Gene Summary

Gene:RAG1; recombination activating 1
Aliases: RAG-1, RNF74
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is involved in activation of immunoglobulin V-D-J recombination. The encoded protein is involved in recognition of the DNA substrate, but stable binding and cleavage activity also requires RAG2. Defects in this gene can be the cause of several diseases. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:V(D)J recombination-activating protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 09 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (23)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 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.

  • DNA
  • DNA Repair
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Genetic Recombination
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Transfection
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Leukaemia
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Adolescents
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Flow Cytometry
  • T-Cell Leukemia
  • Alleles
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Recombinases
  • Breast Cancer
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • T-Cell Lymphoma
  • Chromosome 11
  • Knockout Mice
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Cell Differentiation
  • B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Risk Factors
  • Base Sequence
  • Genes, RAG-1
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Translocation
Tag cloud generated 09 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: RAG1 (cancer-related)

Malcolm TI, Villarese P, Fairbairn CJ, et al.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma arises in thymocytes and requires transient TCR expression for thymic egress.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10087 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a peripheral T-cell lymphoma presenting mostly in children and young adults. The natural progression of this disease is largely unknown as is the identity of its true cell of origin. Here we present a model of peripheral ALCL pathogenesis where the malignancy is initiated in early thymocytes, before T-cell receptor (TCR) β-rearrangement, which is bypassed in CD4/NPM-ALK transgenic mice following Notch1 expression. However, we find that a TCR is required for thymic egress and development of peripheral murine tumours, yet this TCR must be downregulated for T-cell lymphomagenesis. In keeping with this, clonal TCR rearrangements in human ALCL are predominantly in-frame, but often aberrant, with clonal TCRα but no comparable clonal TCRβ rearrangement, yielding events that would not normally be permissive for survival during thymic development. Children affected by ALCL may thus harbour thymic lymphoma-initiating cells capable of seeding relapse after chemotherapy.

Hu J, Zhang Y, Zhao L, et al.
Chromosomal Loop Domains Direct the Recombination of Antigen Receptor Genes.
Cell. 2015; 163(4):947-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RAG initiates antibody V(D)J recombination in developing lymphocytes by generating "on-target" DNA breaks at matched pairs of bona fide recombination signal sequences (RSSs). We employ bait RAG-generated breaks in endogenous or ectopically inserted RSS pairs to identify huge numbers of RAG "off-target" breaks. Such breaks occur at the simple CAC motif that defines the RSS cleavage site and are largely confined within convergent CTCF-binding element (CBE)-flanked loop domains containing bait RSS pairs. Marked orientation dependence of RAG off-target activity within loops spanning up to 2 megabases implies involvement of linear tracking. In this regard, major RAG off-targets in chromosomal translocations occur as convergent RSS pairs at enhancers within a loop. Finally, deletion of a CBE-based IgH locus element disrupts V(D)J recombination domains and, correspondingly, alters RAG on- and off-target distributions within IgH. Our findings reveal how RAG activity is developmentally focused and implicate mechanisms by which chromatin domains harness biological processes within them.

Vojkovics D, Kellermayer Z, Heidt D, et al.
Isolation and Characterization of a Murine Spontaneous High-Grade Follicular Lymphoma with Restricted In Vivo Spreading--a Model for Lymphatic Metastasis Via the Mesentery.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2016; 22(2):421-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Spontaneous or induced malignant lymphomas in mice are valuable tools for studying human lymphoproliferative diseases, including the mechanism of migration between peripheral lymphoid organs and positioning within distinct tissue compartments. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a novel spontaneous lymphoma from BALB/c mice showing restricted tissue distribution and metastasis. The lymphoma cells display CD19, B220, MHC II, surface IgG2a/kappa chain with VH7183 rearrangement of the IgH gene, indicating their B-cell origin. Serial intraperitoneal injection of primary tumor into both BALB/c and RAG-1-deficient hosts led to the successful propagation of lymphoma. Despite the cytological characteristics of high-grade follicular B-cell lymphoma, the tumor cells (denoted as Bc-DLFL.1) showed significantly lesser spreading to extraabdominal locations upon intraperitoneal passage compared to splenic and mesenteric lymph node expansion. In mesenteric lymph nodes the high endothelial venules contained only few tumor cells, while the lymphatic vessels were almost completely filled with lymphoma cells. Similarly, the LYVE-1-positive lymphatic capillaries within the mesentery were packed with lymphoma cells. These findings suggest that Bc-DLFL.1 cells likely propagate primarily via the lymphatic circulation within the mesentery, therefore this tumor may offer an in vivo model to investigate the tumor cell migration via the lymphatic circulation from the peritoneal cavity.

