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Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 25;6:32297. doi: 10.1038/srep32297.

Loss of Ewing sarcoma EWS allele promotes tumorigenesis by inducing chromosomal instability in zebrafish.

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University of Kansas, Molecular Biosciences, Haworth Rm7031, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence KS 66045, USA.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Department of Pathology, 325 Maine St, Lawrence KS 66044, USA.


The Ewing sarcoma family of tumors expresses aberrant EWSR1- (EWS) fusion genes that are derived from chromosomal translocation. Although these fusion genes are well characterized as transcription factors, their formation leaves a single EWS allele in the sarcoma cells, and the contribution that the loss of EWS makes towards disease pathogenesis is unknown. To address this question, we utilized zebrafish mutants for ewsa and tp53. The zebrafish tp53(M214K)(w/m) line and the ewsa(w/m), zygotic ewsa(m/m), and Maternal-Zygotic (MZ) ewsa(m/m) lines all displayed zero to low incidence of tumorigenesis. However, when the ewsa and tp53 mutant lines were crossed with each other, the incidence of tumorigenesis drastically increased. Furthermore, 27 hour post fertilization (hpf) MZ ewsa(m/m) mutant embryos displayed a higher incidence of aberrant chromosome numbers and mitotic dysfunction compared to wildtype zebrafish embryos. Consistent with this finding, tumor samples obtained from ewsa(m/m);tp53(w/m) zebrafish displayed loss of heterozygosity (LOH) for the wildtype tp53 locus. These results suggest that wildtype Ewsa inhibits LOH induction, possibly by maintaining chromosomal stability. We propose that the loss of ewsa promotes tumorigenesis, and EWS deficiency may contribute to the pathogenesis of EWS-fusion-expressing sarcomas.

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