazi G, Bathon K, et al.
cAMP signaling in cortisol-producing adrenal adenoma.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2015; 173(4):M99-106 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cAMP signaling pathway is one of the major players in the regulation of growth and hormonal secretion in adrenocortical cells. Although its role in the pathogenesis of adrenocortical hyperplasia associated with Cushing's syndrome has been clarified, a clear involvement of the cAMP signaling pathway and of one of its major downstream effectors, the protein kinase A (PKA), in sporadic adrenocortical adenomas remained elusive until recently. During the last year, a report by our group and three additional independent groups showed that somatic mutations of PRKACA, the gene coding for the catalytic subunit α of PKA, are a common genetic alteration in patients with Cushing's syndrome due to adrenal adenomas, occurring in 35-65% of the patients. In vitro studies revealed that those mutations are able to disrupt the association between catalytic and regulatory subunits of PKA, leading to a cAMP-independent activity of the enzyme. Despite somatic PRKACA mutations being a common finding in patients with clinically manifest Cushing's syndrome, the pathogenesis of adrenocortical adenomas associated with subclinical hypercortisolism seems to rely on a different molecular background. In this review, the role of cAMP/PKA signaling in the regulation of adrenocortical cell function and its alterations in cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenomas will be summarized, with particular focus on recent developments.

Correa R, Salpea P, Stratakis CA
Carney complex: an update.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2015; 173(4):M85-97 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
Carney complex (CNC) is a rare autosomal dominant syndrome, characterized by pigmented lesions of the skin and mucosa, cardiac, cutaneous and other myxomas and multiple endocrine tumors. The disease is caused by inactivating mutations or large deletions of the PRKAR1A gene located at 17q22-24 coding for the regulatory subunit type I alpha of protein kinase A (PKA) gene. Most recently, components of the complex have been associated with defects of other PKA subunits, such as the catalytic subunits PRKACA (adrenal hyperplasia) and PRKACB (pigmented spots, myxomas, pituitary adenomas). In this report, we review CNC, its clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and molecular etiology, including PRKAR1A mutations and the newest on PRKACA and PRKACB defects especially as they pertain to adrenal tumors and Cushing's syndrome.

Walther C, Hofvander J, Nilsson J, et al.
Gene fusion detection in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded benign fibrous histiocytomas using fluorescence in situ hybridization and RNA sequencing.
Lab Invest. 2015; 95(9):1071-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Benign fibrous histiocytomas (FH) can be subdivided into several morphological and clinical subgroups. Recently, gene fusions involving either one of two protein kinase C genes (PRKCB and PRKCD) or the ALK gene were described in FH. We here wanted to evaluate the frequency of PRKCB and PRKCD gene fusions in FH. Using interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on sections from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumors, 36 cases could be analyzed. PRKCB or PRKCD rearrangements were seen in five tumors: 1/7 regular, 0/3 aneurysmal, 0/6 cellular, 2/7 epithelioid, 0/1 atypical, 2/10 deep, and 0/2 metastatic lesions. We also evaluated the status of the ALK gene in selected cases, finding rearrangements in 3/7 epithelioid and 0/1 atypical lesions. To assess the gene fusion status of FH further, deep sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) was performed on FFPE tissue from eight cases with unknown gene fusion status, as well as on two FH and six soft tissue sarcomas with known gene fusions; of the latter eight positive controls, the expected fusion transcript was found in all but one, while 2/8 FH with unknown genetic status showed fusion transcripts, including a novel KIRREL/PRKCA chimera. Thus, also a third member of the PRKC family is involved in FH tumorigenesis. We conclude that gene fusions involving PRKC genes occur in several morphological (regular, cellular, aneurysmal, epithelioid) and clinical (cutaneous, deep) subsets of FH, but they seem to account for only a minority of the cases. In epithelioid lesions, however, rearrangements of PRKC or ALK were seen, as mutually exclusive events, in the majority (5/7) of cases. Finally, the study also shows that RNA-Seq is a promising tool for identifying gene fusions in FFPE tissues.

