Gene Summary

Gene:TAF15; TATA-box binding protein associated factor 15
Aliases: Npl3, RBP56, TAF2N, TAFII68
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the TET family of RNA-binding proteins. The encoded protein plays a role in RNA polymerase II gene transcription as a component of a distinct subset of multi-subunit transcription initiation factor TFIID complexes. Translocations involving this gene play a role in acute leukemia and extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma, and mutations in this gene may play a role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding multiple isoforms have been observed for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, May 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:TATA-binding protein-associated factor 2N
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

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

Latest Publications: TAF15 (cancer-related)

Parcesepe P, Giordano G, Zanella C, et al.
Colonic Ewing Sarcoma/PNET associated with liver metastases: A systematic review and case report.
Pathol Res Pract. 2019; 215(2):387-391 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ewing Sarcoma is a highly lethal undifferentiated tumor of bone. ES is a small round cell tumor with etiological and characteristic chromosomal translocations between TET/FET (TLS/FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15) and ETS (E26 transformation-specific) family genes. Generally, therapeutic approach for metastatic Ewing Sarcoma includes both local (surgery and radiotherapy) and systemic (chemotherapy) disease control with an overall cure rate of 20%. For extra-osseous tumors, the most common primary sites of disease are trunk, extremities, head and neck, retroperitoneum. Among other sites, Ewing Sarcoma/PNET may also rarely arise in colon and rectum. Even if colonic Ewing Sarcoma/PNET have been previously reported in 5 cases, none of those reports came from right side of the colon. In this article, we report the first case of right-sided Ewing Sarcoma with synchronous liver metastases completely responding to first line chemotherapy. Furthermore, we provide a systematic qualitative review of the current literature on adult colorectal Ewing Sarcoma using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA).

Georgakopoulos N, Diamantopoulos P, Micci F, et al.
An Adult Patient with Early Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with t(12;17)(p13;q21)/ZNF384-TAF15.
In Vivo. 2018 Sep-Oct; 32(5):1241-1245 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
This is a case report of a 46-year-old man diagnosed with early pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), bearing the translocation t(12;17)(p13;q21) as the sole chromosomal abnormality. This is a rare chromosomal abnormality that has been reported in approximately 25 cases worldwide. FISH analysis revealed a rearrangement of ZNF384 (12p13) and TAF15 (17q12) genes, which is usually associated with a pre-B ALL phenotype with co-expression of the myeloid markers CD13 and/or CD33. ZNF384 encodes a zinc finger protein, which acts as a transcription factor, regulating the expression of several matrix metalloproteinases and TAF15 belongs to the FET (FUS, EWS, and TAF15) family, consisting of RNA and DNA-binding proteins. Unlike most of the cases where CD10 expression was absent or weak, in our case CD10 was highly expressed. The prognostic significance of ZNF384/TAF15 fusion is not very clear since several reports support a generally good prognosis, while others support a poor clinical outcome. Our patient was treated with the German multicenter ALL (GMALL) protocol for B-ALL, but experienced a fulminant gram-negative sepsis and eventually died during induction therapy.

Svec D, Dolatabadi S, Thomsen C, et al.
Identification of inhibitors regulating cell proliferation and FUS-DDIT3 expression in myxoid liposarcoma using combined DNA, mRNA, and protein analyses.
Lab Invest. 2018; 98(7):957-967 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
FUS-DDIT3 belongs to the FET (FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15) family of fusion oncogenes, which collectively are considered to be key players in tumor development. Even though over 90% of all myxoid liposarcomas (MLS) have a FUS-DDIT3 gene fusion, there is limited understanding of the signaling pathways that regulate its expression. In order to study cell proliferation and FUS-DDIT3 regulation at mRNA and protein levels, we first developed a direct cell lysis approach that allows DNA, mRNA, and protein to be analyzed in the same sample using quantitative PCR, reverse transcription quantitative qPCR and proximity ligation assay, respectively. We screened 70 well-characterized kinase inhibitors and determined their effects on cell proliferation and expression of FUS-DDIT3 and FUS at both mRNA and protein levels in the MLS 402-91 cell line, where twelve selected inhibitors were evaluated further in two additional MLS cell lines. Both FUS-DDIT3 and FUS mRNA expression correlated with cell proliferation and both transcripts were co-regulated in most conditions, indicating that the common 5' FUS promotor is important in transcriptional regulation. In contrast, FUS-DDIT3 and FUS protein levels displayed more cell line dependent expression. Furthermore, most JAK inhibitors caused FUS-DDIT3 downregulation at both mRNA and protein levels. In conclusion, defining factors that regulate FUS-DDIT3 expression opens new means to understand MLS development at the molecular level.

