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Available from: Leendert Looijenga
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ABSTRACT: The RAS proto-oncogene Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (HRAS) encodes a small GTPase that transduces signals from cell surface receptors to intracellular effectors to control cellular behavior. Although somatic HRAS mutations have been described in many cancers, germline mutations cause Costello syndrome (CS), a congenital disorder associated with predisposition to malignancy. Based on the epidemiology of CS and the occurrence of HRAS mutations in spermatocytic seminoma, we proposed that activating HRAS mutations become enriched in sperm through a process akin to tumorigenesis, termed selfish spermatogonial selection. To test this hypothesis, we quantified the levels, in blood and sperm samples, of HRAS mutations at the p.G12 codon and compared the results to changes at the p.A11 codon, at which activating mutations do not occur. The data strongly support the role of selection in determining HRAS mutation levels in sperm, and hence the occurrence of CS, but we also found differences from the mutation pattern in tumorigenesis. First, the relative prevalence of mutations in sperm correlates weakly with their in vitro activating properties and occurrence in cancers. Second, specific tandem base substitutions (predominantly GC>TT/AA) occur in sperm but not in cancers; genomewide analysis showed that this same mutation is also overrepresented in constitutional pathogenic and polymorphic variants, suggesting a heightened vulnerability to these mutations in the germline. We developed a statistical model to show how both intrinsic mutation rate and selfish selection contribute to the mutational burden borne by the paternal germline.
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ABSTRACT: Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is highly malignant and refractory to therapy. The majority of existing mouse SCC models involve multiple gene mutations. Very few mouse models of spontaneous SCC have been generated by a single gene deletion. Here we report a haploinsufficient SCC mouse model in which exon 3 of the Tp53BP2 gene (a p53 binding protein) was deleted in one allele in a BALB/c genetic background. Tp53BP2 encodes ASPP2 (ankyrin repeats, SH3 domain and protein rich region containing protein 2). Keratinocyte differentiation induces ASPP2 and its expression is inversely correlated with p63 protein in vitro and in vivo. Up-regulation of p63 expression is required for ASPP2(Δexon3/+) BALB/c mice to develop SCC, as heterozygosity of p63 but not p53 prevents them from developing it. Mechanistically, ASPP2 inhibits ΔNp63 expression through its ability to bind IκB and enhance nuclear Rel/A p65, a component of the NF-κB transcription complex, which mediates the repression of p63. Reduced ASPP2 expression associates with tumor metastasis and increased p63 expression in human head and neck SCCs. This study identifies ASPP2 as a tumor suppressor that suppresses SCC via inflammatory signaling through NF-κB-mediated repression of p63.
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