Gee HE, Buffa FM, Harris AL, et al.
MicroRNA-Related DNA Repair/Cell-Cycle Genes Independently Associated With Relapse After Radiation Therapy for Early Breast Cancer.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 93(5):1104-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Local recurrence and distant failure after adjuvant radiation therapy for breast cancer remain significant clinical problems, incompletely predicted by conventional clinicopathologic markers. We had previously identified microRNA-139-5p and microRNA-1274a as key regulators of breast cancer radiation response in vitro. The purpose of this study was to investigate standard clinicopathologic markers of local recurrence in a contemporary series and to establish whether putative target genes of microRNAs involved in DNA repair and cell cycle control could better predict radiation therapy response in vivo.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: With institutional ethics board approval, local recurrence was measured in a contemporary, prospectively collected series of 458 patients treated with radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery. Additionally, independent publicly available mRNA/microRNA microarray expression datasets totaling >1000 early-stage breast cancer patients, treated with adjuvant radiation therapy, with >10 years of follow-up, were analyzed. The expression of putative microRNA target biomarkers--TOP2A, POLQ, RAD54L, SKP2, PLK2, and RAG1--were correlated with standard clinicopathologic variables using 2-sided nonparametric tests, and to local/distant relapse and survival using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis.
RESULTS: We found a low rate of isolated local recurrence (1.95%) in our modern series, and that few clinicopathologic variables (such as lymphovascular invasion) were significantly predictive. In multiple independent datasets (n>1000), however, high expression of RAD54L, TOP2A, POLQ, and SKP2 significantly correlated with local recurrence, survival, or both in univariate and multivariate analyses (P<.001). Low RAG1 expression significantly correlated with local recurrence (multivariate, P=.008). Additionally, RAD54L, SKP2, and PLK2 may be predictive, being prognostic in radiation therapy-treated patients but not in untreated matched control individuals (n=107; P<.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Biomarkers of DNA repair and cell cycle control can identify patients at high risk of treatment failure in those receiving radiation therapy for early breast cancer in independent cohorts. These should be further investigated prospectively, especially TOP2A and SKP2, for which targeted therapies are available.

Weber T, Bötticher B, Mier W, et al.
High treatment efficacy by dual targeting of Burkitt's lymphoma xenografted mice with a (177)Lu-based CD22-specific radioimmunoconjugate and rituximab.
Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2016; 43(3):489-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Dual-targeted therapy has been shown to be a promising treatment option in recurrent and/or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL). We generated radioimmunoconjugates (RICs) comprising either a novel humanized anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody, huRFB4, or rituximab, and the low-energy β-emitter (177)Lu. Both RICs were evaluated as single agents in a human Burkitt's lymphoma xenograft mouse model. To increase the therapeutic efficacy of the anti-CD22 RIC, combination therapy with unlabelled anti-CD20 rituximab was explored.
METHODS: The binding activity of CHX-A″-DTPA-conjugated antibodies to target cells was analysed by flow cytometry. To assess tumour targeting of (177)Lu-labelled antibodies, in vivo biodistribution experiments were performed. For radioimmunotherapy (RIT) studies, non-obese diabetic recombination activating gene-1 (NOD-Rag1 (null) ) interleukin-2 receptor common gamma chain (IL2rγ (null) ) null mice (NRG mice) were xenografted subcutaneously with Raji Burkitt's lymphoma cells. (177)Lu-conjugated antibodies were administered at a single dose of 9.5 MBq per mouse. For dual-targeted therapy, rituximab was injected at weekly intervals (0.5 - 1.0 mg). Tumour accumulation of RICs was monitored by planar scintigraphy.
RESULTS: Conjugation of CHX-A"-DTPA resulted in highly stable RICs with excellent antigen-binding properties. Biodistribution experiments revealed higher tumour uptake of the (177)Lu-labelled anti-CD22 IgG than of (177)Lu-labelled rituximab. Treatment with (177)Lu-conjugated huRFB4 resulted in increased tumour growth inhibition and significantly longer survival than treatment with (177)Lu-conjugated rituximab. The therapeutic efficacy of the anti-CD22 RIC could be markedly enhanced by combination with unlabelled rituximab.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that dual targeting with (177)Lu-based CD22-specific RIT in combination with rituximab is a promising new treatment option for refractory B-NHL.

Ochodnicka-Mackovicova K, Bahjat M, Bloedjes TA, et al.
NF-κB and AKT signaling prevent DNA damage in transformed pre-B cells by suppressing RAG1/2 expression and activity.
Blood. 2015; 126(11):1324-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In developing lymphocytes, expression and activity of the recombination activation gene protein 1 (RAG1) and RAG2 endonuclease complex is tightly regulated to ensure ordered recombination of the immunoglobulin genes and to avoid genomic instability. Aberrant RAG activity has been implicated in the generation of secondary genetic events in human B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (B-ALLs), illustrating the oncogenic potential of the RAG complex. Several layers of regulation prevent collateral genomic DNA damage by restricting RAG activity to the G1 phase of the cell cycle. In this study, we show a novel pathway that suppresses RAG expression in cycling-transformed mouse pre-B cells and human pre-B B-ALL cells that involves the negative regulation of FOXO1 by nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). Inhibition of NF-κB in cycling pre-B cells resulted in upregulation of RAG expression and recombination activity, which provoked RAG-dependent DNA damage. In agreement, we observe a negative correlation between NF-κB activity and the expression of RAG1, RAG2, and TdT in B-ALL patients. Our data suggest that targeting NF-κB in B-ALL increases the risk of RAG-dependent genomic instability.

Swaminathan S, Klemm L, Park E, et al.
Mechanisms of clonal evolution in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Immunol. 2015; 16(7):766-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can often be traced to a pre-leukemic clone carrying a prenatal genetic lesion. Postnatally acquired mutations then drive clonal evolution toward overt leukemia. The enzymes RAG1-RAG2 and AID, which diversify immunoglobulin-encoding genes, are strictly segregated in developing cells during B lymphopoiesis and peripheral mature B cells, respectively. Here we identified small pre-BII cells as a natural subset with increased genetic vulnerability owing to concurrent activation of these enzymes. Consistent with epidemiological findings on childhood ALL etiology, susceptibility to genetic lesions during B lymphopoiesis at the transition from the large pre-BII cell stage to the small pre-BII cell stage was exacerbated by abnormal cytokine signaling and repetitive inflammatory stimuli. We demonstrated that AID and RAG1-RAG2 drove leukemic clonal evolution with repeated exposure to inflammatory stimuli, paralleling chronic infections in childhood.