Janke AM, Seo DH, Rahmanian V, et al.
Lysines in the RNA Polymerase II C-Terminal Domain Contribute to TAF15 Fibril Recruitment.
Biochemistry. 2018; 57(17):2549-2563 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Many cancer-causing chromosomal translocations result in transactivating protein products encoding FET family (FUS, EWSR1, TAF15) low-complexity (LC) domains fused to a DNA binding domain from one of several transcription factors. Recent work demonstrates that higher-order assemblies of FET LC domains bind the carboxy-terminal domain of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II CTD), suggesting FET oncoproteins may mediate aberrant transcriptional activation by recruiting RNA polymerase II to promoters of target genes. Here we use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and hydrogel fluorescence microscopy localization and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching to visualize atomic details of a model of this process, interactions of RNA pol II CTD with high-molecular weight TAF15 LC assemblies. We report NMR resonance assignments of the intact degenerate repeat half of human RNA pol II CTD alone and verify its predominant intrinsic disorder by molecular simulation. By measuring NMR spin relaxation and dark-state exchange saturation transfer, we characterize the interaction of RNA pol II CTD with amyloid-like hydrogel fibrils of TAF15 and hnRNP A2 LC domains and observe that heptads far from the acidic C-terminal tail of RNA pol II CTD bind TAF15 fibrils most avidly. Mutation of CTD lysines in heptad position 7 to consensus serines reduced the overall level of TAF15 fibril binding, suggesting that electrostatic interactions contribute to complex formation. Conversely, mutations of position 7 asparagine residues and truncation of the acidic tail had little effect. Thus, weak, multivalent interactions between TAF15 fibrils and heptads throughout RNA pol II CTD collectively mediate complex formation.

Urbini M, Astolfi A, Pantaleo MA, et al.
HSPA8 as a novel fusion partner of NR4A3 in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(7):582-586 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a very rare sarcoma most often arising in the soft tissue. Rare EMC of the bone have been reported. EMC exhibits distinctive clinico-pathological and genetic features; however, despite the name, it lacks any feature of cartilaginous differentiation. EMC is characterized by the rearrangement of the NR4A3, which, in most cases (about 62-75%), is fused with EWSR1 and less frequently with other partners, including TAF15 (27%), TCF12 (4%), TFG, and FUS. We herein report the identification by whole-transcriptome sequencing of HSPA8 as a novel fusion partner of NR4A3 in a case of EMC. FISH analysis confirmed the presence of a genomic HSPA8-NR4A3 translocation in the vast majority of tumor cells. Our findings expand the spectrum of NR4A3 fusion partners involved in EMC pathobiology.

Kaplan A, Akalin Ciftci G, Kutlu HM
The apoptotic and genomic studies on A549 cell line induced by silver nitrate.
Tumour Biol. 2017; 39(4):1010428317695033 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the leading cause of male cancer deaths worldwide. Metal-based anticancer drugs have evolved significantly during the past decades. Recently, silver ions have been investigated for their anticancer effects. We aimed to study the time-course cytotoxic effects of silver nitrate on A549 adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cells to provide insights into the molecular-level understanding of growth suppression mechanism involved in apoptosis. The influences of silver nitrate were studied via MTT assay, flow cytometry, immunocytochemical, confocal and transmission electron microscopy, and microarray assays. Silver nitrate showed inhibitory effects against A549 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner for 24, 48, and 72 h and induced apoptosis. The early and late apoptotic cells and depolarized mitochondrial membrane potential were determined by the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC

Yamamoto K, Kawamoto S, Mizutani Y, et al.
Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia with t(12;17)(p13;q21)/TAF15-ZNF384 and Other Chromosome Abnormalities.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2016; 149(3):165-170 [PubMed] Related Publications
The t(12;17)(p13;q11∼21) translocation is a very rare but recurrent cytogenetic aberration observed predominantly in early pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with CD19+CD10-CD33+ phenotype. This translocation was shown to form a fusion gene between TAF15 at 17q12 and ZNF384 at 12p13. On the other hand, der(1;18)(q10;q10) has been detected as a rare unbalanced whole-arm translocation leading to trisomy 1q in myeloid malignancies. We describe here the first case of mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL) with a t(12;17)(p13;q21)/TAF15-ZNF384, which also had der(1;18)(q10;q10) as an additional abnormality. A 74-year-old woman was diagnosed with MPAL, B/myeloid, because bone marrow blasts were positive for myeloperoxidase, CD19, and CD22. Chromosome analysis showed 46,XX, +1,der(1;18)(q10;q10),t(2;16)(q13;q13),t(12;17)(p13;q21). Expression of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion transcript was confirmed: TAF15 exon 6 was fused in-frame to ZNF384 exon 3. This type of fusion gene has been reported in 1 acute myeloid leukemia case and 3 ALL cases. Thus, at present, it is difficult to find a specific association between the structure of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion gene and the leukemia phenotype. The TAF15-ZNF384 fusion may occur in early common progenitor cells that could differentiate into both the myeloid and lymphoid lineages. Furthermore, der(1;18)(q10;q10) might play some role in the appearance of an additional myeloid phenotype.

Kim SK, Park YK
Ewing sarcoma: a chronicle of molecular pathogenesis.
Hum Pathol. 2016; 55:91-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sarcomas have traditionally been classified according to their chromosomal alterations regardless of whether they accompany simple or complex genetic changes. Ewing sarcoma, a classic small round cell bone tumor, is a well-known mesenchymal malignancy that results from simple sarcoma-specific genetic alterations. The genetic alterations are translocations between genes of the TET/FET family (TLS/FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15) and genes of the E26 transformation-specific (ETS) family. In this review, we intend to summarize a chronicle of molecular findings of Ewing sarcoma including recent advances and explain resultant molecular pathogenesis.

