The origin and nature of tightly clustered BTG1 deletions in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia support a model of multiclonal evolution.
SourcePlos Genetics, 8, 2, (2012), pp. e1002533
1 februari 2012
Article / Letter to editor
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Paediatrics - OUD tm 2017
Laboratory of Genetic, Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases
SubjectDCN MP - Plasticity and memory; IGMD 8: Mitochondrial medicine; NCMLS 6: Genetics and epigenetic pathways of disease ONCOL 3: Translational research; ONCOL 2: Age-related aspects of cancer NCMLS 2: Immune Regulation
Recurrent submicroscopic deletions in genes affecting key cellular pathways are a hallmark of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). To gain more insight into the mechanism underlying these deletions, we have studied the occurrence and nature of abnormalities in one of these genes, the B-cell translocation gene 1 (BTG1), in a large cohort of pediatric ALL cases. BTG1 was found to be exclusively affected by genomic deletions, which were detected in 65 out of 722 B-cell precursor ALL (BCP-ALL) patient samples (9%), but not in 109 T-ALL cases. Eight different deletion sizes were identified, which all clustered at the telomeric site in a hotspot region within the second (and last) exon of the BTG1 gene, resulting in the expression of truncated BTG1 read-through transcripts. The presence of V(D)J recombination signal sequences at both sites of virtually all deletions strongly suggests illegitimate RAG1/RAG2-mediated recombination as the responsible mechanism. Moreover, high levels of histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3), which is known to tether the RAG enzyme complex to DNA, were found within the BTG1 gene body in BCP-ALL cells, but not T-ALL cells. BTG1 deletions were rarely found in hyperdiploid BCP-ALLs, but were predominant in other cytogenetic subgroups, including the ETV6-RUNX1 and BCR-ABL1 positive BCP-ALL subgroups. Through sensitive PCR-based screening, we identified multiple additional BTG1 deletions at the subclonal level in BCP-ALL, with equal cytogenetic distribution which, in some cases, grew out into the major clone at relapse. Taken together, our results indicate that BTG1 deletions may act as "drivers" of leukemogenesis in specific BCP-ALL subgroups, in which they can arise independently in multiple subclones at sites that are prone to aberrant RAG1/RAG2-mediated recombination events. These findings provide further evidence for a complex and multiclonal evolution of ALL.
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