Navarro JM, Touzart A, Pradel LC, et al.
Site- and allele-specific polycomb dysregulation in T-cell leukaemia.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:6094 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemias (T-ALL) are aggressive malignant proliferations characterized by high relapse rates and great genetic heterogeneity. TAL1 is amongst the most frequently deregulated oncogenes. Yet, over half of the TAL1(+) cases lack TAL1 lesions, suggesting unrecognized (epi)genetic deregulation mechanisms. Here we show that TAL1 is normally silenced in the T-cell lineage, and that the polycomb H3K27me3-repressive mark is focally diminished in TAL1(+) T-ALLs. Sequencing reveals that >20% of monoallelic TAL1(+) patients without previously known alterations display microinsertions or RAG1/2-mediated episomal reintegration in a single site 5' to TAL1. Using 'allelic-ChIP' and CrispR assays, we demonstrate that such insertions induce a selective switch from H3K27me3 to H3K27ac at the inserted but not the germline allele. We also show that, despite a considerable mechanistic diversity, the mode of oncogenic TAL1 activation, rather than expression levels, impact on clinical outcome. Altogether, these studies establish site-specific epigenetic desilencing as a mechanism of oncogenic activation.

Sundberg JP, Stearns TM, Joh J, et al.
Immune status, strain background, and anatomic site of inoculation affect mouse papillomavirus (MmuPV1) induction of exophytic papillomas or endophytic trichoblastomas.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e113582 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Papillomaviruses (PVs) induce papillomas, premalignant lesions, and carcinomas in a wide variety of species. PVs are classified first based on their host and tissue tropism and then their genomic diversities. A laboratory mouse papillomavirus, MmuPV1 (formerly MusPV), was horizontally transmitted within an inbred colony of NMRI-Foxn1(nu)/Foxn1nu (nude; T cell deficient) mice of an unknown period of time. A ground-up, filtered papilloma inoculum was not capable of infecting C57BL/6J wild-type mice; however, immunocompetent, alopecic, S/RV/Cri-ba/ba (bare) mice developed small papillomas at injection sites that regressed. NMRI-Foxn1(nu) and B6.Cg-Foxn1(nu), but not NU/J-Foxn1(nu), mice were susceptible to MmuPV1 infection. B6 congenic strains, but not other congenic strains carrying the same allelic mutations, lacking B- and T-cells, but not B-cells alone, were susceptible to infection, indicating that mouse strain and T-cell deficiency are critical to tumor formation. Lesions initially observed were exophytic papillomas around the muzzle, exophytic papillomas on the tail, and condylomas of the vaginal lining which could be induced by separate scarification or simultaneous scarification of MmuPV1 at all four sites. On the dorsal skin, locally invasive, poorly differentiated tumors developed with features similar to human trichoblastomas. Transcriptome analysis revealed significant differences between the normal skin in these anatomic sites and in papillomas versus trichoblastomas. The primarily dysregulated genes involved molecular pathways associated with cancer, cellular development, cellular growth and proliferation, cell morphology, and connective tissue development and function. Although trichoepitheliomas are benign, aggressive tumors, few of the genes commonly associated with basal cell carcinoma or squamous cells carcinoma were highly dysregulated.

Shimazaki N, Lieber MR
Histone methylation and V(D)J recombination.
Int J Hematol. 2014; 100(3):230-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
V(D)J recombination is the process by which the diversity of antigen receptor genes is generated and is also indispensable for lymphocyte development. This recombination event occurs in a cell lineage- and stage-specific manner, and is carefully controlled by chromatin structure and ordered histone modifications. The recombinationally active V(D)J loci are associated with hypermethylation at lysine4 of histone H3 and hyperacetylation of histones H3/H4. The recombination activating gene 1 (RAG1) and RAG2 complex initiates recombination by introducing double-strand DNA breaks at recombination signal sequences (RSS) adjacent to each coding sequence. To be recognized by the RAG complex, RSS sites must be within an open chromatin context. In addition, the RAG complex specifically recognizes hypermethylated H3K4 through its plant homeodomain (PHD) finger in the RAG2 C terminus, which stimulates RAG catalytic activity via that interaction. In this review, we describe how histone methylation controls V(D)J recombination and discuss its potential role in lymphoid malignancy by mistargeting the RAG complex.

Abolhassani H, Wang N, Aghamohammadi A, et al.
A hypomorphic recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1) mutation resulting in a phenotype resembling common variable immunodeficiency.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014; 134(6):1375-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1) deficiency presents with a varied spectrum of combined immunodeficiency, ranging from a T(-)B(-)NK(+) type of disease to a T(+)B(+)NK(+) phenotype.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess the genetic background of patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID).
METHODS: A patient given a diagnosis of CVID, who was born to a consanguineous family and thus would be expected to show an autosomal recessive inheritance, was subjected to clinical evaluation, immunologic assays, homozygosity gene mapping, exome sequencing, Sanger sequencing, and functional analysis.
RESULTS: The 14-year-old patient, who had liver granuloma, extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, and autoimmune neutropenia, presented with a clinical picture resembling CVID. Genetic analysis of this patient showed a homozygous hypomorphic RAG1 mutation (c.1073 G>A, p.C358Y) with a residual functional capacity of 48% of wild-type protein.
CONCLUSION: Our finding broadens the range of disorders associated with RAG1 mutations and might have important therapeutic implications.

