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Genes Cancer. 2010 May;1(5):465-479.

An Integrated Genetic-Genomic Approach for the Identification of Novel Cancer Loci in Mice Sensitized to c-Myc-Induced Apoptosis.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.


Deregulated c-Myc is associated with a wide range of human cancers. In many cell types, overexpression of c-Myc potently promotes cell growth and proliferation concomitant with the induction of apoptosis. Secondary genetic events that shift this balance either by increasing growth and proliferation or limiting apoptosis are likely to cooperate with c-Myc in tumorigenesis. Here, the authors have performed large-scale insertional mutagenesis in Eμ-c-myc mice that, through mdm2 loss of function mutations, are sensitized to apoptosis. The authors chose to use this genetic background based on the hypothesis that the high level of apoptosis induced by c-Myc overexpression in MDM2-deficient mice would act as a rate-limiting barrier for lymphoma development. As a result, it was predicted that the spectrum of retroviral insertions would be shifted toward loci that harbor antiapoptotic genes. Nine novel common insertion sites (CISs) specific to mice with this sensitized genetic background were identified, suggesting the presence of novel antiapoptotic cancer genes. Moreover, cross-comparing the data to the Retroviral Tagged Cancer Gene Database, the authors identified an additional 23 novel CISs. Here, evidence is presented that 2 genes, ppp1r16b and hdac6, identified at CISs, are bona fide cellular oncogenes. This study highlights the power of combining unique sensitized genetic backgrounds with large-scale mutagenesis as an approach for identifying novel cancer genes.

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