Fan Z, Duan X, Cai H, et al.
Curcumin inhibits the invasion of lung cancer cells by modulating the PKCα/Nox-2/ROS/ATF-2/MMP-9 signaling pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(2):691-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Invasion and metastasis are the major causes of tumor-related mortality in lung cancer. It is believed that curcumin is an effective drug possessing anti-invasive and anti-metastatic activities in the treatment of cancer. However, the specific mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated whether the PKCα/Nox-2/ATF-2/MMP-9 signaling pathway is involved in the invasive behavior of lung cancer and whether curcumin could inhibit invasion by modulating this pathway. The cytotoxic effect of curcumin was evaluated by MTT assay and the capacity of invasion was assessed by Transwell assay. siRNA and plasmid transfection techniques were used to study the function of targeted genes. Real-time PCR and western blot analysis were used to evaluate the expression levels of PKCα, Nox-2, MMP-9 and the phosphorylation of ATF-2. The results showed that curcumin inhibited the proliferation and invasion of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of MMP-9 enhanced the invasion of A549 cells. However, inhibition of MMP-9 by siRNA or curcumin suppressed cell invasion. Moreover, we also demonstrated the catalytic role of PKCα in expression of MMP-9 and cellular invasion in A549 cells, which was dependent on the expression of Nox-2 and phosphorylation of ATF-2. Finally, we also showed that curcumin dose-dependently reduced the expression of PKCα, P47phox, Nox-2 and phosphorylated ATF-2, as well as intracellular ROS generation, suggesting the inhibitory effect of curcumin on the activation of the PKCα/Nox-2/ROS/ATF-2 pathway. In conclusion, the PKCα/Nox-2/ROS/ATF-2/MMP-9 signaling pathway is activated in lung cancer A549 cells, which could be modulated by curcumin to inhibit cell invasiveness.

Lichner Z, Ding Q, Samaan S, et al.
miRNAs dysregulated in association with Gleason grade regulate extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton and androgen receptor pathways.
J Pathol. 2015; 237(2):226-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Gleason grading system is an important determinant of treatment decisions and prognosis in prostate cancer. It has a number of limitations, including significant inter-observer variability, creating a need for biological parameters to accurately assess the Gleason grade. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular correlates of the different Gleason grades. Global miRNA expression was analysed in pure regions of each Gleason grade. Bioinformatics analysis was performed to predict miRNA-mediated signalling. We experimentally validated the effect of miRNAs on target gene expression and cellular functions using cell line models. We also examined the correlation of miRNAs with biochemical failure, metastasis and prognosis. We identified miRNAs that are differentially expressed between grades 3 and 5, and the top biological processes associated with Gleason grade transition were extracellular matrix (ECM)-mediated signalling, focal adhesion kinase- and mitogen-activated kinase pathways. Transfection with miR-29c, miR-34a and miR-141 repressed genes involved in ECM-mediated pathways, such as SRC, PRKCA, COL1A1, ITGB1 and MAPK13, and decreased cell proliferation and migration. Furthermore, miR-29c and miR-34a influenced downstream pathways that affect actin cytoskeleton organization and androgen receptor localization. Finally, miR-29c, miR-34a, miR-141 and miR-148a showed inverse correlations with biochemical recurrence, but were independent of other clinical parameters. Our results demonstrate the potential role of miRNAs as independent prognostic markers and pave the road for a biological-based reclassification of the Gleason grading system.

Yue CH, Huang CY, Tsai JH, et al.
MZF-1/Elk-1 Complex Binds to Protein Kinase Cα Promoter and Is Involved in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(5):e0127420 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
In this study, the molecular mechanism of protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) gene regulation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) involving Ets-like protein-1 (Elk-1) and myeloid zinc finger-1 (MZF-1) was investigated. The luciferase reporter assay results revealed that the presence of both MZF-1 and Elk-1 significantly contributed to the upregulation of PKCα gene transcription activity, and the transcriptional activity decreased when the transfection included a DNA-binding-deficient (∆DBD) gene vector of either MZF-1 or Elk-1 DNA-binding deficiency (MZF-1∆DBD or Elk-1∆DBD), thereby indicating that the enhanced expression of PKCα was caused by the binding of MZF-1 and/or Elk-1 with the PKCα promoter. We investigated MZF-1 and Elk-1 to determine whether they bind to each other. The results of immunoprecipitation (IP), Co-IP, chromatin IP (ChIP), and Re-ChIP analyses indicated that Elk-1 can directly bind to the N-terminal region of MZF-1 and MZF-1 can directly bind to the C-terminal region of Elk-1 to form a complex before attaching to the PKCα promoter. Furthermore, when MZF-1∆DBD or Elk-1∆DBD was added to the cells, PKCα expression decreased, and cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and tumorigenicity also decreased. These findings suggest that PKCα expression in HCC could be stimulated by the formation of MZF-1/Elk-1 complex, which directly binds to the PKCα promoter.