Shultz LD, Goodwin N, Ishikawa F, et al.
Human cancer growth and therapy in immunodeficient mouse models.
Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2014; 2014(7):694-708 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Since the discovery of the "nude" mouse more than 40 years ago, investigators have attempted to model human tumor growth in immunodeficient mice. Here, we summarize how the field has advanced over the ensuing years owing to improvements in the murine recipients of human tumors. These improvements include the discovery of the scid mutation and development of targeted mutations in the recombination-activating genes 1 and 2 (Rag1(null), Rag2(null)) that severely cripple the adaptive immune response of the murine host. More recently, mice deficient in adaptive immunity have been crossed with mice bearing targeted mutations designed to weaken the innate immune system, ultimately leading to the development of immunodeficient mice bearing a targeted mutation in the gene encoding the interleukin 2 (IL2) receptor common γ chain (IL2rg(null), also known in humans as cytokine receptor common subunit γ). The IL2rg(null) mutation has been used to develop several immunodeficient strains of mice, including the NOD-scid IL2rg(null) (NSG) strain. Using NSG mice as human xenograft recipients, it is now possible to grow almost all types of primary human tumors in vivo, including most solid tumors and hematological malignancies that maintain characteristics of the primary tumor in the patient. Programs to optimize patient-specific therapy using patient-derived xenograft tumor growth in NSG mice have been established at several institutions, including The Jackson Laboratory. Moreover, NSG mice can be engrafted with functional human immune systems, permitting for the first time the potential to study primary human tumors in vivo in the presence of a human immune system.

Mendes RD, Sarmento LM, Canté-Barrett K, et al.
PTEN microdeletions in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia are caused by illegitimate RAG-mediated recombination events.
Blood. 2014; 124(4):567-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-inactivating mutations and/or deletions are an independent risk factor for relapse of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients treated on Dutch Childhood Oncology Group or German Cooperative Study Group for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia protocols. Some monoallelic mutated or PTEN wild-type patients lack PTEN protein, implying that additional PTEN inactivation mechanisms exist. We show that PTEN is inactivated by small deletions affecting a few exons in 8% of pediatric T-ALL patients. These microdeletions were clonal in 3% and subclonal in 5% of patients. Conserved deletion breakpoints are flanked by cryptic recombination signal sequences (cRSSs) and frequently have non-template-derived nucleotides inserted in between breakpoints, pointing to an illegitimate RAG recombination-driven activity. Identified cRSSs drive RAG-dependent recombination in a reporter system as efficiently as bona fide RSSs that flank gene segments of the T-cell receptor locus. Remarkably, equivalent microdeletions were detected in thymocytes of healthy individuals. Microdeletions strongly associate with the TALLMO subtype characterized by TAL1 or LMO2 rearrangements. Primary and secondary xenotransplantation of TAL1-rearranged leukemia allowed development of leukemic subclones with newly acquired PTEN microdeletions. Ongoing RAG activity may therefore actively contribute to the acquisition of preleukemic hits, clonal diversification, and disease progression.

Jiang C, Huang T, Wang Y, et al.
Immunoglobulin G expression in lung cancer and its effects on metastasis.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(5):e97359 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is one of the leading malignancies worldwide, but the regulatory mechanism of its growth and metastasis is still poorly understood. We investigated the possible expression of immunoglobulin G (IgG) genes in squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas of the lung and related cancer cell lines. Abundant mRNA of IgG and essential enzymes for IgG synthesis, recombination activation genes 1, 2 (RAG1, 2) and activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) were detected in the cancer cells but not in adjacent normal lung tissue or normal lung epithelial cell line. The extents of IgG expression in 86 lung cancers were found to associate with clinical stage, pathological grade and lymph node metastasis. We found that knockdown of IgG with siRNA resulted in decreases of cellular proliferation, migration and attachment for cultured lung cancer cells. Metastasis-associated gene 1 (MTA1) appeared to be co-expressed with IgG in lung cancer cells. Statistical analysis showed that the rate of IgG expression was significantly correlated to that of MTA1 and to lymph node metastases. Inhibition of MTA1 gene expression with siRNA also led to decreases of cellular migration and attachment for cultured lung cancer cells. These evidences suggested that inhibition of cancer migration and attachment induced by IgG down-regulation might be achieved through MTA1 regulatory pathway. Our findings suggest that lung cancer-produced IgG is likely to play an important role in cancer growth and metastasis with significant clinical implications.

Jung YS, Vermeer PD, Vermeer DW, et al.
CD200: association with cancer stem cell features and response to chemoradiation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Head Neck. 2015; 37(3):327-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to characterize the expression of CD200, a membrane protein that functions in immune evasion, to examine its correlations with cancer stem cell (CSC)-like features and analyze its response to chemotherapy and radiation in human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive (+) and negative (-) head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs).
METHODS: CD200 expression was analyzed in several HNSCC cell lines. CD200 was overexpressed in HPV(+) murine tonsil epithelial cells, its effects on Shh and Bmi-1 were examined in vitro, and tumor growth and response to chemoradiation were analyzed in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: CD200 was diversely expressed and consistently associated with expression of Bmi-1 and Shh. Overexpression of CD200 induced Bmi-1 and Shh. Tumors grew similarly between C57BL/6 and Rag1(-/-) C57BL/6 mice. CD200 expression enhanced the resistance to chemoradiation only in vivo.
CONCLUSION: CD200 was related to CSC features and modulates response to chemoradiation in vivo. Attenuating this might be a potential therapeutic strategy.