Kume K, Ikeda M, Miura S, et al.
α-Amanitin Restrains Cancer Relapse from Drug-Tolerant Cell Subpopulations via TAF15.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:25895 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer relapse occurs with substantial frequency even after treatment with curative intent. Here we studied drug-tolerant colonies (DTCs), which are subpopulations of cancer cells that survive in the presence of drugs. Proteomic characterization of DTCs identified stemness- and epithelial-dominant subpopulations, but functional screening suggested that DTC formation was regulated at the transcriptional level independent from protein expression patterns. We consistently found that α-amanitin, an RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) inhibitor, effectively inhibited DTCs by suppressing TAF15 expression, which binds to RNA to modulate transcription and RNA processing. Sequential administration of α-amanitin and cisplatin extended overall survival in a cancer-relapse mouse model, namely peritonitis carcinomatosa. Therefore, post-treatment cancer relapse may occur through non-distinct subpopulations and may be effectively prevented by α-amanitin to disrupt transcriptional machinery, including TAF15.

Åman P, Dolatabadi S, Svec D, et al.
Regulatory mechanisms, expression levels and proliferation effects of the FUS-DDIT3 fusion oncogene in liposarcoma.
J Pathol. 2016; 238(5):689-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fusion oncogenes are among the most common types of oncogene in human cancers. The gene rearrangements result in new combinations of regulatory elements and functional protein domains. Here we studied a subgroup of sarcomas and leukaemias characterized by the FET (FUS, EWSR1, TAF15) family of fusion oncogenes, including FUS-DDIT3 in myxoid liposarcoma (MLS). We investigated the regulatory mechanisms, expression levels and effects of FUS-DDIT3 in detail. FUS-DDIT3 showed a lower expression than normal FUS at both the mRNA and protein levels, and single-cell analysis revealed a lack of correlation between FUS-DDIT3 and FUS expression. FUS-DDIT3 transcription was regulated by the FUS promotor, while its mRNA stability depended on the DDIT3 sequence. FUS-DDIT3 protein stability was regulated by protein interactions through the FUS part, rather than the leucine zipper containing DDIT3 part. In addition, in vitro as well as in vivo FUS-DDIT3 protein expression data displayed highly variable expression levels between individual MLS cells. Combined mRNA and protein analyses at the single-cell level showed that FUS-DDIT3 protein expression was inversely correlated to the expression of cell proliferation-associated genes. We concluded that FUS-DDIT3 is uniquely regulated at the transcriptional as well as the post-translational level and that its expression level is important for MLS tumour development. The FET fusion oncogenes are potentially powerful drug targets and detailed knowledge about their regulation and functions may help in the development of novel treatments.

Theisen ER, Pishas KI, Saund RS, Lessnick SL
Therapeutic opportunities in Ewing sarcoma: EWS-FLI inhibition via LSD1 targeting.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(14):17616-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive primary pediatric bone tumor, often diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. A pathognomonic reciprocal chromosomal translocation results in a fusion gene coding for a protein which derives its N-terminus from a FUS/EWS/TAF15 (FET) protein family member, commonly EWS, and C-terminus containing the DNA-binding domain of an ETS transcription factor, commonly FLI1. Nearly 85% of cases express the EWS-FLI protein which functions as a transcription factor and drives oncogenesis. As the primary genomic lesion and a protein which is not expressed in normal cells, disrupting EWS-FLI function is an attractive therapeutic strategy for Ewing sarcoma. However, transcription factors are notoriously difficult targets for the development of small molecules. Improved understanding of the oncogenic mechanisms employed by EWS-FLI to hijack normal cellular programming has uncovered potential novel approaches to pharmacologically block EWS-FLI function. In this review we examine targeting the chromatin regulatory enzymes recruited to conspire in oncogenesis with a focus on the histone lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). LSD1 inhibitors are being aggressively investigated in acute myeloid leukemia and the results of early clinical trials will help inform the future use of LSD1 inhibitors in sarcoma. High LSD1 expression is observed in Ewing sarcoma patient samples and mechanistic and preclinical data suggest LSD1 inhibition globally disrupts the function of EWS-ETS proteins.

Schwartz JC, Cech TR, Parker RR
Biochemical Properties and Biological Functions of FET Proteins.
Annu Rev Biochem. 2015; 84:355-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
Members of the FET protein family, consisting of FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15, bind to RNA and contribute to the control of transcription, RNA processing, and the cytoplasmic fates of messenger RNAs in metazoa. FET proteins can also bind DNA, which may be important in transcription and DNA damage responses. FET proteins are of medical interest because chromosomal rearrangements of their genes promote various sarcomas and because point mutations in FUS or TAF15 can cause neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar dementia. Recent results suggest that both the normal and pathological effects of FET proteins are modulated by low-complexity or prion-like domains, which can form higher-order assemblies with novel interaction properties. Herein, we review FET proteins with an emphasis on how the biochemical properties of FET proteins may relate to their biological functions and to pathogenesis.

