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Hum Mutat. 2004 Nov;24(5):400-7.

Germline mutations of the POU6F2 gene in Wilms tumors with loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 7p14.

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Department of Experimental Oncology and Laboratories, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.


Wilms tumor (WT) is a kidney malignancy of childhood characterized by highly heterogeneous genetic alterations. We previously reported the molecular and cytogenetic characterization of a WT (Case 30) carrying an interstitial deletion in chromosome 7p14 between markers D7S555 and D7S668. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analyses had revealed that this same region was lost in 8 out of 38 examined WTs, suggesting that the identified interval contains a putative tumor suppressor gene. To confirm this hypothesis, in this work, we analyzed an additional 35 WTs, four of which showed LOH in the region of interest. Furthermore, we were able to more accurately define the extension of the deletion in Case 30, mapping it within an interval not exceeding 390 kb, proximally to D7S555. To date, only a single expressed gene, POU6F2 (the POU domain, class 6, transcription factor 2; also known as RPF1), has been recognized in this interval. Sequencing of the gene in the 12 WTs showing LOH and in a corresponding numbers of WT cases without LOH, led to the identification of two germline nucleotide substitutions. The first occurred in the 5'-untranslated region, while the second caused an amino acid change in a glutamine repeat domain. These mutations, whose occurrence was not observed in more than 100 control subjects, were detected in two patients showing the loss of the constitutionally wild-type allele in tumor DNA. Together with the finding of the expression of the POU6F2 mouse homolog in both fetal and adult kidney, our observations suggest that the gene is a tumor suppressor and is involved in hereditary predisposition to WT.

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