Lu Y, Wu Y, Feng X, et al.
CDK4 deficiency promotes genomic instability and enhances Myc-driven lymphomagenesis.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(4):1672-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The G1 kinase CDK4 is amplified or overexpressed in some human tumors and promotes tumorigenesis by inhibiting known tumor suppressors. Here, we report that CDK4 deficiency markedly accelerated lymphoma development in the Eμ-Myc transgenic mouse model of B lymphoma and that silencing or loss of CDK4 augmented the tumorigenic potential of Myc-driven mouse and human B cell lymphoma in transplant models. Accelerated disease in CDK4-deficient Eμ-Myc transgenic mice was associated with rampant genomic instability that was provoked by dysregulation of a FOXO1/RAG1/RAG2 pathway. Specifically, CDK4 phosphorylated and inactivated FOXO1, which prevented FOXO1-dependent induction of Rag1 and Rag2 transcription. CDK4-deficient Eμ-Myc B cells had high levels of the active form of FOXO1 and elevated RAG1 and RAG2. Furthermore, overexpression of RAG1 and RAG2 accelerated lymphoma development in a transplant model, with RAG1/2-expressing tumors exhibiting hallmarks of genomic instability. Evaluation of human tumor samples revealed that CDK4 expression was markedly suppressed, while FOXO1 expression was elevated, in several subtypes of human non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma. Collectively, these findings establish a context-specific tumor suppressor function for CDK4 that prevents genomic instability, which contributes to B cell lymphoma. Furthermore, our data suggest that targeting CDK4 may increase the risk for the development and/or progression of lymphoma.

You ZM, Zhao L, Xia J, et al.
Down-regulation of phosphoglucose isomerase/autocrine motility factor enhances gensenoside Rh2 pharmacological action on leukemia KG1α cells.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(3):1099-104 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS AND BACKGROUND: Ginsenoside Rh2, which exerts the potent anticancer action both in vitro and in vivo, is one of the most well characterized ginsenosides extracted from ginseng. Although its effects on cancer are significant, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, we sought to elucidate possible links between ginsenoside Rh2 and phosphoglucose isomerase/autocrine motility factor (PGI/AMF).
METHODS: KG1α, a leukemia cell line highly expressing PGI/AMF was assessed by western blot analysis and reverse transcription- PCR (RT-PCR) assay after transfection of a small interfering (si)-RNA to silence PGI/AMF. The effect of PGI/ AMF on proliferation was measured by typan blue assay and antibody array. A cell counting kit (CCK)-8 and flow cytometry (FCM) were adopted to investigate the effects of Rh2 on PGI/AMF. The relationships between PGI/AMF and Rh2 associated with Akt, mTOR, Raptor, Rag were detected by western blot analysis.
RESULTS: KG1α cells expressed PGI/AMF and its down-regulation significantly inhibited proliferation. The antibody array indicated that the probable mechanism was reduced expression of PARP, State1, SAPK/JNK and Erk1/2, while those of PRAS40 and p38 were up-regulated. Silencing of PGI/AMF enhanced the sensibility of KG1α to Rh2 by suppressing the expression of mTOR, Raptor and Akt.
CONCLUSION: These results suggested that ginsenoside Rh2 suppressed the proliferation of KG1α, the same as down-regulation of PGI/AMF. Down-regulation of PGI/ AMF enhanced the pharmacological effects of ginsenoside Rh2 on KG1α by reducing Akt/mTOR signaling.

Stolfi C, De Simone V, Colantoni A, et al.
A functional role for Smad7 in sustaining colon cancer cell growth and survival.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1073 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Initially identified as an inhibitor of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β mainly owing to its ability to bind TGF-β receptor type I and abrogate TGF-β-driven signaling, Smad7 can interact with additional intracellular proteins and regulate TGF-β-independent pathways, thus having a key role in the control of neoplastic processes in various organs. Genome-wide association studies have shown that common alleles of Smad7 influence the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), even though the contribution of Smad7 in colon carcinogenesis is not fully understood. In this study, we assessed the expression and role of Smad7 in human and mouse models of sporadic CRC. We document a significant increase of Smad7 in human CRC relative to the surrounding nontumor tissues and show that silencing of Smad7 inhibits the growth of CRC cell lines both in vitro and in vivo after transplantation into immunodeficient mice. Knockdown of Smad7 results in enhanced phosphorylation of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)2, accumulation of CRC cells in S phase and enhanced cell death. Smad7-deficient CRC cells have lower levels of CDC25A, a phosphatase that dephosphorylates CDK2, and hyperphosphorylated eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2)α, a negative regulator of CDC25 protein translation. Consistently, knockdown of Smad7 associates with inactivation of eIF2α, lower CDC25A expression and diminished fraction of proliferating cells in human CRC explants, and reduces the number of intestinal tumors in Apc(min/+) mice. Altogether, these data support a role for Smad7 in sustaining colon tumorigenesis.

Kuiper RP, Waanders E
A RAG driver on the road to pediatric ALL.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(2):96-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genomic aberrations affecting genes in B cell differentiation are hallmarks of B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A new whole-genome sequencing study of ETV6-RUNX1-positive ALL has now identified RAG-mediated recombination, which specifically targets genes and regulatory elements active during B cell differentiation, as the underlying mechanism.

Papaemmanuil E, Rapado I, Li Y, et al.
RAG-mediated recombination is the predominant driver of oncogenic rearrangement in ETV6-RUNX1 acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(2):116-25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ETV6-RUNX1 fusion gene, found in 25% of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases, is acquired in utero but requires additional somatic mutations for overt leukemia. We used exome and low-coverage whole-genome sequencing to characterize secondary events associated with leukemic transformation. RAG-mediated deletions emerge as the dominant mutational process, characterized by recombination signal sequence motifs near breakpoints, incorporation of non-templated sequence at junctions, ∼30-fold enrichment at promoters and enhancers of genes actively transcribed in B cell development and an unexpectedly high ratio of recurrent to non-recurrent structural variants. Single-cell tracking shows that this mechanism is active throughout leukemic evolution, with evidence of localized clustering and reiterated deletions. Integration of data on point mutations and rearrangements identifies ATF7IP and MGA as two new tumor-suppressor genes in ALL. Thus, a remarkably parsimonious mutational process transforms ETV6-RUNX1-positive lymphoblasts, targeting the promoters, enhancers and first exons of genes that normally regulate B cell differentiation.