Campos-Melo D, Droppelmann CA, Volkening K, Strong MJ
RNA-binding proteins as molecular links between cancer and neurodegeneration.
Biogerontology. 2014; 15(6):587-610 [PubMed] Related Publications
For many years, epidemiological studies have suggested an association between cancer and neurodegenerative disorders-two disease processes that seemingly have little in common. Although these two disease processes share disruptions in a wide range of cellular pathways, including cell survival, cell death and the cell cycle, the end result is very divergent: uncontrolled cell survival and proliferation in cancer and progressive neuronal cell death in neurodegeneration. Despite the clinical data connecting these two disease processes, little is known about the molecular links between them. Among the mechanisms affected in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, alterations in RNA metabolism are obtaining significant attention given the critical role for RNA transcription, maturation, transport, stability, degradation and translation in normal cellular function. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are integral to each stage of RNA metabolism through their participation in the formation of ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs). RBPs have a broad range of functions including posttranscriptional regulation of mRNA stability, splicing, editing and translation, mRNA export and localization, mRNA polyadenylation and miRNA biogenesis, ultimately impacting the expression of every single gene in the cell. In this review, we examine the evidence for RBPs as being key a molecular linkages between cancer and neurodegeneration.

Broehm CJ, Wu J, Gullapalli RR, Bocklage T
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma with a t(9;16)(q22;p11.2) resulting in a NR4A3-FUS fusion.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(6):276-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a rare neoplasm characterized by rearrangement of NR4A3. A t(9;22)(q22;q12), creating a fusion protein of EWSR1 and NR4A3, has been reported as a unique, recurring translocation in most cases. Reported variant translocations have resulted in fusion of NR4A3 with three other genes: TAF15, TCF12, and TFG. We report a case of EMC in a 59-year-old man who presented with a 6-month history of an enlarging mass in the proximal right thigh. The karyotype of fresh tissue from tumor taken at incisional biopsy revealed a t(9;16)(q22;p11.2). There was no evidence of an EWSR1 rearrangement by dual-color break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Dual-color FISH probes revealed fusion of NR4A3 and FUS, a member of the TET family of genes, which includes EWSR1 and TAF15. Break-apart FISH probe results confirmed rearrangement of FUS. These findings show that a fusion product of FUS and NR4A3 may be an additional pathway to development of EMC.

Agaram NP, Zhang L, Sung YS, et al.
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma with non-EWSR1-NR4A3 variant fusions correlate with rhabdoid phenotype and high-grade morphology.
Hum Pathol. 2014; 45(5):1084-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas (EMC) are rare soft tissue sarcomas with distinctive histology and uncertain histogenesis, characterized by Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1-nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 3 (EWSR1-NR4A3) fusion in 75% of the cases. A smaller proportion of cases show NR4A3 fused to other gene partners including TATA binding protein-associated factor 15 (TAF15), transcription factor 12 (TCF12), and TRK-fused gene (TFG). The impact of various gene fusions on morphology and outcome has not been previously evaluated. We investigated 26 consecutive EMCs and correlated the genetic findings with morphology and clinical outcome. There were 5 females and 21 males (median age, 49.5 years). Mean size of the tumors was 11 cm. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed EWSR1-NR4A3 gene fusion in 16 cases (62%), TAF15-NR4A3 gene fusion in 7 cases (27%), and TCF12-NR4A3 gene fusion in 1 case (4%). Two cases showed only NR4A3 gene rearrangements. Morphologically, most EWSR1-rearranged tumors (10/16) showed low cellularity, minimal cytologic atypia, and low mitotic counts. In contrast, 80% of EMCs with variant (non-EWSR1) NR4A3 gene fusions (TAF15, TCF12) had high-grade morphology with increased cellularity, proliferation, and cytologic atypia, showing a plasmacytoid/rhabdoid morphology in half the cases. Follow-up showed that only 1 of 16 patients with EWSR1-rearranged tumors died of disease, in contrast to 3 (43%) of 7 TAF15-rearranged tumors. In conclusion, EMCs with variant NR4A3 gene fusions show a higher incidence of rhabdoid phenotype, high-grade morphology, and a more aggressive outcome compared with the EWSR1-NR4A3 positive tumors. Furthermore, fluorescence in situ hybridization assay for NR4A3, along with EWSR1, may be an additional ancillary test to confirm diagnosis of EMCs.

Stacchiotti S, Pantaleo MA, Astolfi A, et al.
Activity of sunitinib in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(9):1657-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a rare soft tissue sarcoma, marked by NR4A3 rearrangement. Herein we report on the activity of sunitinib in a series of 10 patients, strengthening what initially observed in two cases.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: From July 2011, 10 patients with progressive metastatic translocated EMC have been consecutively treated with sunitinib 37.5mg/day, on a named-use basis. In an attempt to interpret the activity of sunitinib in EMC, genotype/phenotype correlations were carried out by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses. Moreover, transcriptome, immunohistochemical and biochemical analyses of a limited set of samples were performed focusing on some putative targets of sunitinib.
RESULTS: Eight of 10 patients are still on therapy. Six patients had a Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST) partial response (PR), two were stable, two progressed. Positron emission tomography (PET) was consistent in 6/6 evaluable cases. One patient underwent surgery after sunitinib, with evidence of a pathologic response. At a median follow-up of 8.5 months (range 2-28), no secondary resistance was detected. Median progression free survival (PFS) has not been reached. Interestingly, all responsive cases turned out to express the typical EWSR1-NR4A3 fusion, while refractory cases carried the alternative TAF15-NR4A3 fusion. Among putative sunitinib targets, only RET was expressed and activated in analysed samples.
CONCLUSIONS: This report confirms the therapeutic activity of sunitinib in EMC. Genotype/phenotype analyses support a correlation between response and EWSR1-NR4A3 fusion. Involvement of RET deserves further investigation.

