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Cancer Lett. 2013 Apr 30;331(1):35-45. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.11.028. Epub 2012 Nov 24.

MYCN-mediated overexpression of mitotic spindle regulatory genes and loss of p53-p21 function jointly support the survival of tetraploid neuroblastoma cells.

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Division of Tumor Genetics, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


High-risk neuroblastomas often harbor structural chromosomal alterations, including amplified MYCN, and usually have a near-di/tetraploid DNA index, but the mechanisms creating tetraploidy remain unclear. Gene-expression analyses revealed that certain MYCN/MYC and p53/pRB-E2F target genes, especially regulating mitotic processes, are strongly expressed in near-di/tetraploid neuroblastomas. Using a functional RNAi screening approach and live-cell imaging, we identified a group of genes, including MAD2L1, which after knockdown induced mitotic-linked cell death in MYCN-amplified and TP53-mutated neuroblastoma cells. We found that MYCN/MYC-mediated overactivation of the metaphase-anaphase checkpoint synergizes with loss of p53-p21 function to prevent arrest or apoptosis of tetraploid neuroblastoma cells.

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