Kroesen M, Nierkens S, Ansems M, et al.
A transplantable TH-MYCN transgenic tumor model in C57Bl/6 mice for preclinical immunological studies in neuroblastoma.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 134(6):1335-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Current multimodal treatments for patients with neuroblastoma (NBL), including anti-disialoganglioside (GD2) monoclonal antibody (mAb) based immunotherapy, result in a favorable outcome in around only half of the patients with advanced disease. To improve this, novel immunocombinational strategies need to be developed and tested in autologous preclinical NBL models. A genetically well-explored autologous mouse model for NBL is the TH-MYCN model. However, the immunobiology of the TH-MYCN model remains largely unexplored. We developed a mouse model using a transplantable TH-MYCN cell line in syngeneic C57Bl/6 mice and characterized the immunobiology of this model. In this report, we show the relevance and opportunities of this model to study immunotherapy for human NBL. Similar to human NBL cells, syngeneic TH-MYCN-derived 9464D cells endogenously express the tumor antigen GD2 and low levels of MHC Class I. The presence of the adaptive immune system had little or no influence on tumor growth, showing the low immunogenicity of the NBL cells. In contrast, depletion of NK1.1+ cells resulted in enhanced tumor outgrowth in both wild-type and Rag1(-/-) mice, showing an important role for NK cells in the natural anti-NBL immune response. Analysis of the tumor infiltrating leukocytes ex vivo revealed the presence of both tumor associated myeloid cells and T regulatory cells, thus mimicking human NBL tumors. Finally, anti-GD2 mAb mediated NBL therapy resulted in ADCC in vitro and delayed tumor outgrowth in vivo. We conclude that the transplantable TH-MYCN model represents a relevant model for the development of novel immunocombinatorial approaches for NBL patients.

Lukka PB, Chen YY, Finlay GJ, et al.
Tumour tissue selectivity in the uptake and retention of SN 28049, a new topoisomerase II-directed anticancer agent.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013; 72(5):1013-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: A variety of anticancer drugs, including doxorubicin and mitoxantrone, have structures in which a DNA-intercalating chromophore is linked to a positively charged side chain. These drugs generally inhibit tumour growth and survival by poisoning the enzyme DNA topoisomerase II. SN 28049, a benzonaphthyridine derivative with these properties, has curative activity against the Colon 38 tumour in mice. Previous pharmacokinetic studies have demonstrated tumour-selective retention with approximately 20-fold higher area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for tumour tissue as compared to normal tissues. We have investigated here whether such retention is tumour specific.
METHODS: Plasma and tissue pharmacokinetics were assessed in the murine Lewis lung (LL3) tumour in C57 BL/6 mice and in xenografts of the NZM4, NZM10 and NZM52 human melanoma lines in Balb/c Rag-1 immunodeficient mice. The in vitro cellular localisation of SN 28049 in murine and human cell lines was studied by confocal fluorescence microscopy.
RESULTS: A 260-fold variation, from 8.9 μM h (NZM4) to 2,334 μM h (Colon 38), was found among the different tumours. Only small variations were observed in the corresponding plasma AUC (2.9-5 μM h). Moreover, in vivo activity, as measured by tumour growth delay, varied from 1 day (NZM4) to curative (Colon 38), consistent with the tumour pharmacokinetic data. In cultured cell lines, SN 28049 was found in cytoplasmic bodies, suggesting that drug sequestration could contribute to tumour pharmacokinetics.
CONCLUSION: SN 28049 shows dramatic differences in both tumour AUC and antitumour activity against different tumours. These differences point to the presence of a tumour-specific uptake and retention mechanism.

Jin HY, Oda H, Lai M, et al.
MicroRNA-17~92 plays a causative role in lymphomagenesis by coordinating multiple oncogenic pathways.
EMBO J. 2013; 32(17):2377-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been broadly implicated in cancer, but their exact function and mechanism in carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. Elevated miR-17~92 expression is frequently found in human cancers, mainly due to gene amplification and Myc-mediated transcriptional upregulation. Here we show that B cell-specific miR-17~92 transgenic mice developed lymphomas with high penetrance and that, conversely, Myc-driven lymphomagenesis stringently requires two intact alleles of miR-17~92. We experimentally identified miR-17~92 target genes by PAR-CLIP and validated select target genes in miR-17~92 transgenic mice. These analyses demonstrate that miR-17~92 drives lymphomagenesis by suppressing the expression of multiple negative regulators of the PI3K and NFκB pathways and by inhibiting the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Accordingly, miR-17~92-driven lymphoma cells exhibited constitutive activation of the PI3K and NFκB pathways and chemical inhibition of either pathway reduced tumour size and prolonged the survival of lymphoma-bearing mice. These findings establish miR-17~92 as a powerful cancer driver that coordinates the activation of multiple oncogenic pathways, and demonstrate for the first time that chemical inhibition of miRNA downstream pathways has therapeutic value in treating cancers caused by miRNA dysregulation.