Benini S, Cocchi S, Gamberi G, et al.
Diagnostic utility of molecular investigation in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
J Mol Diagn. 2014; 16(3):314-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma is characterized by the reciprocal chromosomal translocation t(9;22) and the resultant fused gene EWS RNA-binding protein 1 and nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 3 (EWSR1-NR4A3). A second cytogenetic rearrangement t(9;17) involves the genes NR4A3 and TAF 15 RNA polymerase II, TATA box binding protein (TBP)-associated factor (TAF15). Less frequent fusion transcript variants of the NR4A3 gene, transcription factor 12 (TCF12)-NR4A3 and TRK-fused gene (TFG)-NR4A3, are associated with t(9;15) and t(9;3) respectively. The samples from 42 patients with extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma were examined for the presence of EWSR1-NR4A3, TAF15-NR4A3, TCF12-NR4A3, and TFG-NR4A3 fusion transcripts by using RT-PCR. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed to analyze the status of EWSR1 and NR4A3 genes. The fusion transcripts were detected in 34 of 42 samples (81%); the presence of an EWSR1 or NR4A3 gene rearrangements were detected in 8 of 42 samples (19%) which had tested negative for all fusion transcripts detected by RT-PCR. Of the 34 samples evaluable for fusion transcripts, 23 yielded positive results for EWSR1-NR4A3, 10 for TAF15-NR4A3, and 1 for TCF12-NR4A3. The combination of RT-PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization on frozen and paraffin-embedded tissue is a sensitive and specific method for molecular detection of recurrent translocations and is an important ancillary method to establish the diagnosis of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.

Bidkhori G, Narimani Z, Hosseini Ashtiani S, et al.
Reconstruction of an integrated genome-scale co-expression network reveals key modules involved in lung adenocarcinoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e67552 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our goal of this study was to reconstruct a "genome-scale co-expression network" and find important modules in lung adenocarcinoma so that we could identify the genes involved in lung adenocarcinoma. We integrated gene mutation, GWAS, CGH, array-CGH and SNP array data in order to identify important genes and loci in genome-scale. Afterwards, on the basis of the identified genes a co-expression network was reconstructed from the co-expression data. The reconstructed network was named "genome-scale co-expression network". As the next step, 23 key modules were disclosed through clustering. In this study a number of genes have been identified for the first time to be implicated in lung adenocarcinoma by analyzing the modules. The genes EGFR, PIK3CA, TAF15, XIAP, VAPB, Appl1, Rab5a, ARF4, CLPTM1L, SP4, ZNF124, LPP, FOXP1, SOX18, MSX2, NFE2L2, SMARCC1, TRA2B, CBX3, PRPF6, ATP6V1C1, MYBBP1A, MACF1, GRM2, TBXA2R, PRKAR2A, PTK2, PGF and MYO10 are among the genes that belong to modules 1 and 22. All these genes, being implicated in at least one of the phenomena, namely cell survival, proliferation and metastasis, have an over-expression pattern similar to that of EGFR. In few modules, the genes such as CCNA2 (Cyclin A2), CCNB2 (Cyclin B2), CDK1, CDK5, CDC27, CDCA5, CDCA8, ASPM, BUB1, KIF15, KIF2C, NEK2, NUSAP1, PRC1, SMC4, SYCE2, TFDP1, CDC42 and ARHGEF9 are present that play a crucial role in cell cycle progression. In addition to the mentioned genes, there are some other genes (i.e. DLGAP5, BIRC5, PSMD2, Src, TTK, SENP2, PSMD2, DOK2, FUS and etc.) in the modules.

Ballarino M, Jobert L, Dembélé D, et al.
TAF15 is important for cellular proliferation and regulates the expression of a subset of cell cycle genes through miRNAs.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(39):4646-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
TAF15 (formerly TAFII68) is a member of the FET (FUS, EWS, TAF15) family of RNA- and DNA-binding proteins whose genes are frequently translocated in sarcomas. By performing global gene expression profiling, we found that TAF15 knockdown affects the expression of a large subset of genes, of which a significant percentage is involved in cell cycle and cell death. In agreement, TAF15 depletion had a growth-inhibitory effect and resulted in increased apoptosis. Among the TAF15-regulated genes, targets of microRNAs (miRNAs) generated from the onco-miR-17 locus were overrepresented, with CDKN1A/p21 being the top miRNAs-targeted gene. Interestingly, the levels of onco-miR-17 locus coded miRNAs (miR-17-5p and miR-20a) were decreased upon TAF15 depletion and shown to affect the post-transcriptional regulation of TAF15-dependent genes, such as CDKN1A/p21. Thus, our results demonstrate that TAF15 is required to regulate gene expression of cell cycle regulatory genes post-transcriptionally through a pathway involving miRNAs. The findings that high TAF15 levels are needed for rapid cellular proliferation and that endogenous TAF15 levels decrease during differentiation strongly suggest that TAF15 is a key regulator of maintaining a highly proliferative rate of cellular homeostasis.

