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J Clin Invest. 2010 Feb;120(2):498-507. doi: 10.1172/JCI39447. Epub 2010 Jan 19.

Centrosomal Nlp is an oncogenic protein that is gene-amplified in human tumors and causes spontaneous tumorigenesis in transgenic mice.

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State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Cancer Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, People's Republic of China.


Disruption of mitotic events contributes greatly to genomic instability and results in mutator phenotypes. Indeed, abnormalities of mitotic components are closely associated with malignant transformation and tumorigenesis. Here we show that ninein-like protein (Nlp), a recently identified BRCA1-associated centrosomal protein involved in microtubule nucleation and spindle formation, is an oncogenic protein. Nlp was found to be overexpressed in approximately 80% of human breast and lung carcinomas analyzed. In human lung cancers, this deregulated expression was associated with NLP gene amplification. Further analysis revealed that Nlp exhibited strong oncogenic properties; for example, it conferred to NIH3T3 rodent fibroblasts the capacity for anchorage-independent growth in vitro and tumor formation in nude mice. Consistent with these data, transgenic mice overexpressing Nlp displayed spontaneous tumorigenesis in the breast, ovary, and testicle within 60 weeks. In addition, Nlp overexpression induced more rapid onset of radiation-induced lymphoma. Furthermore, mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from Nlp transgenic mice showed centrosome amplification, suggesting that Nlp overexpression mimics BRCA1 loss. These findings demonstrate that Nlp abnormalities may contribute to genomic instability and tumorigenesis and suggest that Nlp might serve as a potential biomarker for clinical diagnosis and therapeutic target.

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