Olsson L, Castor A, Behrendtz M, et al.
Deletions of IKZF1 and SPRED1 are associated with poor prognosis in a population-based series of pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosed between 1992 and 2011.
Leukemia. 2014; 28(2):302-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite the favorable prognosis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a substantial subset of patients relapses. As this occurs not only in the high risk but also in the standard/intermediate groups, the presently used risk stratification is suboptimal. The underlying mechanisms for treatment failure include the presence of genetic changes causing insensitivity to the therapy administered. To identify relapse-associated aberrations, we performed single-nucleotide polymorphism array analyses of 307 uniformly treated, consecutive pediatric ALL cases accrued during 1992-2011. Recurrent aberrations of 14 genes in patients who subsequently relapsed or had induction failure were detected. Of these, deletions/uniparental isodisomies of ADD3, ATP10A, EBF1, IKZF1, PAN3, RAG1, SPRED1 and TBL1XR1 were significantly more common in B-cell precursor ALL patients who relapsed compared with those remaining in complete remission. In univariate analyses, age (≥10 years), white blood cell counts (>100 × 10(9)/l), t(9;22)(q34;q11), MLL rearrangements, near-haploidy and deletions of ATP10A, IKZF1, SPRED1 and the pseudoautosomal 1 regions on Xp/Yp were significantly associated with decreased 10-year event-free survival, with IKZF1 abnormalities being an independent risk factor in multivariate analysis irrespective of the risk group. Older age and deletions of IKZF1 and SPRED1 were also associated with poor overall survival. Thus, analyses of these genes provide clinically important information.

Thaker AI, Rao MS, Bishnupuri KS, et al.
IDO1 metabolites activate β-catenin signaling to promote cancer cell proliferation and colon tumorigenesis in mice.
Gastroenterology. 2013; 145(2):416-25.e1-4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase-1 (IDO1) catabolizes tryptophan along the kynurenine pathway. Although IDO1 is expressed in inflamed and neoplastic epithelial cells of the colon, its role in colon tumorigenesis is not well understood. We used genetic and pharmacologic approaches to manipulate IDO1 activity in mice with colitis-associated cancer and human colon cancer cell lines.
METHODS: C57Bl6 wild-type (control), IDO1-/-, Rag1-/-, and Rag1/IDO1 double-knockout mice were exposed to azoxymethane and dextran sodium sulfate to induce colitis and tumorigenesis. Colitis severity was assessed by measurements of disease activity, cytokine levels, and histologic analysis. In vitro experiments were conducted using HCT 116 and HT-29 human colon cancer cells. 1-methyl tryptophan and small interfering RNA were used to inhibit IDO1. Kynurenine pathway metabolites were used to simulate IDO1 activity.
RESULTS: C57Bl6 mice given pharmacologic inhibitors of IDO1 and IDO1-/- mice had lower tumor burdens and reduced proliferation in the neoplastic epithelium after administration of dextran sodium sulfate and azoxymethane than control mice. These reductions also were observed in Rag1/IDO1 double-knockout mice compared with Rag1-/- mice (which lack mature adaptive immunity). In human colon cancer cells, blockade of IDO1 activity reduced nuclear and activated β-catenin, transcription of its target genes (cyclin D1 and Axin2), and, ultimately, proliferation. Exogenous administration of IDO1 pathway metabolites kynurenine and quinolinic acid led to activation of β-catenin and proliferation of human colon cancer cells, and increased tumor growth in mice.
CONCLUSIONS: IDO1, which catabolizes tryptophan, promotes colitis-associated tumorigenesis in mice, independent of its ability to limit T-cell-mediated immune surveillance. The epithelial cell-autonomous survival advantage provided by IDO1 to colon epithelial cells indicate its potential as a therapeutic target.

Zhao P, Zou P, Zhao L, et al.
Genetic polymorphisms of DNA double-strand break repair pathway genes and glioma susceptibility.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:234 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic variations in DNA double-strand break repair genes can influence the ability of a cell to repair damaged DNA and alter an individual's susceptibility to cancer. We studied whether polymorphisms in DNA double-strand break repair genes are associated with an increased risk of glioma development.
METHODS: We genotyped 10 potentially functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 7 DNA double-strand break repair pathway genes (XRCC3, BRCA2, RAG1, XRCC5, LIG4, XRCC4 and ATM) in a case-control study including 384 glioma patients and 384 cancer-free controls in a Chinese Han population. Genotypes were determined using the OpenArray platform.
RESULTS: In the single-locus analysis there was a significant association between gliomas and the LIG4 rs1805388 (Ex2 +54C>T, Thr9Ile) TT genotype (adjusted OR, 3.27; 95% CI, 1.87-5.71), as well as the TC genotype (adjusted OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.20-2.18). We also found that the homozygous variant genotype (GG) of XRCC4 rs1805377 (IVS7-1A>G, splice-site) was associated with a significantly increased risk of gliomas (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.12-2.80). Interestingly, we detected a significant additive and multiplicative interaction effect between the LIG4 rs1805388 and XRCC4 rs1805377 polymorphisms with an increasing risk of gliomas. When we stratified our analysis by smoking status, LIG4 rs1805388 was associated with an increased glioma risk among smokers.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate for the first time that LIG4 rs1805388 and XRCC4 rs1805377, alone or in combination, are associated with a risk of gliomas.