Thorsen J, Micci F, Heim S
Identification of chromosomal breakpoints of cancer-specific translocations by rolling circle amplification and long-distance inverse PCR.
Cancer Genet. 2011; 204(8):458-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
We describe the use of rolling circle amplification and long-distance inverse polymerase chain reaction (LD-PCR) to identify chromosomal breakpoints and fusion genes in cancer cells carrying acquired translocations. This approach produced enough template for 100 inverse PCR reaction from as little as 20 ng of patient DNA, consequently enabling the use of up to 500 times less patient DNA compared to standard inverse PCR. The method is based on identifying restriction sites in a putative breakpoint area in a cancer-specific translocation, followed by circularization and amplification of the restriction DNA products by using T4 DNA ligase and Phi29 enzyme, respectively. The amplified DNA thus obtained is used as a template in long-distance inverse PCR to amplify and detect the precise breakpoint of the chromosomal rearrangements in question by sequencing of the obtained PCR products. We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach by identifying fusion genes TAF15-ZNF384 (brought about by a (12;17)(p13;q21) translocation) and BCR-ABL1 (produced by a (9:22)(q34;q11.2) translocation) in five leukemia samples. The application of rolling circle amplification before inverse PCR may be particularly useful in the search for chromosomal breakpoints and fusion genes brought about by new translocations when only minute amounts of DNA are available from the sampled malignant lesion.

Sankar S, Lessnick SL
Promiscuous partnerships in Ewing's sarcoma.
Cancer Genet. 2011; 204(7):351-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ewing's sarcoma is a highly aggressive bone and soft tissue tumor of children and young adults. At the molecular genetic level Ewing's sarcoma is characterized by a balanced reciprocal translocation, t(11;22)(q24;q12), which encodes an oncogenic fusion protein and transcription factor EWS/FLI. This tumor-specific chimeric fusion retains the amino terminus of EWS, a member of the TET (TLS/EWS/TAF15) family of RNA-binding proteins, and the carboxy terminus of FLI, a member of the ETS family of transcription factors. In addition to EWS/FLI, variant translocation fusions belonging to the TET/ETS family have been identified in Ewing's sarcoma. These studies solidified the importance of TET/ETS fusions in the pathogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma and have since been used as diagnostic markers for the disease. EWS fusions with non-ETS transcription factor family members have been described in sarcomas that are clearly distinct from Ewing's sarcoma. However, in recent years there have been reports of rare fusions in "Ewing's-like tumors" that harbor the amino-terminus of EWS fused to the carboxy-terminal DNA or chromatin-interacting domains contributed by non-ETS proteins. This review aims to summarize the growing list of fusion oncogenes that characterize Ewing's sarcoma and Ewing's-like tumors and highlights important questions that need to be answered to further support the existing concept that Ewing's sarcoma is strictly a "TET/ETS" fusion-driven malignancy. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of action of the various different fusion oncogenes will provide better insights into the biology underlying this rare but important solid tumor.

Nyquist KB, Thorsen J, Zeller B, et al.
Identification of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion gene in two new cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a t(12;17)(p13;q12).
Cancer Genet. 2011; 204(3):147-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report the clinical, cytogenetic, and molecular data of two patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia characterized by the rare translocation t(12;17)(p13;q12). This translocation has been reported in 25 cases and its putative molecular consequence, the formation of a TAF15-ZNF384 fusion gene, in only six cases. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization followed by long-range polymerase chain reaction to find the translocation breakpoints. A fusion between TAF15 and ZNF384 was identified and confirmed by nucleotide sequencing. Our results confirm that the t(12;17)(p13;q12) leading to a TAF15-ZNF384 fusion gene characterizes a specific subgroup of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and suggest that two different breakpoints in TAF15 may be involved. Whether the two variants of the TAF15-ZNF384 fusion that these correspond to are in any way hematologically or prognostically different, is unknown.

Spitzer JI, Ugras S, Runge S, et al.
mRNA and protein levels of FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15 are upregulated in liposarcoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2011; 50(5):338-47 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Translocations or mutations of FUS, EWSR1, and TAF15 (FET) result in distinct genetic diseases. N-terminal translocations of any FET protein to a series of transcription factors yields chimeric proteins that contribute to sarcomagenesis, whereas mutations in the conserved COOH-terminal domain of wild-type FUS were recently shown to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We thus investigated whether the loss of one FUS allele by translocation in liposarcoma may be followed by mutations in either the remaining FUS allele or the paralogous EWSR1. Furthermore, we investigated the strength of the FET promoters and their contributions to sarcomagenesis given the proteins' frequent involvement in oncogenic translocations. We sequenced the respective genomic regions of both FUS and EWSR1 in 96 liposarcoma samples. Additionally, we determined FET transcript and protein levels in several liposarcoma cell lines. We did not observe sequence variations in either FUS or EWSR1. However, protein copy numbers reached an impressive 0.9 and 5.5 Mio of FUS and EWSR1 per tumor cell, respectively. Compared with adipose-derived stem cells, FUS and EWSR1 protein expression levels were elevated on average 28.6-fold and 7.3-fold, respectively. TAF15 mRNA levels were elevated on average 3.9-fold, although with a larger variation between samples. Interestingly, elevated TAF15 mRNA levels did not translate to strongly elevated protein levels, consistent with its infrequent occurrence as translocation partner in tumors. These results suggest that the powerful promoters of FET genes are predominantly responsible for the oncogenic effect of transcription factor translocations in sarcomas.

