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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Feb 19;110(8):3035-40. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1214326110. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Recurrent reciprocal RNA chimera involving YPEL5 and PPP1CB in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukemia in adults in the Western hemisphere. Tumor-specific chromosomal translocations, characteristic findings in several human malignancies that directly lead to malignant transformation, have not been identified in CLL. Using paired-end transcriptome sequencing, we identified recurrent and reciprocal RNA chimeras involving yippee like 5 (YPEL5) and serine/threonine-protein phosphatase PP1-beta-catalytic subunit (PPP1CB) in CLL. Two of seven index cases (28%) harbored the reciprocal RNA chimeras in our initial screening. Using quantitative real-time PCR (q real-time PCR), YPEL5/PPP1CB and PPP1CB/YPEL5 fusion transcripts were detected in 97 of 103 CLL samples (95%) but not in paired normal samples, benign lymphocytes, or various unrelated cancers. Whole-genome sequencing and Southern blotting demonstrated no evidence for a genomic fusion between YPEL5 and PPP1CB. YPEL5/PPP1CB chimera, when introduced into mammalian cells, expressed a truncated PPP1CB protein that demonstrated diminished phosphatase activity. PPP1CB silencing resulted in enhanced proliferation and colony formation of MEC1 and JVM3 cells, implying a role in the pathogenesis of mature B-cell leukemia. These studies uncover a potential role for recurrent RNA chimeras involving phosphatases in the pathogenesis of a common form of leukemia.

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