The identification of recurrent gene fusions in common epithelial cancers--for example, TMPRSS2/ERG in prostate cancer and EML4/ALK in nonsmall cell lung carcinomas--has raised the question of whether fusion genes are pathogenetically important also in ovarian carcinomas. The first recurrent fusion transcript in serous ovarian carcinomas was reported by Salzman et al. in 2011, who used deep paired-end sequencing to detect the fusion gene ESRRA-C11orf20 in 10 out of 67 (15%) serous ovarian carcinomas examined, a finding that holds great promise for our understanding of ovarian tumorigenesis as well as, potentially, for new treatment strategies. We wanted to test how frequent the ESRRA/C11orf20 fusion is in ovarian carcinomas of all subtypes, and therefore examined a series of 230 ovarian carcinomas of which 197 were of the serous subtype and 163 of the 197 were of stages III and IV--that is, the very same carcinoma subset where the fusion transcript had been found. We performed PCR and high-throughput sequencing analyses in search of the fusion transcript. We used the same primers described previously for the detection of the fusion and the same primer combination, but found no ESRRA/C11orf20 fusion in our series. A synthetic DNA plasmid containing the reported ESRRA/C11orf20 fusion was included as a positive control for our PCR experiments. Data from high-throughput sequencing of 23 ovarian carcinomas were screened in search of alternative partner(s) for the ESRRA and/or C11orf20 gene, but none was found. We conclude that the frequency of the ESRRA/C11orf20 gene fusion in serous ovarian carcinomas of stages III and IV must be considerable less than that reported previously (0/163 in our experience compared with 10/67 in the previous study). At the very least, it seems clear that the said fusion cannot be a common pathogenetic event in this tumor type.
Cancer-specific fusion genes are often caused by cytogenetically visible chromosomal rearrangements such as translocations, inversions, deletions or insertions, they can be the targets of molecular therapy, they play a key role in the accurate diagnosis and classification of neoplasms, and they are of prognostic impact. The identification of novel fusion genes in various neoplasms therefore not only has obvious research importance, but is also potentially of major clinical significance. The "traditional" methodology to detect them began with cytogenetic analysis to find the chromosomal rearrangement, followed by utilization of fluorescence in situ hybridization techniques to find the probe which spans the chromosomal breakpoint, and finally molecular cloning to localize the breakpoint more precisely and identify the genes fused by the chromosomal rearrangement. Although laborious, the above-mentioned sequential approach is robust and reliable and a number of fusion genes have been cloned by such means. Next generation sequencing (NGS), mainly RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), has opened up new possibilities to detect fusion genes even when cytogenetic aberrations are cryptic or information about them is unknown. However, NGS suffers from the shortcoming of identifying as "fusion genes" also many technical, biological and, perhaps in particular, clinical "false positives," thus making the assessment of which fusions are important and which are noise extremely difficult. The best way to overcome this risk of information overflow is, whenever reliable cytogenetic information is at hand, to compare karyotyping and sequencing data and concentrate exclusively on those suggested fusion genes that are found in chromosomal breakpoints. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Rare Cancers.
Mesothelioma is a rare but very aggressive tumor derived from mesothelial cells. A number of often complex but nonrandom cytogenetic abnormalities have been found in these tumors, resulting in loss of chromosome bands 14q32 and 22q12 in more than 35% of the cases. In this study, we used RNA sequencing to search for fusion transcripts in a mesothelioma carrying a t(14;22)(q32;q12) as the sole chromosomal aberration and found an EWSR1-YY1 and its reciprocal YY1-EWSR1 fusion transcript. Screening 15 additional cases of mesothelioma from which we had RNA but no cytogenetic information, we identified one more tumor carrying an EWSR1-YY1 fusion gene but not the reciprocal YY1-EWSR1 transcript. RT-polymerase chain reaction and sequencing showed that in both cases exon 8 of EWSR1 (nucleotide 1,139, accession number NM_013986 version 3, former exon 7 in sequence with accession number X66899) was fused to exon 2 of YY1 (nucleotide 1,160, accession number NM_003403 version 3). The EWSR1 breakpoint in exon 8 in the EWSR1-YY1 chimeric transcript is similar to what is found in other fusions involving EWSR1 such as EWSR1-FLI1, EWSR1-DDIT3, and EWSR1-ATF1. The EWSR1-YY1-encoded protein is an abnormal transcription factor with the transactivation domain of EWSR1 and the DNA-binding domain of YY1. This is the first study to detect a specific fusion gene in mesothelioma (the reason how frequent the EWSR1-YY1 fusion is remains uncertain) and also the first time that direct involvement of YY1 in oncogenesis has been demonstrated.
