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Cancer Res. 1999 Apr 15;59(8):1857-60.

Dominant negative effect of the APC1309 mutation: a possible explanation for genotype-phenotype correlations in familial adenomatous polyposis.

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Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


Inactivation of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene product initiates colorectal tumorigenesis. Patients with familial APC (FAP) carry germ-line mutations in the APC gene and develop multiple colorectal adenomas and subsequent carcinomas early in life. The severity of the disease correlates with the position of the inherited APC mutation (genotype-phenotype correlation). Together with the fact that both germ-line and sporadic APC mutations cluster in the central region of the APC gene, this points to a dominant negative effect of certain APC mutants. Loss of APC function was recently shown to result in enhanced beta-catenin-/Tcf-mediated transcription in colon epithelial cells. Here, we provide experimental evidence for a dominant negative effect of APC gene products associated with severe polyposis. Wild-type APC activity in beta-catenin-/Tcf-mediated transcription was strongly inhibited by a mutant APC that is truncated at codon 1309. In contrast, mutant APC gene products that are associated with attenuated polyposis (codon 386 or 1465) interfered only weakly with wild-type APC activity. These results suggest a molecular explanation for the genotype-phenotype correlation in FAP patients and support the idea that colorectal tumor growth might be, in part, driven by selection for a mutation in the mutation cluster region.

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