Vaškovičová K, Szabadosová E, Čermák V, et al.
PKCα promotes the mesenchymal to amoeboid transition and increases cancer cell invasiveness.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:326 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The local invasion of tumor cells into the surrounding tissue is the first and most critical step of the metastatic cascade. Cells can invade either collectively, or individually. Individual cancer cell invasion can occur in the mesenchymal or amoeboid mode, which are mutually interchangeable. This plasticity of individual cancer cell invasiveness may represent an escape mechanism for invading cancer cells from anti-metastatic treatment.
METHODS: To identify new signaling proteins involved in the plasticity of cancer cell invasiveness, we performed proteomic analysis of the amoeboid to mesenchymal transition with A375m2 melanoma cells in a 3D Matrigel matrix.
RESULTS: In this screen we identified PKCα as an important protein for the maintenance of amoeboid morphology. We found that the activation of PKCα resulted in the mesenchymal-amoeboid transition of mesenchymal K2 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Consistently, PKCα inhibition led to the amoeboid-mesenchymal transition of amoeboid A375m2 cells. Next, we showed that PKCα inhibition resulted in a considerable decrease in the invading abilities of all analyzed cancer cell lines.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that PKCα is an important protein for maintenance of the amoeboid morphology of cancer cells, and that downregulation of PKCα results in the amoeboid to mesenchymal transition. Our data also suggest that PKCα is important for both mesenchymal and amoeboid invasiveness, making it an attractive target for anti-metastatic therapies.

Talukder AK, Ravishankar S, Sasmal K, et al.
XomAnnotate: Analysis of Heterogeneous and Complex Exome- A Step towards Translational Medicine.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0123569 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
In translational cancer medicine, implicated pathways and the relevant master genes are of focus. Exome's specificity, processing-time, and cost advantage makes it a compelling tool for this purpose. However, analysis of exome lacks reliable combinatory analysis tools and techniques. In this paper we present XomAnnotate--a meta- and functional-analysis software for exome. We compared UnifiedGenotyper, Freebayes, Delly, and Lumpy algorithms that were designed for whole-genome and combined their strengths in XomAnnotate for exome data through meta-analysis to identify comprehensive mutation profile (SNPs/SNVs, short inserts/deletes, and SVs) of patients. The mutation profile is annotated followed by functional analysis through pathway enrichment and network analysis to identify most critical genes and pathways implicated in the disease genesis. The efficacy of the software is verified through MDS and clustering and tested with available 11 familial non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer exome data. The results showed that the most significantly affected pathways across all samples are cell communication and antigen processing and presentation. ESCO1, HYAL1, RAF1 and PRKCA emerged as the key genes. Network analysis further showed the purine and propanotate metabolism pathways along with RAF1 and PRKCA genes to be master regulators in these patients. Therefore, XomAnnotate is able to use exome data to identify entire mutation landscape, pathways, and the master genes accurately with wide concordance from earlier microarray and whole-genome studies--making it a suitable biomedical software for using exome in next-generation translational medicine.

Zilbermint M, Stratakis CA
Protein kinase A defects and cortisol-producing adrenal tumors.
Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2015; 22(3):157-62 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cushing syndrome caused by cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas is a rare condition, associated with high morbidity due to weight gain, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, hypertension, muscle weakness, mood disturbance and others. The first gene to be identified as causative of Cushing syndrome was PRKAR1A. We present an update on protein kinase A (PKA) defects and Cushing syndrome.
RECENT FINDINGS: The cyclic AMP-dependent PKA catalytic subunit alpha (PRKACA) hotspot point mutation (c.617A > C [p.Leu206Arg]), leading to an increase of basal PKA activity, and formation of cortisol-producing adenoma has been frequently shown to cause the most common form of adrenocorticotropic hormone-independent Cushing syndrome.
SUMMARY: Somatic PRKACA mutations have been found in up to 50% of patients with adrenal adenomas. Germline PRKACA amplification was also seen in bilateral adrenal hyperplasias. PRKACA activation was associated with higher cortisol levels, smaller tumor size and overt Cushing syndrome. This breakthrough is expected to improve our understanding of how PKA defects lead to Cushing syndrome and may spearhead the development of new, molecularly designed therapies.

