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Oncogene. 1998 Jan 15;16(2):203-9.

Reactivation of the maternally imprinted IGF2 allele in TGFalpha induced hepatocellular carcinomas in mice.

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Marion Bessin Liver Research Center, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


The Insulin like growth factor 2 (IGF2) gene is expressed in several types of tumors in humans and mice and has been implicated as an important growth factor in tumor progression. IGF2 expression in the TGF alpha transgenic mice was analysed in liver and tumors from animals which also contained one or two functional IGF2 alleles. In a two by two mating experiment using transgenic mice containing either a TGF alpha transgene or a IGF2 gene knockout, we have investigated whether IGF2 imprinting is reversed during hepatocarcinogenesis and the consequences of IGF2 expression for tumor growth. We observed that: (1) 100% of the hepatocellular carcinomas expressed IGF2 (2) the normally imprinted maternal allele is active in the tumors in which the paternal allele is knocked out and (3) all three of the murine IGF2 promoters upstream of the reactivated maternal alleles are transcriptionally active in tumors. We also observed that the total tumor burden of animals with two wild type IGF-2 alleles (paternal and maternal) was the same as the tumor burden in animals which contained only a single reactivated maternal allele. The 100% incidence of reactivation of the imprinted maternal allele suggests that IGF2 expression is selected during murine hepatocarcinogenesis and can substitute for the paternal allele when it is inactivated.

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