Inactivation of promoter 1B of APC causes partial gene silencing: evidence for a significant role of the promoter in regulation and causative of familial adenomatous polyposis

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Abstract

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is caused by germline mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. Two promoters, 1A and 1B, have been recognized inAPC, and 1B is thought to have a minor role in the regulation of the gene. We have identified a novel deletion encompassing half of this promoter in the largest family (Family 1) of the Swedish Polyposis Registry. The mutation leads to an imbalance in allele-specific expression ofAPC, and transcription from promoter 1B was highly impaired in both normal colorectal mucosa and blood from mutation carriers. To establish the significance of promoter 1B in normal colorectal mucosa (from controls), expression levels of specific transcripts from each of the promoters, 1A and 1B, were examined, and the expression from 1B was significantly higher compared with 1A. Significant amounts of transcripts generated from promoter 1B were also determined in a panel of 20 various normal tissues examined. In FAP-related tumors, theAPCgermline mutation is proposed to dictate the second hit. Mutations leaving two or three out of seven 20-amino-acid repeats in the central domain of APC intact seem to be required for tumorigenesis. We examined adenomas from mutation carriers in Family 1 for second hits in the entire gene without any findings, however, loss of the residual expression of the deleterious allele was observed. Three major conclusions of significant importance in relation to the function ofAPCcan be drawn from this study; (i) germline inactivation of promoter 1B is disease causing in FAP; (ii) expression of transcripts from promoter 1B is generated at considerable higher levels compared with 1A, demonstrating a hitherto unknown importance of 1B; (iii) adenoma formation in FAP, caused by impaired function of promoter 1B, does not require homozygous inactivation ofAPCallowing for alternative genetic models as basis for adenoma formation.

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