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Int J Cancer. 1998 Aug 12;77(4):554-60.

Heterogeneity of mesothelioma cell lines as defined by altered genomic structure and expression of the NF2 gene.

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Laboratoire de Génétique des Tumeurs, INSERM U434, Fondation Jean Dausset-CEPH, Paris, France.


Germ-line mutations in the neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) gene cause a susceptibility to the development of schwannoma and meningioma, 2 mostly benign tumors of neural crest origin. Bi-allelic inactivation of this gene has been observed in sporadic schwannomas and meningiomas. The NF2 gene may also be somatically inactivated in human malignant mesotheliomas (HMMs). Surprisingly, patients with an NF2 germ-line mutation have not been reported to be at an increased risk for this highly invasive tumor of mesodermal origin. To investigate in HMMs the silencing mechanism of the NF2 gene, we have analyzed its structure and expression in a series of 18 cell lines derived from HMMs. NF2 gene alterations were identified at a genomic level in 7 cell lines and were associated with a marked decrease in the concentration of the NF2 transcript. This decrease was also observed in 4 additional cell lines with no identified NF2 mutation. The 11 cell lines presented evidence suggesting deletion of one NF2 allele. None of these enabled the detection of normal or truncated forms of the NF2 protein by immunoprecipitational immunoblot analyses. In the 7 remaining cell lines, NF2 mRNA and NF2 protein were easily detectable. Among the latter, 4 lines were heterozygous for several chromosome 22 microsatellite loci, suggesting the presence of 2 NF2 alleles. Taken together, our data indicate that silencing of the NF2 gene is restricted to a subset of mesothelioma cell lines. The availability of established cell lines with different characterized NF2 status provides a powerful tool to explore the mechanism by which the NF2 protein exerts its tumor suppressive activity.

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