Endometrial stromal sarcomas (ESS) are genetically heterogeneous uterine tumors in which a JAZF1-SUZ12 chimeric gene resulting from the chromosomal translocation t(7;17)(p15;q21) as well as PHF1 rearrangements (in chromosomal band 6p21) with formation of JAZF1-PHF1, EPC1-PHF1, and MEAF6-PHF1 chimeras have been described. Here, we investigated two ESS characterized cytogenetically by the presence of a der(22)t(X;22)(p11;q13). Whole transcriptome sequencing one of the tumors identified a ZC3H7-BCOR chimeric transcript. Reverse transciptase-PCR with the ZC3H7B forward and BCOR reverse primer combinations confirmed the presence of a ZC3H7-BCOR chimeric transcript in both ESS carrying a der(22)t(X;22) but not in a control ESS with t(1;6) and the MEAF6-PHF1 fusion. Sequencing of the amplified cDNA fragments showed that in both cases ESS exon 10 of ZC3H7B (from 22q13; accession number NM_017590 version 4) was fused to exon 8 of BCOR (from Xp11; accession number NM_001123385 version 1). Reciprocal multiple BCOR-ZC3H7B cDNA fragments were amplified in only one case suggesting that ZC3H7B-BCOR, on the der(22)t(X;22), is the pathogenetically important fusion gene. The putative ZC3H7B-BCOR protein would contain the tetratricopeptide repeats and LD motif from ZC3H7B and the AF9 binding site (1093-1233aa), the 3 ankyrin repeats (1410-1509 aa), and the NSPC1 binding site of BCOR. Although the presence of these motifs suggests various functions of the chimeric protein, it is possible that its most important role may be in epigenetic regulation. Whether or not the (patho)genetic subsets JAZF1-SUZ12, PHF1 rearrangements, and ZC3H7B-BCOR correspond to any phenotypic, let alone clinically important, differences in ESS remain unknown.
Acute erythroid leukemia was diagnosed in a 4-month-old boy. Cytogenetic analysis of bone marrow (BM) cells showed a t(11;20)(p11;q11) translocation. RNA extracted from the BM was sequenced and analyzed for fusion transcripts using the software FusionMap. A ZMYND8-RELA fusion was ranked first. RT-PCR and direct sequencing verified the presence of an in frame ZMYND8-RELA chimeric transcript. Fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that the ZMYND8-RELA was located on the p12 band of der(11); therefore a cytogenetically invisible pericentric inversion in chromosome 11 must have taken place besides the translocation. The putative ZMYND8-RELA fusion protein contains the Zinc-PHD finger domain, a bromodomain, a PWWP domain, a MYND type of zinc finger of ZMYND8, and the entire RELA protein, indicating that it might act leukemogenically by influencing several cellular processes including the NF-kappa-B pathway.
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.
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a large, cold-adapted teleost that sustains long-standing commercial fisheries and incipient aquaculture. Here we present the genome sequence of Atlantic cod, showing evidence for complex thermal adaptations in its haemoglobin gene cluster and an unusual immune architecture compared to other sequenced vertebrates. The genome assembly was obtained exclusively by 454 sequencing of shotgun and paired-end libraries, and automated annotation identified 22,154 genes. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC)?II is a conserved feature of the adaptive immune system of jawed vertebrates, but we show that Atlantic cod has lost the genes for MHC?II, CD4 and invariant chain (Ii) that are essential for the function of this pathway. Nevertheless, Atlantic cod is not exceptionally susceptible to disease under natural conditions. We find a highly expanded number of MHC?I genes and a unique composition of its Toll-like receptor (TLR) families. This indicates how the Atlantic cod immune system has evolved compensatory mechanisms in both adaptive and innate immunity in the absence of MHC?II. These observations affect fundamental assumptions about the evolution of the adaptive immune system and its components in vertebrates.
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.
Sequencing of the human genome has led to most genes being available in BAC or PAC vectors. However, limited functional information has been assigned to most of these genes. Techniques for the manipulation and transfer of complete functional units on large DNA fragments into human cells are crucial for the analysis of complete genes in their natural genomic context. One limitation of the functional studies using these vectors is the low transfection frequency.
Mesenchymal chondrosarcomas (MCs) account for 3-10% of primary chondrosarcomas. The cytogenetic literature includes only ten such tumours with karyotypic information and no specific aberrations have been identified. Using a purely molecular genetic approach a HEY1-NCOA2 fusion gene was recently detected in 10 of 15 investigated MCs. The fusion probably arises through intrachromosomal rearrangement of chromosome arm 8 q. We report a new case of MC showing a t(1;5)(q42;q32) as the sole karyotypic aberration. Through FISH and whole transcriptome sequencing analysis we found a novel fusion between the IRF2BP2 gene and the transcription factor CDX1 gene arising from the translocation. The IRF2BP2-CDX1 has not formerly been described in human neoplasia. In our hospitals archives three more cases of MC were found, and we examined them looking for the supposedly more common HEY1-NCOA2 fusion, finding it in all three tumours but not in the case showing t(1;5) and IRF2BP2-CDX1 gene fusion. This demonstrates that genetic heterogeneity exists in mesenchymal chondrosarcoma.
