Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is the most frequent B-cell lymphoma in childhood. Genetically, it is characterized by the presence of an IG-MYC translocation which is supposed to be an initiating but not sufficient event in Burkitt lymphomagenesis. In a recent whole-genome sequencing study of four cases, we showed that the gene encoding the ras homolog family member A (RHOA) is recurrently mutated in pediatric BL. Here, we analyzed RHOA by Sanger sequencing in a cohort of 101 pediatric B-cell lymphoma patients treated according to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (NHL-BFM) study protocols. Among the 78 BLs in this series, an additional five had RHOA mutations resulting in a total incidence of 7/82 (8.5%) with c.14G>A (p.R5Q) being present in three cases. Modeling the mutational effect suggests that most of them inactivate the RHOA protein. Thus, deregulation of RHOA by mutation is a recurrent event in Burkitt lymphomagenesis in children.
Probability of event-free survival (pEFS) in pediatric T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma is about 80%, whereas survival in relapsed patients is very poor. No stratification criteria have been established so far. Recently, activating NOTCH1 mutations were reported to be associated with favorable prognosis, and loss of heterozygosity at chromosome 6q (LOH6q) was reported to be associated with increased relapse risk. The current project was intended to evaluate the prognostic effect of these markers. Mutations in hot spots of NOTCH1 and FBXW7 were analyzed in 116 patients. Concerning LOH6q status, 118 patients were investigated, using microsatellite marker analysis, in addition to an earlier reported cohort of 99 available patients. Ninety-two cases were evaluable for both analyses. All patients were treated with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma-Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster group (BFM)-type treatment. LOH6q was observed in 12% of patients (25/217) and associated with unfavorable prognosis (pEFS 27% ± 9% vs 86% ± 3%; P < .0001). In 60% (70/116) of the patients, NOTCH1 mutations were detected and associated with favorable prognosis (pEFS 84% ± 5% vs 66% ± 7%; P = .021). Interestingly, NOTCH1 mutations were rarely observed in patients with LOH in 6q16. Both prognostic markers will be used as stratification criteria in coming Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma-BFM trials.
Proper regulation of the cell cycle plays a fundamental role in any organism, as it impacts cellular division, differentiation and death. In this intricate process, progression through the phases of the cell cycle relies on various cyclin-cyclin-dependent kinase protein complexes that are regulated by multiple cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors. Ultimately, the transcription factor E2F is influenced by this cascade and regulates the mRNA levels of proteins needed for cell cycle progression. Thus, disturbance of cell cycle regulation has been shown to be responsible for various types of cancer including adult and pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoma (T-ALL and T-LBL, respectively), which are suggested to arise due to developmental arrest of precursor T lymphoblasts at certain early time points in T-cell maturation. Therapy optimization in recent years has resulted in good prognoses for patients of both malignancies. Here, we provide an overview of current knowledge of the cell cycle and its regulators with respect to pediatric T-ALL and T-LBL, both on molecular events underlying the disturbance of cell cycle regulation and on clinical parameters of affected children.
Besides representing the sarcomeric thick filaments, myosins are involved in many cellular transport and motility processes. Myosin heavy chains are grouped into 18 classes. Here we show that in Drosophila, the unconventional group XVIII myosin heavy chain-like (Mhcl) is transcribed in the mesoderm of embryos, most prominently in founder cells (FCs). An ectopically expressed GFP-tagged Mhcl localizes in the growing muscle at cell-cell contacts towards the attached fusion competent myoblast (FCM). We further show that Mhcl interacts in vitro with the essential fusion protein Rolling pebbles 7 (Rols7), which is part of a protein complex established at cell contact sites (Fusion-restricted Myogenic-Adhesive Structure or FuRMAS). Here, branched F-actin is likely needed to widen the fusion pore and to integrate the myoblast into the growing muscle. We show that the localization of Mhcl is dependent on the presence of Rols7, and we postulate that Mhcl acts at the FuRMAS as an actin motor protein. We further show that Mhcl deficient embryos develop a wild-type musculature. We thus propose that Mhcl functions redundantly to other myosin heavy chains in myoblasts. Lastly, we found that the protein is detectable adjacent to the sarcomeric Z-discs, suggesting an additional function in mature muscles.
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