Viedma-Rodríguez R, Ruiz Esparza-Garrido R, Baiza-Gutman LA, et al.
Involvement of multiple cellular pathways in regulating resistance to tamoxifen in BIK-suppressed MCF-7 cells.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(9):6991-7005 [PubMed] Related Publications
Majority of women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers initially respond to hormone therapies such as tamoxifen (TAM; antagonist of estrogen). However, many tumors eventually become resistant to TAM. Therefore, understanding the various cellular components involved in causing resistance to TAM is of paramount importance in designing novel entities for efficacious hormone therapy. Previously, we found that suppression of BIK gene expression induced TAM resistance in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. In order to understand the response of these cells to TAM and its association with resistance, a microarray analysis of gene expression was performed in the BIK-suppressed MCF-7 cells and compared it to the TAM-only-treated cells (controls). Several genes participating in various cellular pathways were identified. Molecules identified in the drug resistance pathway were 14-3-3z or YWHAZ, WEE1, PRKACA, NADK, and HSP90AA 1. Further, genes involved in cell cycle control, apoptosis, and cell proliferation were also found differentially expressed in these cells. Transcriptional and translational analysis of key molecules such as STAT2, AKT 3, and 14-3-3z revealed similar changes at the messenger RNA (mRNA) as well as at the protein level. Importantly, there was no cytotoxic effect of TAM on BIK-suppressed MCF-7 cells. Further, these cells were not arrested at the G0-G1 phase of the cell cycle although 30 % of BIK-suppressed cells were arrested at the G2 phase of the cycle on TAM treatment. Furthermore, we found a relevant interaction between 14-3-3z and WEE1, suggesting that the cytotoxic effect of TAM was prevented in BIK-suppressed cells because this interaction leads to transitory arrest in the G2 phase leading to the repair of damaged DNA and allowing the cells to proliferate.

Cornella H, Alsinet C, Sayols S, et al.
Unique genomic profile of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.
Gastroenterology. 2015; 148(4):806-18.e10 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLC) is a rare primary hepatic cancer that develops in children and young adults without cirrhosis. Little is known about its pathogenesis, and it can be treated only with surgery. We performed an integrative genomic analysis of a large series of patients with FLC to identify associated genetic factors.
METHODS: By using 78 clinically annotated FLC samples, we performed whole-transcriptome (n = 58), single-nucleotide polymorphism array (n = 41), and next-generation sequencing (n = 48) analyses; we also assessed the prevalence of the DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript associated with this cancer (n = 73). We performed class discovery using non-negative matrix factorization, and functional annotation using gene-set enrichment analyses, nearest template prediction, ingenuity pathway analyses, and immunohistochemistry. The genomic identification of significant targets in a cancer algorithm was used to identify chromosomal aberrations, MuTect and VarScan2 were used to identify somatic mutations, and the random survival forest was used to determine patient prognoses. Findings were validated in an independent cohort.
RESULTS: Unsupervised gene expression clustering showed 3 robust molecular classes of tumors: the proliferation class (51% of samples) had altered expression of genes that regulate proliferation and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling activation; the inflammation class (26% of samples) had altered expression of genes that regulate inflammation and cytokine enriched production; and the unannotated class (23% of samples) had a gene expression signature that was not associated previously with liver tumors. Expression of genes that regulate neuroendocrine function, as well as histologic markers of cholangiocytes and hepatocytes, were detected in all 3 classes. FLCs had few copy number variations; the most frequent were focal amplification at 8q24.3 (in 12.5% of samples), and deletions at 19p13 (in 28% of samples) and 22q13.32 (in 25% of samples). The DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript was detected in 79% of samples. FLC samples also contained mutations in cancer-related genes such as BRCA2 (in 4.2% of samples), which are uncommon in liver neoplasms. However, FLCs did not contain mutations most commonly detected in liver cancers. We identified an 8-gene signature that predicted survival of patients with FLC.
CONCLUSIONS: In a genomic analysis of 78 FLC samples, we identified 3 classes based on gene expression profiles. FLCs contain mutations and chromosomal aberrations not previously associated with liver cancer, and almost 80% contain the DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript. By using this information, we identified a gene signature that is associated with patient survival time.

