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Blood. 2005 May 15;105(10):4060-9. Epub 2005 Jan 27.

Overexpression of transcripts originating from the MMSET locus characterizes all t(4;14)(p16;q32)-positive multiple myeloma patients.

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Department of Oncology, University of Alberta & Cross Cancer Institute, 11560 University Ave, Edmonton, AB, T6G 1Z2, Canada.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B-lineage malignancy characterized by diverse genetic subtypes and clinical outcomes. The recurrent immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) switch translocation, t(4;14)(p16;q32), is associated with poor outcome, though the mechanism is unclear. Quantitative reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for proposed target genes on a panel of myeloma cell lines and purified plasma cells showed that only transcripts originating from the WHSC1/MMSET/NSD2 gene are uniformly dysregulated in all t(4;14)POS patients. The different transcripts detected, multiple myeloma SET domain containing protein (MMSET I), MMSET II, Exon 4a/MMSET III, and response element II binding protein (RE-IIBP), are produced by alternative splicing and alternative transcription initiation events. Translation of the various transcripts, including those from major breakpoint region 4-2 (MB4-2) and MB4-3 breakpoint variants, was confirmed by transient transfection and immunoblotting. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MMSET I and II, corresponding to proteins expressed in MB4-1 patients, localized to the nucleus but not nucleoli, whereas the MB4-2 and MB4-3 proteins concentrate in nucleoli. Cloning and localization of the Exon 4a/MMSET III splice variant, which contains the protein segment lost in the MB4-2 variant, identified a novel protein domain that prevents nucleolar localization. Kinetic studies using photobleaching suggest that the breakpoint variants are functionally distinct from wild-type proteins. In contrast, RE-IIBP is universally dysregulated and also potentially functional in all t(4;14)POS patients irrespective of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) expression or breakpoint type.

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