A 10-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital because of anemia detected after a two week history of fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and weight loss. A bone marrow investigation confirmed a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia of the B-cell precursor phenotype. Chromosome G-banding analysis yielded the karyotype 46,XY,t(17;19)(q22;p13), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis showed rearrangement of the genes TCF3 (on 19p13; accession number NM_03200 version 3) and HLF (on 17q22; accession number NM_002126 version 4) with the generation of a TCF3-HLF chimera. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing analyses demonstrated the presence of two in-frame chimeric TCF3-HLF transcripts. In the first one, which corresponds to a type 2 fusion, exon 15 of TCF3 is fused to exon 4 of HLF. In the second, described here for the first time and named type 3, exon 14 of TCF3 is fused to exon 4 of HLF. Whether the type 3 chimeric transcript has the same DNA binding and transcriptional regulatory effect as type 1 and type 2 TCF3-HLF chimeras remains to be seen.
In the present study full-length cDNAs corresponding to three isoforms of intestinal fatty acid binding protein (fabp2) in Atlantic salmon were cloned and characterized. Gene expression of fabp2 was observed in all tissues investigated, although differences were observed between isoforms. The highest fabp2a1, fabp2a2, and fabp2b expression was in the intestine. A 15kDa protein, corresponding to putative Fabp2 protein, was identified by immunoblotting using anti-human Fabp2 antibody. Immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry confirmed that Fabp2 protein was present in most Atlantic salmon tissues. Similar to gene expression, intestinal tissues had the highest Fabp2 protein levels, decreasing gradually from proximal to distal intestine. During development of distal intestinal inflammation caused by dietary soybean meal from 0 to 21days, Fabp2 decreased significantly on both transcriptional and protein levels. The reduction in Fabp2 was preceded by a down regulation of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (ppar) alpha and gamma, fabp2s presumed regulatory proteins, and followed by a progressive increase in proliferating cell nuclear antigen (Pcna) staining. Results illustrate that the early decline of distal intestinal fabp2 was likely caused by a down regulation of their regulatory proteins, but at later time points reduced Fabp2 may largely be due to a less mature enterocyte population resulting from rapid cell turnover.
The upregulation of oncogenes and the formation of fusion genes are commonly observed in hematological malignancies with recurring balanced translocations. However, in some malignancies exhibiting balanced chromosomal rearrangements, neither oncogene deregulation nor generation of fusion genes appears to be involved, suggesting that other mechanisms are at play. In the rare myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) containing a t(2;11)(p21;q23-24) translocation, breakpoints near a microRNA locus, miR-125b-1, in 11q24 have been suggested to be pathogenetically involved. Here we report the detailed mapping and sequencing of the breakpoint located only 2 kilobases from miR-125b-1 in an MDS patient with a t(2;11)(p21;q23-24).
Rearrangement of chromosome band 6p21 is recurrent in endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS) and targets the PHF1 gene. So far, PHF1 was found to be the 3 partner in the JAZF1-PHF1 and EPC1-PHF1 chimeras but since the 6p21 rearrangements involve also other chromosomal translocation partners, other PHF1-fusions seem likely. Here, we show that PHF1 is recombined with a novel fusion partner, MEAF6 from 1p34, in an ESS carrying a t(1;6)(p34;p21) translocation as the sole karyotypic anomaly. 5-RACE, RT-PCR, and sequencing showed the presence of an MEAF6-PHF1 chimera in the tumor with exon 5 of MEAF6 being fused in-frame to exon 2 of PHF1 so that the entire PHF1 coding region becomes the 3 terminal part of the MEAF6-PHF1 fusion. The predicted fusion protein is composed of 750 amino acids and contains the histone acetyltransferase subunit NuA4 domain of MEAF6 and the tudor, PHD zinc finger, and MTF2 domains of PHF1. Although the specific functions of the MEAF6 and PHF1 proteins and why they are targeted by a neoplasia-specific gene fusion are not directly apparent, it seems that rearrangement of genes involved in acetylation (EPC1, MEAF6) and methylation (PHF1), resulting in aberrant gene expression, is a common theme in ESS pathogenesis.
Melanin comprises a complex group of pigmented polymers whose primary function is ascribed to dermal solar protection, but may also have an interesting role in innate immunity. In ectothermic vertebrates, melanogenesis is reported in leukocyte populations, but it is not known if this occurs in connection with inflammatory reactions. Melanin accumulations in ectopic locations, in particular muscle, represent a serious quality problem in salmon production. Here, we investigated such changes for the expression of dopachrome tautomerase and tyrosinase as well as some important immune genes and pathogens. Furthermore, the nature of the pathological changes was addressed by morphological methods. Gene transcripts encoding key enzymes in melanogenesis, suggesting a de novo melanin synthesis in pigmented muscle, were found. MHC class II transcripts were up-regulated and there was no indication of bacterial or viral infection. The histological examination revealed granulomatous inflammation with distribution of MHC class II positive cells and T cells, analogous to the pattern found in mammals. Importantly, in contrast to mammals pigmented cells were contributing in the inflammation. We demonstrate that melanin production occurs in granulomatous inflammation in salmon, revealing a close and hitherto unreported link between the pigmentary and immune systems.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.