Göransson M, Andersson MK, Forni C, et al.
The myxoid liposarcoma FUS-DDIT3 fusion oncoprotein deregulates NF-kappaB target genes by interaction with NFKBIZ.
Oncogene. 2009; 28(2):270-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
FUS (also called TLS), EWSR1 and TAF15 (also called TAF2N) are related genes involved in tumor type-specific fusion oncogenes in human malignancies. The FUS-DDIT3 fusion oncogene results from a t(12;16)(q13;p11) chromosome translocation and has a causative role in the initiation of myxoid/round cell liposarcomas (MLS/RCLS). The FUS-DDIT3 protein induces increased expression of the CAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)-controlled gene IL8, and the N-terminal FUS part is required for this activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showed that FUS-DDIT3 binds the IL8 promoter. Expression studies of the IL8 promoter harboring a C/EBP-NF-kappaB composite site pinpointed the importance of NF-kappaB for IL8 expression in FUS-DDIT3-expressing cells. We therefore probed for possible interaction of FUS-DDIT3 with members of the NF-kappaB family. The nuclear factor NFKBIZ colocalizes with FUS-DDIT3 in nuclear structures, and immunoprecipitation experiments showed that FUS-DDIT3 binds the C-terminal of NFKBIZ. We also report that additional NF-kappaB-controlled genes are upregulated at the mRNA level in FUS-DDIT3-expressing cell lines and they can be induced by NFKBIZ. Taken together, the results indicate that FUS-DDIT3 deregulates some NF-kappaB-controlled genes through interactions with NFKBIZ. Similar mechanisms may be a part of the transformation process in other tumor types carrying FUS, EWSR1 and TAF15 containing fusion oncogenes.

Kim S, Lee HJ, Jun HJ, Kim J
The hTAF II 68-TEC fusion protein functions as a strong transcriptional activator.
Int J Cancer. 2008; 122(11):2446-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is caused by a chromosomal translocation that involves TEC (translocated in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma), and either EWS (Ewing's sarcoma) or hTAF(II)68 (human TATA-binding protein-associated factor II 68), which generates EWS-TEC or hTAF(II)68-TEC fusion proteins, respectively. Although there has been a great deal of progress in characterizing EWS-TEC, there is relatively little known about the biological function of hTAF(II)68-TEC. We have examined the functional consequences of the fusion of the amino terminal domain (NTD) of hTAF(II)68 to TEC in EMC. The chimeric gene encodes a nuclear protein that binds DNA with the same sequence specificity as parental TEC. Nuclear localization of hTAF(II)68-TEC was dependent on the DNA binding domain, and we identified a cluster of basic amino acids in the DNA binding domain, KRRR, that specifically mediate the nuclear localization of hTAF(II)68-TEC. The transactivation activity of hTAF(II)68-TEC was higher than TEC towards a known target promoter that contained several TEC binding sites. Finally, deletion analysis of hTAF(II)68-TEC indicated that the hTAF(II)68 NTD, and the AF1 and AF2 domains of hTAF(II)68-TEC are necessary for full transactivation potential. These results suggest that the oncogenic effect of the t(9;17) translocation may be due to the hTAF(II)68-TEC chimeric protein and that fusion of the hTAF(II)68 NTD to the TEC protein produces a gain of function chimeric product.

Riggi N, Cironi L, Suvà ML, Stamenkovic I
Sarcomas: genetics, signalling, and cellular origins. Part 1: The fellowship of TET.
J Pathol. 2007; 213(1):4-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sarcomas comprise some of the most aggressive solid tumours that, for the most part, respond poorly to chemo- and radiation therapy and are associated with a sombre prognosis when surgical removal cannot be performed or is incomplete. Partly because of their lower frequency, sarcomas have not been studied as intensively as carcinomas and haematopoietic malignancies, and the molecular mechanisms that underlie their pathogenesis are only beginning to be understood. Even more enigmatic is the identity of the primary cells from which these tumours originate. Over the past 25 years, however, several non-random chromosomal translocations have been found to be associated with defined sarcomas. Each of these translocations generates a fusion gene believed to be directly related to the pathogenesis of the sarcoma in which it is expressed. The corresponding fusion proteins provide a unique tool not only to study the process of sarcoma development, but also to identify cells that are permissive for their putative oncogenic properties. This is the first of two reviews that cover the mechanisms whereby specific fusion/mutant gene products participate in sarcoma development and the cellular context that may provide the necessary permissiveness for their expression and oncogenicity. Part 1 of the review focuses on sarcomas that express fusion genes containing TET gene family products, including EWSR1, TLS/FUS, and TAFII68. Part 2 (J Pathol 2007; DOI: 10.1002/path.2008) summarizes our current understanding of the genetic and cellular origins of sarcomas expressing fusion genes exclusive of TET family members; it also covers soft tissue malignancies harbouring specific mutations in RTK-encoding genes, the prototype of which are gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST).