Chiarle R
Translocations in normal B cells and cancers: insights from new technical approaches.
Adv Immunol. 2013; 117:39-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal translocations are recurrent genetic events that define many types of cancers. Since their first description several decades ago as defining elements in cancer cells, our understanding of the mechanisms that determine their formation as well as their implications for cancer progression and therapy has remarkably progressed. Chromosomal translocations originate from double-strand breaks (DSBs) that are brought into proximity in the nuclear space and joined inappropriately by DNA-repair pathways. The frequency and pattern of translocations are influenced by perturbations of any of these events. DSB formation is heavily determined by physiologic processes, such as the activity of RAG1/2 and AID enzymes during B-cell development or maturation, or by pathologic factors, such as ionizing radiations, ROS, or fragile sites. Cellular processes of mRNA transcription, DNA replication, and repair can influence the chromosomal territories and modify the relative position and proximity of genes inside the nucleus. DNA-repair factors contribute not only to the maintenance of genome integrity but also to translocations in normal and cancer cells. Next-generation sequencing techniques provide an unprecedented and powerful tool to approach the field of chromosomal translocations. Using specific examples, we will explain how genome-wide translocation mapping methods, such as high-throughput genomic translocation sequencing (HTGTS) and translocation-capture sequencing, combined with large-scale methods to determine nuclear proximity of genes or chromosome domains, such as 4C and Hi-C, have changed our view of the factors and the rules governing translocation formation in noncancer cells. Finally, we will review chromosomal rearrangements and newly described findings, such as chromothripsis, in cancer cells based on these novel rules on translocation formation.

Wang Z, Liu JQ, Liu Z, et al.
Tumor-derived IL-35 promotes tumor growth by enhancing myeloid cell accumulation and angiogenesis.
J Immunol. 2013; 190(5):2415-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
IL-35 is a member of the IL-12 family of cytokines that is comprised of an IL-12 p35 subunit and an IL-12 p40-related protein subunit, EBV-induced gene 3 (EBI3). IL-35 functions through IL-35R and has a potent immune-suppressive activity. Although IL-35 was demonstrated to be produced by regulatory T cells, gene-expression analysis revealed that it is likely to have a wider distribution, including expression in cancer cells. In this study, we demonstrated that IL-35 is produced in human cancer tissues, such as large B cell lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and melanoma. To determine the roles of tumor-derived IL-35 in tumorigenesis and tumor immunity, we generated IL-35-producing plasmacytoma J558 and B16 melanoma cells and observed that the expression of IL-35 in cancer cells does not affect their growth and survival in vitro, but it stimulates tumorigenesis in both immune-competent and Rag1/2-deficient mice. Tumor-derived IL-35 increases CD11b(+)Gr1(+) myeloid cell accumulation in the tumor microenvironment and, thereby, promotes tumor angiogenesis. In immune-competent mice, spontaneous CTL responses to tumors are diminished. IL-35 does not directly inhibit tumor Ag-specific CD8(+) T cell activation, differentiation, and effector functions. However, IL-35-treated cancer cells had increased expression of gp130 and reduced sensitivity to CTL destruction. Thus, our study indicates novel functions for IL-35 in promoting tumor growth via the enhancement of myeloid cell accumulation, tumor angiogenesis, and suppression of tumor immunity.

Zaiss DM, van Loosdregt J, Gorlani A, et al.
Amphiregulin enhances regulatory T cell-suppressive function via the epidermal growth factor receptor.
Immunity. 2013; 38(2):275-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is known to be critically involved in tissue development and homeostasis as well as in the pathogenesis of cancer. Here we showed that Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells express EGFR under inflammatory conditions. Stimulation with the EGF-like growth factor Amphiregulin (AREG) markedly enhanced Treg cell function in vitro, and in a colitis and tumor vaccination model we showed that AREG was critical for efficient Treg cell function in vivo. In addition, mast cell-derived AREG fully restored optimal Treg cell function. These findings reveal EGFR as a component in the regulation of local immune responses and establish a link between mast cells and Treg cells. Targeting of this immune regulatory mechanism may contribute to the therapeutic successes of EGFR-targeting treatments in cancer patients.

Sundarasetty BS, Singh VK, Salguero G, et al.
Lentivirus-induced dendritic cells for immunization against high-risk WT1(+) acute myeloid leukemia.
Hum Gene Ther. 2013; 24(2):220-37 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Wilms' tumor 1 antigen (WT1) is overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a high-risk neoplasm warranting development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches. Unfortunately, clinical immunotherapeutic use of WT1 peptides against AML has been inconclusive. With the rationale of stimulating multiantigenic responses against WT1, we genetically programmed long-lasting dendritic cells capable of producing and processing endogenous WT1 epitopes. A tricistronic lentiviral vector co-expressing a truncated form of WT1 (lacking the DNA-binding domain), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and interleukin-4 (IL-4) was used to transduce human monocytes ex vivo. Overnight transduction induced self-differentiation of monocytes into immunophenotypically stable "SmartDC/tWT1" (GM-CSF(+), IL-4(+), tWT1(+), IL-6(+), IL-8(+), TNF-α(+), MCP-1(+), HLA-DR(+), CD86(+), CCR2(+), CCR5(+)) that were viable for 3 weeks in vitro. SmartDC/tWT1 were produced with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from an FLT3-ITD(+) AML patient and surplus material from a donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) and used to expand CD8(+) T cells in vitro. Expanded cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) showed antigen-specific reactivity against WT1 and against WT1(+) leukemia cells. SmartDC/tWT1 injected s.c. into Nod.Rag1(-/-).IL2rγc(-/-) mice were viable in vivo for more than three weeks. Migration of human T cells (huCTLs) to the immunization site was demonstrated following adoptive transfer of huCTLs into mice immunized with SmartDC/tWT1. Furthermore, SmartDC/tWT1 immunization plus adoptive transfer of T cells reactive against WT1 into mice resulted in growth arrest of a WT1(+) tumor. Gene array analyses of SmartDC/tWT1 demonstrated upregulation of several genes related to innate immunity. Thus, SmartDC/tWT1 can be produced in a single day of ex vivo gene transfer, are highly viable in vivo, and have great potential for use as immunotherapy against malignant transformation overexpressing WT1.

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