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Cancer Res. 2008 Sep 15;68(18):7352-61. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6311.

Regulation of apoptosis and caspase-8 expression in neuroblastoma cells by isoforms of the IG20 gene.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60523, USA.


The IG20 gene undergoes alternative splicing resulting in the differential expression of six putative splice variants. Four of these (IG20pa, MADD, IG20-SV2, and DENN-SV) are expressed in virtually all human tissues. However, investigations examining alternative splicing of the IG20 gene to date have been largely limited to nonneural malignant and nonmalignant cells. In this study, we investigated the expression of alternative splice isoforms of the IG20 gene in human neuroblastoma cells. We found that six IG20 splice variants (IG20-SVs) were expressed in two human neuroblastoma cell lines (SK-N-SH and SH-SY5Y), highlighted by the expression of two unique splice isoforms (i.e., KIAA0358 and IG20-SV4). Similarly, we found enriched expression of these two IG20-SVs in human neural tissues derived from cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and, to a lesser extent, spinal cord. Using gain-of-function studies and siRNA technology, we determined that these "neural-enriched isoforms" exerted significant and contrasting effects on vulnerability to apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. Specifically, expression of KIAA0358 exerted a potent antiapoptotic effect in both the SK-N-SH and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell lines, whereas expression of IG20-SV4 had proapoptotic effects directly related to the activation of caspase-8 in these cells, which have minimal or absent constitutive caspase-8 expression. These data indicate that the pattern of expression of these neural-enriched IG20-SVs regulates the expression and activation of caspase-8 in certain neuroblastoma cells, and that manipulation of IG20-SV expression pattern may represent a potent therapeutic strategy in the therapy of neuroblastoma and perhaps other cancers.

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