Un F
G1 arrest induction represents a critical determinant for cisplatin cytotoxicity in G1 checkpoint-retaining human cancers.
Anticancer Drugs. 2007; 18(4):411-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cisplatin has been used effectively to treat various human cancer types; yet, the precise mechanism underlying its cytotoxicity remains unknown. In eukaryotes, progression through G1 is monitored by a checkpoint, which executes G1 arrest in the event of DNA damage to allow time for repair before initiating DNA replication. The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene is an integral component of the mammalian G1 checkpoint. The utility of the retinoblastoma gene as a therapeutic for human cancers has been investigated. Intriguingly, the cytotoxicity profile of the retinoblastoma gene therapy closely parallels the clinical targets of cisplatin. It prompted an investigation into the potential role of the checkpoint-induced G1 arrest in cisplatin cytotoxicity. Here, the evidence that G1 arrest induction represents a critical step in cisplatin-induced lytic path is presented. First, cisplatin-treated human cancer cells undergo a prolonged G1 arrest before dying. Second, triggering G1 arrest via infection with a recombinant adenovirus expressing the human retinoblastoma gene is sufficient to potentiate lethality in the absence of cisplatin. Third, the extent of the lethality induced correlates with the G1-arresting potential of the ectopically expressed human retinoblastoma polypeptide. Fourth, human cancer cells resistant to cisplatin do not undergo G1 arrest despite cisplatin treatment. The above mechanism may be exploited to develop therapeutics that preserve the efficacy of cisplatin yet bypass its mutagenicity associated with the formation of secondary tumors.

Law WJ, Cann KL, Hicks GG
TLS, EWS and TAF15: a model for transcriptional integration of gene expression.
Brief Funct Genomic Proteomic. 2006; 5(1):8-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multifunctional proteins are demonstrating that gene expression is not a series of compartmentalized events beginning with transcription and culminating in delivery of mature mRNA into the cytoplasm, but an integrated pathway of transcription, splicing, RNA metabolism and subcellular targeting of translation. One such multifunctional family is made up of the RNA-binding proteins TLS, EWS and TAF15. These three proteins each contribute a potent transcriptional activation domain to oncogenic fusion proteins, and the formation of these fusion genes are thought to be the primary causes of their associated cancers. Wild-type TLS, EWS and TAF15 can function as classical transcription factors in addition to their better-known functions in splicing and mRNA transport. The interaction between TLS and the stress-response protein YB-1 is an example of how these proteins can induce a multi-faceted change in gene expression, as they can interact to induce changes in both transcription and splicing of target genes. Investigating the multiple functions of TLS, EWS and TAF15 will enhance our understanding of gene expression as a whole, and also allow us to better understand how these proteins may be contributing to the oncogenic pathways the associated fusion proteins initiate.

Tateishi U, Hasegawa T, Nojima T, et al.
MRI features of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma.
Skeletal Radiol. 2006; 35(1):27-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To describe the MRI features of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma in comparison with clinicopathologic findings.
DESIGN AND PATIENTS: The study comprised 12 male subjects and seven female subjects with a mean age of 53 years (range 16-76 years). MRI findings, evaluated by two radiologists with agreement by consensus, were compared for histopathologic features.
RESULTS: The tumor size ranged from 2.0 cm to 20.0 cm (mean 8.9 cm). Fusion gene transcripts could be detected in 13 (68%) of the 19 cases: EWS-CHN in nine cases, TAF2N-CHN in three, and TFG-TCH in one. There were six fusion-negative cases. Signal characteristics on T1-weighted and T2-weighted MR images were non-specific with regard to each cytogenetic variant. Peripheral enhancement was seen more frequently in tumors with the EWS-CHN variant than in those with other cytogenetic variants. The characteristic pattern of enhancement corresponded to the presence of fibrous septa and peripheral areas of high cellularity within lobules, by correlation with pathologic findings. All cases with TAF2N-CHN or TFG-TCH variants showed invasion of extracompartmental structure, bone, or vessels.
CONCLUSION: Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma is an uncommon soft-tissue malignancy that may be recognized by MRI features of multi-lobular soft-tissue mass often invading extracompartmental, bony, and vascular structures.

Hisaoka M, Okamoto S, Yokoyama K, Hashimoto H
Coexpression of NOR1 and SIX3 proteins in extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas without detectable NR4A3 fusion genes.
Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2004; 152(2):101-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a rare mesenchymal tumor cytogenetically characterized by reciprocal translocations, such as t(9;22)(q22;q12) and t(9;17)(q22;q11), which result in EWSR1/NR4A3 and TAF15/NR4A3 fusion genes (alias EWS/NOR1, TAF2N/NOR1), respectively. NOR1 is an orphan nuclear receptor and acts as a transcription factor that can bind to its putative coactivator, SIX3. Although the NOR1 fusion protein has been implicated in oncogenesis of EMC, a small fraction of EMC lacks detectable rearrangements of the NR4A3 gene or 9q22. We report a case of EMC with no detectable NR4A3 gene alterations, as assessed with various molecular techniques including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Southern blotting, interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization, and PCR single-strand conformation polymorphism-but with coexpression of native NOR1 and SIX3. In our survey of another 18 EMCs, we identified one more case expressing both NOR1 and SIX3 but lacking NR4A3 fusion. Fourteen tumors with detectable NR4A3 fusion genes (EWSR1-NR4A3; TAF15-NR4A3) expressed neither native NOR1 nor SIX3. SIX3 expression is normally confined specifically to the developing eye and fetal forebrain, although the expression of NR4A3 is largely ubiquitous. Our data suggest that aberrant coexpression of NOR1 and SIX3 is a potential alternative mechanism underlying the development of EMC.

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