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Int J Cancer. 2000 Nov 1;88(3):369-76.

Tiam1 mutations in human renal-cell carcinomas.

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Institute of Pathology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Tiam1 activates the Rho-like GTPase Rac1, and studies indicate that Tiam1-Rac1 signaling affects invasion in different ways depending on the cell type studied. However, no investigations on Tiam1 in human tumors have been reported. Here, we show that for 4 of 5 human renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines the expression levels of Tiam1 tended to be inversely correlated with in vitro invasiveness, whereas no obvious correlation could be found between the expression levels of Rac1 and invasion. Subsequent mutation analysis of these cell lines revealed no mutations in Rac1 but up to 5 different point mutations in the Tiam1 gene. Of these, 1 mutation (A441G) was located in the NH2-terminal pleckstrin homology domain, which is essential for membrane localization and functional activity of Tiam1. By analysis of an additional 30 primary human RCCs, mutation A441G was found in 4 of 35 tumors and tumor cell lines (11.5%) but not in the respective normal kidney tissues. By enzymatic digestion, mutation A441G proved to be heterozygous, suggesting a dominant active function. This was supported by showing that stable over-expression of mutated A441G-Tiam1 induced transformation of NIH3T3 cells, as determined in a colony formation assay, whereas empty vector and wild-type Tiam1 failed to do so. In conclusion, a distinct Tiam1 mutation (A441G) was identified in several human RCCs. This mutation induced transformation of NIH3T3 cells and, hence, might play a major role in the progression of human RCCs. Further analyses on Tiam1 mutations in human tumors might give new clues to their role in tumor progression.

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