Duan K, Gomez Hernandez K, Mete O
Clinicopathological correlates of adrenal Cushing's syndrome.
J Clin Pathol. 2015; 68(3):175-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endogenous Cushing's syndrome is a rare endocrine disorder that incurs significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, due to glucocorticoid excess. It comprises adrenal (20%) and non-adrenal (80%) aetiologies. While the majority of cases are attributed to pituitary or ectopic corticotropin (ACTH) overproduction, primary cortisol-producing adrenal cortical lesions are increasingly recognised in the pathophysiology of Cushing's syndrome. Our understanding of this disease has progressed substantially over the past decade. Recently, important mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of adrenal hypercortisolism have been elucidated with the discovery of mutations in cyclic AMP signalling (PRKACA, PRKAR1A, GNAS, PDE11A, PDE8B), armadillo repeat containing 5 gene (ARMC5) a putative tumour suppressor gene, aberrant G-protein-coupled receptors, and intra-adrenal secretion of ACTH. Accurate subtyping of Cushing's syndrome is crucial for treatment decision-making and requires a complete integration of clinical, biochemical, imaging and pathology findings. Pathological correlates in the adrenal glands include hyperplasia, adenoma and carcinoma. While the most common presentation is diffuse adrenocortical hyperplasia secondary to excess ACTH production, this entity is usually treated with pituitary or ectopic tumour resection. Therefore, when confronted with adrenalectomy specimens in the setting of Cushing's syndrome, surgical pathologists are most commonly exposed to adrenocortical adenomas, carcinomas and primary macronodular or micronodular hyperplasia. This review provides an update on the rapidly evolving knowledge of adrenal Cushing's syndrome and discusses the clinicopathological correlations of this important disease.

Larkin SJ, Ferraù F, Karavitaki N, et al.
Sequence analysis of the catalytic subunit of PKA in somatotroph adenomas.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2014; 171(6):705-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The pathogenetic mechanisms of sporadic somatotroph adenomas are not well understood, but derangements of the cAMP pathway have been implicated. Recent studies have identified L206R mutations in the alpha catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PRKACA) in cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenomas and amplification of the beta catalytic subunit of protein kinase A PRKACB in acromegaly associated with Carney complex. Given that both adrenocortical adenomas and somatotroph adenomas are known to be reliant on the cAMP signalling pathway, we sought to determine the relevance of the L206R mutation in both PRKACA and PRKACB for the pathogenesis of sporadic somatotroph adenomas.
DESIGN: Somatotroph adenoma specimens, both frozen and formalin-fixed, from patients who underwent surgery for their acromegaly between 1995 and 2012, were used in the study.
METHODS: The DNA sequence at codon 206 of PRKACA and PRKACB was determined by PCR amplification and sequencing. The results were compared with patient characteristics, the mutational status of the GNAS complex locus and the tumour granulation pattern.
RESULTS: No mutations at codon 206 of PRKACA or PRKACB were found in a total of 92 specimens, comprising both WT and mutant GNAS cases, and densely, sparsely and mixed granulation patterns.
CONCLUSIONS: It is unlikely that mutation at this locus is involved in the pathogenesis of sporadic somatotroph adenoma; however, gene amplification or mutations at other loci or in other components of the cAMP signalling pathway, while unlikely, cannot be ruled out.

Xu L, Hazard FK, Zmoos AF, et al.
Genomic analysis of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hum Mol Genet. 2015; 24(1):50-63 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
Pediatric tumors are relatively infrequent, but are often associated with significant lethality and lifelong morbidity. A major goal of pediatric cancer research has been to identify key drivers of tumorigenesis to eventually develop targeted therapies to enhance cure rate and minimize acute and long-term toxic effects. Here, we used genomic approaches to identify biomarkers and candidate drivers for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FL-HCC), a very rare subtype of pediatric liver cancer for which limited therapeutic options exist. In-depth genomic analyses of one tumor followed by immunohistochemistry validation on seven other tumors showed expression of neuroendocrine markers in FL-HCC. DNA and RNA sequencing data further showed that common cancer pathways are not visibly altered in FL-HCC but identified two novel structural variants, both resulting in fusion transcripts. The first, a 400 kb deletion, results in a DNAJB1-PRKCA fusion transcript, which leads to increased cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) activity in the index tumor case and other FL-HCC cases compared with normal liver. This PKA fusion protein is oncogenic in HCC cells. The second gene fusion event, a translocation between the CLPTM1L and GLIS3 genes, generates a transcript whose product also promotes cancer phenotypes in HCC cell lines. These experiments further highlight the tumorigenic role of gene fusions in the etiology of pediatric solid tumors and identify both candidate biomarkers and possible therapeutic targets for this lethal pediatric disease.

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