Increased copy number of the TERT and TERC telomerase subunit genes in cancer cells.
ABSTRACT Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein enzyme complex that adds telomeric repeats to the ends of chromosomes. The core telomerase components are the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) catalytic subunit, and the telomerase RNA (TR) template subunit. In most cancers, telomerase is expressed at levels that are substantially higher than in normal cells. A known consequence of telomerase up-regulation which is considered to play a critical role in oncogenesis is maintenance of telomere length, and thus evasion by cancer cells of the normal limits on proliferation that are associated with the steady decrease in telomere length that accompanies proliferation of normal cells. It has also been suggested that telomerase up-regulation confers other advantages on cancer cells independent of its enzymatic activity. The mechanisms responsible for up-regulation of telomerase in cancer are incompletely understood. Here we review evidence suggesting that this frequently results from increased copy number of the genes encoding telomerase components. The TERT gene is located at human chromosome band 5p15.33, and the telomerase RNA component (TERC) gene that encodes TR is at 3q26.3. Chromosomal gains and gene amplifications involving chromosome arms 5p and 3q are among the most frequent in human tumors. Increased TERT and TERC gene dosage has been detected frequently in a variety of human cancers, and clonal evolution of cells with increased TERT or TERC copy number has been observed, suggesting a growth advantage in cells with increased TERT or TERC gene dosage.
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ABSTRACT: Background Greying with age in horses is an autosomal dominant trait, associated with loss of hair pigmentation, melanoma and vitiligo-like depigmentation. We recently identified a 4.6 kb duplication in STX17 to be associated with the phenotype. The aims of this study were to investigate if the duplication in Grey horses shows copy number variation and to exclude that any other polymorphism is uniquely associated with the Grey mutation. Results We found little evidence for copy number expansion of the duplicated sequence in blood DNA from Grey horses. In contrast, clear evidence for copy number expansions was indicated in five out of eight tested melanoma tissues or melanoma cell lines. A tendency of a higher copy number in aggressive tumours was also found. Massively parallel resequencing of the ~350 kb Grey haplotype did not reveal any additional mutations perfectly associated with the phenotype, confirming the duplication as the true causative mutation. Conclusions These results suggest that the mutation acts as a melanoma-driving regulatory element. The elucidation of the mechanistic features of the duplication will be of considerable interest for the characterization of horse melanomas as well as for the field of human melanoma research.BMC Genomics 08/2012; 13(365-13). · 4.07 Impact Factor
Article: Human telomerase RNA component (hTERC) gene amplification detected by FISH in precancerous lesions and carcinoma of the larynx.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Gain of 3q26 is frequently observed in squamous cell carcinomas of mucosal origin, including those originating in the head and neck region. The human telomerase RNA component (hTERC) gene, which is located on chromosome 3q26, encodes for an RNA subunit of telomerase that maintains the length of telomeres through cellular divisions, and is activated in malignant diseases. The present study was designed to detect hTERC amplification in laryngeal lesions and evaluate whether this might serve as a supportive biomarker in histopathological analysis for in the diagnosis of laryngeal lesions. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was applied on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks of 93 laryngeal specimens, including 14 normal epithelium (NE), 15 mild dysplasia (Md), 18 moderate dysplasia (MD), 16 severe dysplasia (SD), 9 carcinoma in situ (CIS), and 21 invasive carcinoma (IC)). By histopathologic examination, hTERC amplification rates in NE, Md, MD, SD, CIS and IC cases were 0% (0/14), 13.33% (2/15), 72.22% (13/18), 81.25% (13/16), 100% (9/9) and 100% (21/21), respectively. Amplification of hTERC was significantly associated with histopathologic diagnosis (P < 0.0001). The percentage of hTERC amplification in patients with MD, SD, CIS, and IC was significantly higher than those with NE or Md (P < 0.0001). The number of cells with abnormal signals increased and the abnormal signal patterns were diversified with increasing severity of laryngeal dysplasia (P < 0.0001). The hTERC amplification is important in the development of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). FISH detection of hTERC amplification may provide an effective approach in conjunction with histopathologic evaluation for differential diagnosis of laryngeal lesions. VIRTUAL SLIDES: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/2226606266791985.Diagnostic Pathology 03/2012; 7:34. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies in cancer cells and budding yeast demonstrated that aneuploidy, the state of having abnormal chromosome numbers, correlates with elevated chromosome instability (CIN), i.e. the propensity of gaining and losing chromosomes at a high frequency. Here we have investigated ploidy- and chromosome-specific determinants underlying aneuploidy-induced CIN by observing karyotype dynamics in fully isogenic aneuploid yeast strains with ploidies between 1N and 2N obtained through a random meiotic process. The aneuploid strains exhibited various levels of whole-chromosome instability (i.e. chromosome gains and losses). CIN correlates with cellular ploidy in an unexpected way: cells with a chromosomal content close to the haploid state are significantly more stable than cells displaying an apparent ploidy between 1.5 and 2N. We propose that the capacity for accurate chromosome segregation by the mitotic system does not scale continuously with an increasing number of chromosomes, but may occur via discrete steps each time a full set of chromosomes is added to the genome. On top of such general ploidy-related effect, CIN is also associated with the presence of specific aneuploid chromosomes as well as dosage imbalance between specific chromosome pairs. Our findings potentially help reconcile the divide between gene-centric versus genome-centric theories in cancer evolution.PLoS Genetics 05/2012; 8(5):e1002719. · 8.69 Impact Factor