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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 5;108(14):5765-70. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018012108. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

A Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated screen identifies murine susceptibility genes for adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc)-dependent intestinal tumorigenesis.

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Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, Center for Genome Engineering, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


It is proposed that a progressive series of mutations and epigenetic events leads to human colorectal cancer (CRC) and metastasis. Furthermore, data from resequencing of the coding regions of human CRC suggests that a relatively large number of mutations occur in individual human CRC, most at low frequency. The functional role of these low-frequency mutations in CRC, and specifically how they may cooperate with high-frequency mutations, is not well understood. One of the most common rate-limiting mutations in human CRC occurs in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. To identify mutations that cooperate with mutant APC, we performed a forward genetic screen in mice carrying a mutant allele of Apc (Apc(Min)) using Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon-mediated mutagenesis. Apc(Min) SB-mutagenized mice developed three times as many polyps as mice with the Apc(Min) allele alone. Analysis of transposon common insertion sites (CIS) identified the Apc locus as a major target of SB-induced mutagenesis, suggesting that SB insertions provide an efficient route to biallelic Apc inactivation. We also identified an additional 32 CIS genes/loci that may represent modifiers of the Apc(Min) phenotype. Five CIS genes tested for their role in proliferation caused a significant change in cell viability when message levels were reduced in human CRC cells. These findings demonstrate the utility of using transposon mutagenesis to identify low-frequency and cooperating cancer genes; this approach will aid in the development of combinatorial therapies targeting this deadly disease.

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